Sunday's big match preview
West Ham United v Arsenal Sunday, October 25, 4.15pm Upton Park THERE used to be a television advert in which a bunch of players put their potential cup final suits back on the racks after learning they ve got Arsenal in the next round. West Ham s squad m
West Ham United v Arsenal
Sunday, October 25, 4.15pm
THERE used to be a television advert in which a bunch of players put their potential cup final suits back on the racks after learning they've got Arsenal in the next round.
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West Ham's squad might be feeling in similar mood as they prepare for the visit of the Gunners this weekend.
The Hammers are yet to win a home league fixture this season and have picked up just two points from their last seven games.
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The Gunners, meanwhile, have collected maximum points from their last four league games and scored 14 goals in the process.
West Ham haven't scored that many times all season - even including the four goals they hit against Millwall and Bolton in the Carling Cup.
So it's no surprise that the bookies make Arsenal, who sit fourth in the table with 18 points from eight games, red hot favourites to win Sunday's contest at Upton Park.
It's a ground the Gunners generally enjoy playing at, having tasted defeat on just two of their last 20 visits. The Hammers offered good resistance for 75 minutes of last season's corresponding fixture, which took place one day later in October.
But Julien Faubert's own goal and a last-minute effort from Emmanuel Adebayor saw Arsenal seal the points, with a late red card for Carlton Cole rubbing salt into West Ham's wounds.
The Hammers would like to think that Arsenal's Champions League game at AZ Alkmaar this week might undermine their efforts at Upton Park.
But a look back at last season's fixtures reveals that the Gunners won at the Boleyn having just returned from a midweek trip to Turkey where they convincingly beat Fenerbahce.
So they're unlikely to feel too jaded following a game in Holland.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger began the week with some bad news regarding Theo Walcott, who has been ruled out for a possible four weeks after damaging knee ligaments in the 3-1 home win against Birmingham last weekend. Tomas Rosicky also misses the game against AZ with a knee problem, but was hoping to soon recover.
Walcott's absence could see a start for Andrey Arshavin, who struck his fifth goal of the season last weekend.
As if the Gunners have not got enough danger-men up front, with Robin van Persie also on five goals ahead of this week's European game, they can rely on defender Thomas Vermaelen to produce a goal threat.
The Belgian, a �10m summer signing from Ajax, had also scored five times by last weekend.
It remains to be seen if goalkeeper Manuel Almunia will face the Hammers, having been forced to sit on the bench against Birmingham after understudy Vito Mannone impressed during his injury absence.
POSSIBLE TEAM: Almunia, Sagna, Vermaelen, Gallas, Clichy, Eboue, Fabregas, Song, Diaby, Arshavin, Van Persie
West Ham 0 Arsenal 2