Premier League | Arsenal vs West Ham United Preview: Teams News, Predicted Lineups & Key Stats

Premier League | Arsenal vs West Ham United Preview: Teams News, Predicted Lineups & Key Stats

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It is still early days in the 2020/21 Premier League season and we are already into the second round of fixtures. This time around, it’s a full gameweek, with all 20 teams set to take the field. Early leaders Arsenal will close the proceedings on Saturday, when they play hosts to West Ham United at the Emirates.

Arsenal have been in the middle of a transitional period since the turn of the year. With Mikel Arteta at the helm now, positive changes have been seen at the Emirates and the club seems to be headed in the right direction, despite off-field issues.

West Ham United, on the other hand, began their season on a whimper, going down 2-0 at home to Newcastle United in gameweek 1. David Moyes will hope that a story similar to recent seasons, wherein the Hammers have vigorously blown hot and cold, does not unfurl this time around and will be eager to quickly find stable footing.

Team News & Tactics

Arsenal

Mikel Arteta has seen his squad’s injury troubles ease up considerably ahead of his side’s second Premier League game of the season. Against West Ham United on Saturday, the Arsenal manager will only be without six first-team players.

The players who do miss out for the hosts are Sokratis Papastathopoulos (thigh), Calum Chambers (knee), Shkodran Mustafi (thigh), Pablo Mari (ankle), Emile Smith Rowe (shoulder) and Gabriel Martinelli (knee). However, the good news for Arsenal is that David Luiz has rejoined full training and is in contention to start against West Ham.

Arteta, though, ought to give the veteran Brazilian ample time to regain his sharpness, especially in the wake of Gabriel Magalhaes’s impressive debut last weekend. The same holds true for William Saliba, who is expected to be only gradually eased into the scheme of things by Arteta. So, Gabriel should be partnered by Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney in the back-three once again.

Consequently, Hector Bellerin and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will likely continue as the wing-backs, with Bernd Leno keeping his place in goal. The big decision this weekend for Arteta will need to be made with respect to his midfield selection.

Granit Xhaka picked up a knock last time out and the Arsenal manager has since been sweating over the fitness of the Swiss midfielder. However, the team news section of the Arsenal website has no mention of a possible injury issue, meaning Xhaka should be available to take on West Ham.

If that were to be the case, Xhaka will once again have Mohamed Elneny as his partner in the middle of the park, with Dani Ceballos on the bench. Finally, in attack, there is no looking past Willian, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, meaning Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah miss out.

(3-4-3): Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang

West Ham United

Unlike his counterpart in the Arsenal dugout, David Moyes hardly has any fitness issues hampering his preparations ahead of the short trip to the Emirates. On Saturday, the West Ham United boss will only have a couple of players unavailable in the worst case scenario.

Mark Noble faces a late fitness test after missing training on Friday due to a toe injury. Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is a major doubt as well, as he recovers from an ankle complaint and could miss the trip to his former stomping ground.

Noble’s potential unavailability means Moyes could potentially change his formation to a 4-4-2 unless he chooses to give Manuel Lanzini a rare Premier League start. An alteration in the system, though, appears to be the more ideal solution, especially in the wake of Sebastien Haller’s impressive performance in the Carabao Cup second round win over Charlton Athletic this week.

Haller should be a part of the striker partnership along with Michail Antonio, who will drop deep to link up with the midfielders during build-up play while his partner remains up top. Jarrod Bowen is a certain starter on the right wing, while Felipe Anderson is in line to start in the Premier League for the first time this season after making an impression in the cup fixture.

In the middle of the park, the onus will be on Declan Rice to keep things tight and curb the influence of Willian, who will have a free role in West Ham’s defensive third. Rice will be partnered by Tomas Soucek, who will look to charge up the field during offensive transitions.

At the back, there is no looking past Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna in the central defensive tandem while Ryan Fredericks and Aaron Cresswell will form the full-back pairing. In goal, former Arsenal custodian Lukasz Fabianski is the automatic pick, with the Pole likely to be a busy man between the sticks on Saturday.

(4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Bowen, Rice, Soucek, Anderson; Antonio, Haller

Key Stats

Arsenal have prevailed over West Ham United in 10 of their last 11 meetings across all competitions. In fact, the Hammers have lost 31 Premier League matches versus Arsenal, more than against any other opponent.

Arsenal are unbeaten in nine home Premier League games this calendar year (W7 D2), scoring 21 goals and conceding seven. The Gunners, though, have won only three of their last nine season-opening home league games (D1 L5).

West Ham United are aiming to win their opening Premier League away match for the first time in five seasons. The last time they achieved that feat in 2015/16, it was at Arsenal.

West Ham United manager David Moyes has never won away to Arsenal as a manager in any competition, drawing four and losing 15 of his 19 matches.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 16 Premier League London derbies, scoring 12 times and adding three assists.

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