High-flying West Ham will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run to five league games when they host Arsenal, with the Gunners desperate to make amends for the home defeat to Chelsea.
The Hammers didn’t need to make major changes to the squad after the team ensured promotion to the Premier League, given that they already had plenty of quality among the ranks, but the club chiefs, nevertheless, splashed out the cash on several very experienced players.
Jussi Jaaskelainen, James Collins, Matt Jarvis and Momo Diame have all helped the side to a bright start to the season, but the arrival of Andy Carroll on loan from Liverpool was without a doubt the best deal of the summer.
Boosted by the heavy summer recruitment, the Hammers enjoyed a brilliant start to the league campaign, taking 11 points from first 6 games, with the away win over QPR helping the players restore the lost confidence following the Capitol One Cup defeat to Wigan.
With Andy Carroll back to the side after recovering from injury, Sam Allardyce’s side have every reason to feel optimistic ahead of the clash with Arsenal, and Ladbrokes has them at 4.20 (16/5) to win another local derby.
Winston Reid and Joey O’Brien are both expected to play despite picking up injuries in the 2-1 win over QPR, while Andy Carroll returns to the starting line-up.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Jaaskelainen – Demel, Reid, Collins, Taylor – Noble, Diame – Vaz Te, Nolan, Jarvis – Carroll.
Arsenal needed some time to recover from the loss of Robin van Persie and Alex Song, as well as to integrate new signings into the squad, so nobody was really surprised to see the Gunners experience small problems at the start of the season.
Arsene Wenger’s side, nevertheless, quickly found their game and started playing the way everyone expects them to, recording five wins in last seven competitive fixtures.
The 2-1 defeat to Chelsea was difficult to swallow, but the team quickly returned to winning ways, recording a 3-1 Champions League win over Olympiakos.
The Gunners now need a win in order to stay in touch with the leading pack, with 888sport paying 2.00 (1/1) on away win.
Per Mertesacker is set to return after recovering from illness, but Abou Diaby, Bacary Sagna, Jack Wilshire, Tomas Rosicky and Wojciech Szczesny are all out injured.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Mannone – Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs – Ramsey, Arteta – Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski – Gervinho.