Mikel Arteta’s & co. will be looking to extend their unbeaten run of form in the Premier League to four matches when they trip to east side of London to face West Ham United on Sunday evening.
The Gunners, who defeated the Hammer 2-1 in the reverse fixture at the Emirates stadium back in September, saw their five-game unbeaten run in all competitions come to an end in mid-week thanks to Youssef El-Arabi’s second-half goal.
Despite being beaten by Greek champions, Mikel Arteta’s side had a big enough to lead from the first-leg of their last-16 to progress to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, meaning they now face a showdown with Czech champions Slavia Prague next month.
But before Mikel Arteta’s men can switch their attention back to European action, they have a trip to east side of London to focus on, in bid to boost their chance of getting a spot in European competitions next season.
Getting all three points against the Hammers, who sitting fifth position on league standings with 48 points, with boost hope of Mikel Arteta’s men qualifies for next season European competitions and also reduce the gap between them and local rivals Tottenham Hotspur to one point.
And ahead of crucial clash against West Ham United, who behind Chelsea on league standings with 48 points, Mikel Arteta & co. have handed major boost concerning the situation regarding Bukayo Saka and Willian injuries problem.
The Gunners have confirmed that Saka, who sustained a hamstring injury during last Sunday’s north London derby win over Spurs, fit to face West Ham United this evening while Willian will face a late fitness test before consider to include in Matchday squad.
After making changes against the Greek champions in mid-week, it is likely that Mikel Arteta will make some again this afternoon, meaning the likes of Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey Alexandre Lacazette will be pushing for returns.
In defence, David Luiz and Gabriel Magalheas should play a key role in offering adequate protection as well as the goalkeeper Bernd Leno in goal.
Kieran Tierney, who involved in mid-week defeat to Greek champions, should retain his role at left-back, while Mikel Arteta’s rotation policy may force Hector Bellerin to make way for Cedric Soares on the opposite flank.
Up to midfield park, Martin Odegaard is likely to return and should operate as the lone attacking midfielder while Thomas Partey is expected to partnership alongside Granit Xhaka, who featured in Gunners last 13 matches across all competitions.
In attack, it likely that Mikel Arteta will not rush Saka back into the starting lineup, means Nicolas Pepe will continue on the right flank while Aubameyang starts on the opposite flank, ultimately paving the way for Alexandre Lacazette to spearhead the attack.
The Frenchman was impressive in the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, and is expected to give another chance to impress against the Hammers this evening.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Cedric, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Pepe, Odegaard, Aubameyang; Lacazette
Full Arsenal squad available to face West Ham:
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno, Mat Ryan & Runar Alex Runarsson.
Defenders: Hector Bellerin, Cedric Soares, David Luiz, Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari & Kieran Tierney.
Midfielders: Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Dani Ceballos, Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Willian (if fit), Reiss Nelson & Nicolas Pepe.
Strikers: Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Eddie Nketiah & Gabriel Martinelli.