West Ham United lock horns with Arsenal in the early Premier League kick-off this weekend, and are hoping to continue their fine form against the elite clubs to boost their fledgling hopes of a top-four finish in the division.
They face a travel-sick Arsenal side who have already lost to the Hammers earlier in the season, so could United make Arsenal their latest scalp?
West Ham this season’s surprise package after Leicester City
Manager Slaven Bilic finds himself as a Manager of the Year contender for his sterling work with West Ham this season. The Londoners have been outstanding throughout the campaign and still have half a chance of booking a place in the Champions League for 2016/17. Currently sixth in the Premier League with 51 points from 31 games, West Ham are only three points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City with seven games remaining.
They have plenty to play for this season as a result, and boast home advantage at a time where their form in their own backyard couldn’t be any better. Four wins and two draws from their last six games at Upton Park sees the Hammers in fantastic shape to stun their opponents, and the poor away form of Arsenal could be a real problem. The Gunners lost to United on the opening day of the campaign, and are struggling for consistency in 2016.
Travel-sick Arsenal could be bullied at Upton Park
Arsenal are third in the Premier League table with 58 points from 31 games this season, and are coming off the back of consecutive wins. However, Arsene Wenger’s side have been very travel-sick, dropping points in five of their last seven games in the Premier League, so there’s no guarantee of them avoiding defeat against West Ham. Arsenal perhaps need one or two more wins to ensure of their top-four spot, but they’ve struggled against the Hammers before and are likely to face similar tactics this afternoon.
Bilic makes no bones about adopting a physical style to throw the Arsenal squad out of sync, and they are expected to take advantage on home soil. In addition to using the crown to get a boost, West Ham are likely to sting the Gunners on the break when the visitors are at their most stretched, and a win for United could see them level on points with fourth place. This afternoon meeting is a monumental affair for both sides. West Ham are 5/6 to win or draw against Arsenal this afternoon.
But can they deliver?