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Apr 22, 2018 at 1.30pm UK at ​Emirates Stadium
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Preview: Arsenal vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews the Premier League action as departing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger welcomes the visit of West Ham United to the Emirates.

Arsenal face West Ham United at the Emirates in the Premier League after coach Arsene Wenger announced on Friday that he will be leaving the club having spent over two decades at the Gunners.

David Moyes and his Hammers charges have built a six-point gap from the dropzone but still require another win or two in order to cement themselves ahead of the chasing pack.


Arsene Wenger watches on during the Premier League game between Everton and Arsenal on October 22, 2017© SilverHub

The Gunners head into the game following the news that veteran manager Wenger is to call time on his Arsenal tenure at the end of the season, bringing an end to his game-changing 22 years at the helm of the club.

The revelation has brought some of the highest praise from all corners of the footballing community, including former fierce rival Sir Alex Ferguson who has since openly admitted that Wenger is 'one of the greatest Premier League coaches'.

Plaudits will likely go to his cultivation of the 'Invincibles' side of the 2003-04 campaign, but the Frenchman's impact is undoubtedly far greater. Wenger brought a nutritional revolution to the league, while also introducing progressive advancements in plyometrics and fitness conditioning that would influence the English top flight for decades to come.

Some might argue that Wenger held an authoritarian grip for a few seasons too long, but Arsenal have been gifted the greatest years of coach who not only revolutionised the game, but also had the political and economic nous to help guide the Gunners through a transition from Highbury to the Emirates too.

Wenger has won three Premier League titles and a record seven FA Cups, including clinching doubles in 1998 and 2002. This season might not quite produce the crowning sendoff the Frenchman deserves, although the Gunners do still find themselves in the hunt for the Europa League.

Critics of Wenger have plenty of ammunition this season. Arsenal have lost 11 Premier League games, which equals their highest total of defeats in the top flight that Wenger originally recorded during the 2005-06 campaign.

The club come into the clash with the Hammers having been beaten by Newcastle United last time out. Should West Ham get the better of Arsenal on Sunday, the Gunners would be guaranteed to finish below Tottenham Hotspur in consecutive seasons.

The news of Wenger's looming departure will likely split some of the Arsenal fanbase, but going into his 527th Premier League game in charge the Frenchman will be hoping that all Gunners fans unite to help celebrate the announcement with a victory on home soil.

Recent form: LLWWWL
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWDL

West Ham United

David Moyes celebrates during the Premier League game between Huddersfield Town and West Ham United on January 13, 2018© Offside

The Hammers find themselves with five more league games to play and six points separating them from 18th-placed Southampton, over whom Moyes and his men also have a game in hand.

The table makes for more comfortable reading than it did a month or so ago, when the Hammers were staring relegation in the face amid troubling scenes of particular fan protests at the London Stadium.

Since that troubling home defeat to Burnley, West Ham have gone on an unbeaten run of three games, beating Southampton and drawing against Chelsea and Stoke City. The Hammers are by no means safe, but Moyes now finds himself with more than a fighting chance of keeping the club away from the drop.

United have struggled when facing teams sitting above them in the standings. The Hammers have actually been unable to win a single away match against sides above them in the table.

Moyes does not have the best of records against Arsenal either. The Hammers boss has not won in 17 away games as a manager when facing the Gunners in all competitions. Despite that, West Ham have managed five Premier League wins in their history at Arsenal.

Andy Carroll's return seems to have arrived at a crucial moment in the season, adding more variety to West Ham's attack as they head into a vital spell in the campaign. The frontman showed remarkable vision to earn his side a last-gasp point at Stoke.

Moyes has tended to do well during London derbies on the road recently. The Hammers have drawn each of their three away London league derbies this term. The previous time the club went unbeaten all season away in city derbies came back in 1983-84.

Joe Hart's form in goal caused issues again on Monday night after his mistake arguably led to Stoke's opener. The keeper's place in the team could prove a problematic issue for Moyes ahead of five more crucial fixtures that will determine West Ham's top-flight future.

Recent form: LLLWDD

Team News

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey in action during his side's Premier League clash with Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium on October 1, 2017© SilverHub

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored six goals in his eight Premier League games for the club and should start up top.

Wenger will have one eye on the Europa League semi-final with Atletico Madrid and he could decide to either rest some players ahead of the first leg, or use this game to prepare tactically for the coming fixture in London.

Aaron Ramsey should be back from a shin complaint, although Jack Wilshere could miss out having picked up a knock to his ankle.

As for the Hammers, Adrian could come in for goalkeeper Hart, while Angelo Ogbonna will hope to start despite suffering with tendinitis. Fellow centre-back James Collins looks likely to miss out with a hamstring injury.

Pedro Obiang was initially ruled out for the remainder of the campaign although some reports suggest that he could be in line to feature at some point on Sunday.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Chambers, Kolasinac; Elneny, Xhaka; Welbeck, Iwobi, Ramsey; Aubameyang

West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Adrian; Rice, Ogbonna, Creswell; Zabaleta, Masuaku, Noble, Kouyate; Lanzini, Mario, Arnautovic

Head To Head

When the clubs met earlier during the current campaign, West Ham ground out a point in a 0-0 draw at the London Stadium, before the Gunners later knocked the Hammers out of the League Cup.

Across the last 21 meetings between the teams in all competitions, Arsenal have lost only once in a run that has seen them win 16 and draw four contests.

Having said that, West Ham's collection of five Premier League wins at Arsenal is bettered only by Manchester United and Liverpool, who have notched eight and seven wins against the Gunners respectively.

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We say: Arsenal 2-1 West Ham United

The Gunners will be itching to get back to winning ways after being defeated by the Magpies, and they will now have even more incentive as Wenger prepares to say goodbye to the Emirates.

West Ham are still fighting for their Premier League lives heading into the business end of the season and will be hoping to cause Arsenal some problems having last won at the ground in 2015.

Prior to Wenger's announcement, West Ham might just have hoped that they would be dealt a slightly easier contest with Arsenal's focus on the Europa League, although that looks likely to change with Wenger due to appear at the Emirates just two more times in the league.

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Who will win Sunday's Premier League clash between Arsenal and West Ham United?

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West Ham United manager David Moyes at the Premier League game against Manchester City on December 3, 2017
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