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Preview: West Ham United vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday night's Premier League clash between West Ham United and Arsenal, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

Arsenal's search for an overdue win takes them to the London Stadium next as they face West Ham United looking to end their worst run of form for 42 years.

The Gunners are now nine games without a victory across all competitions following Thursday night's home defeat at the hands of Brighton & Hove Albion, but take on a West Ham side with only one win in 10 themselves.


Match preview

Arsenal interim manager Freddie Ljungberg pictured on December 5, 2019© Reuters

Managerless, on their worst winless run since 1977 and with speculation growing around their captain and best player - Arsenal come into this London derby in full crisis mode.

Thursday's abject home defeat at the hands of Brighton saw a disastrous 2019-20 campaign plunge to new depths as interim boss Freddie Ljungberg's first home game in charge ended in despair.

The Swede has now picked up only one point from his two games at the helm when Arsenal would ordinarily expect a maximum return against Norwich City and Brighton, leaving both him and the club in desperate need of victory against another of his former employers.

Ljungberg made 26 appearances during his solitary season with West Ham, but there is no doubt that his English allegiances lie with Arsenal and any hopes he had of landing the job on a permanent basis have not been helped by the two performances and results so far.

Recent reports suggest that Arsenal have been forced to step up their search for a permanent successor to Unai Emery as a result of such a poor start under Ljungberg, and with each passing week the scale of the job seems to get bigger and bigger.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka look dejected after Brighton & Hove Albion's Neal Maupay scored their second goal on December 5, 2019© Reuters

Certainly, the picture does not look pleasant for the Gunners; they are 10 points adrift of the Champions League places - a gap which could have grown to 13 by the time they kick off against West Ham - and have not won a game in any competition since their unconvincing 3-2 triumph over Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League on October 24.

The wait for a Premier League victory stretches back to October 6 and they have only won two of their last 13 outings in the top flight. Over the course of the whole season so far, only the bottom two have won fewer games than Arsenal's tally of four.

Sitting firmly in mid-table ahead of the weekend's action, Arsenal are only five points clear of the relegation zone and are already a whopping 12 points off their own pace from the same stage last season. Even in Arsene Wenger's much-maligned final term in charge, the Gunners were nine points better off after 15 games.

The last time Arsenal had fewer points than their current tally of 19 at this stage of a season was in 1975-76 when they went on to finish 17th, narrowly avoiding dropping into the second tier for the first time since 1915.

While a similar fate is surely beyond a team still boasting the talents of Mesut Ozil, Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the happiness of those players must surely be starting to wane and the latter is understood to have pulled the plug on contract talks following the Brighton defeat.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring for Arsenal on December 1, 2019© Reuters

One positive ahead of Monday's match is that Arsenal have at least not lost back-to-back games since April, but it is specifically wins which they now need and one over West Ham would come in timely fashion ahead of a big week.

The Gunners face an away trip to Standard Liege in a crucial Europa League match on Thursday night and then host champions Manchester City next Sunday.

Arsenal's home form is certainly nothing to shout about at the moment, but it is at least better than their record away from home, where they are winless in their last six matches both across all competitions and in the Premier League.

Indeed, they have only won four of their last 20 Premier League away games ahead of their trip to the London Stadium, and so West Ham's own poor home form will come as welcome news to the travel-sick Gunners.

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini reacts on December 4, 2019© Reuters

The Hammers have picked up just one point from their last four outings on the road - including matches against Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Newcastle United - while across the course of the season so far only Watford have amassed fewer points in front of their own fans.

It is no surprise that the supporters are growing increasingly frustrated with their side, then, resulting in growing pressure on the shoulders of manager Manuel Pellegrini.

That pressure was temporarily relieved by an unexpected 1-0 win at Chelsea last weekend, but Wednesday night's 2-0 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers was their fourth loss in their last five league games and left West Ham just two points clear of the relegation zone.

Indeed, should results go against them over the weekend then they could start this match in the relegation zone following a run of only one win in nine league games, during which time they have conceded 18 goals.

