West Ham have the daunting task of taking on an in-form Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday as they aim to end their run of four consecutive London derbies with a much needed win.
The two sides met in the final match of 2014 with the Gunners coming out on top in a tightly contested 2-1 victory. This time around, though, the Hammers will be fired up and raring to put Arsene Wenger’s men to the sword after a frustrating run of results.
Here we take a look at five reasons West Ham can beat Arsenal.
1. Form factor
Despite Arsenal's formidable run of seven consecutive home victories in the Premier League, and off the back of a triumphant FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford, West Ham may be playing their London rivals at the perfect time – wedged in between two of their biggest fixtures of the season.
The Irons are without a win in their last six league matches but have played their best football against the big guns – Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham – and were unlucky not to come away with more from those matches.
Saturday’s game has the makings of a great encounter and if West Ham are at their pulsating best they can bring Wenger’s side crashing back down to earth by denting their top four prospects.
2. Arsenal will have one eye on Monaco
Arsenal face the Hammers just three days before attempting to overturn a Champions League last-16 first-leg deficit against Monaco in Monte Carlo.
In what has been a fantastic year for the Gunners thus far, the 3-1 home defeat to the French outfit was a massive blip and they will be looking to do everything in their power to put it right on Tuesday evening.
The players’ minds are more than likely already looking on to that match, while West Ham will be taking Monaco’s result as inspiration for orchestrating their own smash and grab.
3. Nene set for first start
The Hammers’ new Brazilian striker is in line to make his first start for the club after Enner Valencia’s unfortunate and untimely injury – the Ecuadorian lacerated his big toe on a broken cup in a freak accident at his home.
While the 25-year-old will be missed, Nene’s inclusion could give the team a lift. The former PSG star has impressed during two substitute appearances and looks like he still possesses great ability.
The 33-year-old is good on the ball, can bring people in to play and has a creative spark that could be key for the visitors getting the breakthrough.
4. Alex Song will be fired up
Ex-Gunner Song will want to remind his old club, and West Ham, what he is capable of at the Emirates.
The Barcelona loanee has struggled for form since Christmas but he took it upon himself to stay behind when West Ham went to Dubai for some warm weather training recently, assumingly with this game in mind.
Song was left out of the Hammers' last match, a 1-0 defeat against Chelsea, as he had a slight injury but he is expected to be fit and raring to get back in the thick of the action at Arsenal.
5. Can punish them on the counter
As Monaco did just over two weeks ago, West Ham will want to expose Arsenal on the counter-attack and ensure they give nothing away at the other end.
This is a tactic that Wenger has successfully employed in recent victories at both of the Manchester clubs, but with the onus on the home side to take the game to the visitors, they will once again be susceptible to it.
The Hammers tried this strategy against Chelsea recently and, on another day with better finishing, it would've paid dividends. This time around, with a similar performance, Sam Allardyce will just be needing someone to step up and stick the ball in the back of the net.
Arsenal 1-2 West Ham
Do you think West Ham can beat Arsenal on Saturday? What do you think the score will be? Let us know in the comments section below!
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