Arsenal will be hoping to make up ground on the other challengers for a top-four spot when they face West Ham United in a rearranged Premier League clash on Wednesday evening.
The original match at Emirates Stadium had to be postponed due to a London Underground tube strike on Boxing Day, with both sides going on to show inconsistent form during January.
The Gunners have been beaten by Manchester City and Chelsea in their two most recent Premier League outings and Arsene Wenger admitted after Sunday’s defeat at Stamford Bridge they had wasted a ‘fantastic opportunity’ to push for the title this season.
Arsenal are currently 22 points adrift of leaders Manchester United and their focus will be on securing UEFA Champions League qualification, although it will be a battle against the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Liverpool.
They can strengthen their chances with a midweek win over West Ham, although Sam Allardyce’s side will be determined to exact revenge for a 3-1 loss at Upton park earlier in the season.
The Hammers are in a comfortable position in mid-table, eight points clear of the relegation zone, but they will be looking for further consolidation and perhaps a top-half finish.
West Ham drew 1-1 with bottom club Queens Park Rangers at the weekend, having previously lost 3-0 to Sunderland and been knocked out of the FA Cup following a replay with Manchester United.
Arsenal Team News
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski are available for Arsenal’s Premier League game against West Ham after they overcame their respective illnesses.
Manager Arsene Wenger has a problem in midfield as Mikel Arteta (calf), Francis Coquelin (hamstring), and Tomas Rosicky (calf) are all out.
Defensive midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) will have a fitness test, but forward Gervinho is away at the Africa Cup of Nations and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is out with a foot injury.
West Ham Team News
est Ham have no fresh injury concerns for the trip. Andy Carroll and George McCartney (both knee) miss the game originally scheduled for Boxing Day, while James Collins (hamstring) is also expected to miss out.
Marouane Chamakh is ineligible to face his parent club, while Mali forward Modibo Maiga is away at the Africa Cup of Nations.
New signing Wellington Paulista will need more time before being included.
- The Hammers have failed to score in seven of the last nine Premier League games against the Gunners.
- Only Liverpool and Man Utd (six each) have won away at Arsenal more often in the Premier League era than West Ham (4).
- Theo Walcott has been involved in five of Arsenal’s last six Premier League goals (three goals, two assists) and has scored 11 in his last 15 appearances for Arsenal (in all competitions).