West Ham United players celebrate Aaron Cresswell's goal against Chelsea in the Premier League on November 30, 2019© Reuters

Arsenal are very much there for the taking at the moment, though, and West Ham will no doubt draw confidence from the fact that they have already beaten Manchester United and Chelsea this season, half of their wins for the campaign coming against members of the 'big six'.

Should they add the Gunners' scalp to that list then they would move level on points with Ljungberg's side, but they also risk losing three games in a row for the first time at the London Stadium. Not since October 2013 have the Hammers lost three consecutive home league games.

West Ham are in the slightly privileged position of having a relatively kind December schedule due to their match against Liverpool being postponed for the Club World Cup, but with this London derby being followed by a huge clash against fellow strugglers Southampton, Pellegrini knows that only results will keep him in the job at Christmas.

West Ham form: DLLLWL

Arsenal Premier League form: DDLDDL
Arsenal form (all competitions): DLDLDL


Team News

Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe pictured on November 6, 2019© Reuters

Perhaps the only positive to come out of Thursday's defeat to Brighton for Arsenal was that there were no new injuries, with Dani Ceballos and Rob Holding still their only two absentees.

Ljungberg could be tempted to make changes, though, partially with one eye on Thursday's Europa League tie with Standard Liege and the busy fixture schedule beyond that, but also in response to such a tepid performance.

Record signing Pepe did make an impact when he came off the bench at half time and will hope to have done enough to earn his first league start since October, while Matteo Guendouzi and Kieran Tierney are also pushing for inclusion.

Shkodran Mustafi's absence from the matchday squad did not have a notable improvement on their defensive efforts either, so the German may be brought back into the fold either on the bench or as a starter.

West Ham, meanwhile, will hand late fitness tests to a number of players, including Robert Snodgrass after he picked up a knock against Wolves which forced him off shortly after the hour mark.

Michail Antonio sat that match out as he continues to work his way back from a lengthy absence, but he could be back available for this one and may be brought in to lead the line in place of misfiring £45m signing Sebastien Haller.

Former Arsenal stalwart Jack Wilshere is another who could be involved following his latest injury absence, while Winston Reid is also nearing a return from a problem which has plagued him since March 2018.

Manuel Lanzini and Lukasz Fabianski remain sidelined, though, with both pushing to be fit for around the turn of the year.

West Ham possible starting lineup:
Martin; Fredericks, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Yarmolenko, Noble, Rice, Fornals; Anderson; Antonio

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis, Luiz, Tierney; Xhaka, Guendouzi; Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette


Head To Head

West Ham had not won any of their previous 12 home games against Arsenal across all competitions before their most recent such match, when Declan Rice scored the only goal of the game in January.

That is still only West Ham's second victory over the Gunners in their last 24 attempts home or away, though, with the North Londoners winning 18 of those.

The Hammers could win back-to-back matches against Arsenal for the first time since a run of three in a row in 2006 and 2007, while they have not won consecutive home games against Monday's opposition since 1984.


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We say: West Ham 2-2 Arsenal

This is a battle between two woefully out-of-form teams, pitting a poor home record against a poor away one. It is difficult to back either side to pick up all three points on current form, particularly with the defences shipping goals for fun at the moment. We are going for a score draw.


body check tags ::

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

West Ham
Draw
Arsenal
West Ham
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
Arsenal
0.0%
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool22211052143864
2Manchester CityMan City23153564273748
3Leicester CityLeicester23143648232545
4Chelsea2312383930939
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd239773627934
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2381053430434
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd238962522333
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs238783631531
9Crystal Palace237972226-430
10Arsenal2361163032-229
11Everton2385102633-729
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2385102234-1229
13Southampton2384112942-1328
14Burnley2383122638-1227
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2367102631-525
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2265112634-823
17Watford2358102034-1423
18Aston Villa2364132944-1522
19Bournemouth2355132036-1620
20Norwich CityNorwich2345142345-2217

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