Arsenal Match Preview
The Premier League swings back into action on Boxing Day after the Qatar World Cup and West Ham United make the short trip across London to The Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal in the day’s late kick-off.
The Hammers go into the game looking for their first top-flight success since October 24, following a 2-0 home triumph against newly-promoted AFC Bournemouth and will hope that Mikel Arteta’s table-topping Gunners take a while to get back to form, following a six-week pause in domestic action.
David Moyes’ side need a win themselves here as they restart their campaign in 16th place after three straight defeats. However, the Scotsman is yet to taste victory here.
Having said that, the East Londoners have managed to go unbeaten during their mid-season friendlies, having beaten Cambridge United and Udinese, before drawing with fellow Premier League side Fulham.
Moyes is hoping to inflict only a second top-flight defeat on his former player and if he does it will be a first domestic loss in front of the home faithful this season.
The visitors will be without defender Kurt Zouma after he was substituted early in the 2-0 defeat by Leicester City on November 12 after suffering a knee injury, meaning Thilo Kehrer or Angelo Ogbonna could replace him in the starting line-up.
Aaron Cresswell missed both the Udinese and Fulham games due to injury but could be set to make a return here.
The Irons’ boss didn’t have any further news on a return date for Maxwel Cornet, while Nayef Aguerd will have to be assessed after missing Morocco’s last two World Cup games due to illness.
Michail Antonio missed the encounter with the Foxes due to personal reasons and he will face a late fitness test to see if he could be involved here, due to a calf injury.
Strike partner Gianluca Scamacca suffered an ankle injury in the game against the Cottagers nine days ago and may not be fit to take part meaning that either Jarrod Bowen or Saïd Benrahma might have to fill in upfront, with Pablo Fornals in midfield.
Despite it only being late December, the East Londoners confirmed on 18 December that Brazilian defender Luizão will join the club from São Paulo on New Year’s Day, subject to international clearance.
The match is an 8pm kick-off with live coverage being screened by Amazon Prime Video from 7pm. The referee is Michael Oliver.