The league leaders go head-to-head against the Hammers as the Premier League season recommences.
On Boxing Day, Arsenal will take on West Ham in an effort to hold onto their five-point advantage atop the Premier League standings.
The Gunners are comfortably in the lead when the season resumes following the World Cup break, while West Ham is only one point above the bottom half of the rankings. The Premier League leaders haven’t wowed us with their majesty since mid-November because of the odd winter World Cup.
Fans got a taste of Arteta-ball at a warm-weather training camp in Dubai, however, as Arsenal won the Dubai Super Cup. The Gunners exceeded all expectations in the first half of the season, leading the league by five points as the season came to a close. Even though this youthful, talented club has only dropped two league games thus far, the path ahead will not be easy.
West Ham visits the Emirates on Boxing Day after having a rough start to 2022/23. After losing their final three games before the break, the 2017-18 Europa League semifinalist team is presently ranked 16th. Manager David Moyes will be under more pressure if the Hammers struggle when they return, and Monday night will be a big test.
The match preview for Boxing Day is provided below.
Kick-off: 1:30 am (IST), 8:00 pm: (GMT)
Arsenal form (all competitions): W–L–W–W–W–L
West Ham United form (all competitions): W–L–L–L–W–D
Players to Watch
The absence of Jesus will put additional on the rest of the assault to perform. Due to the presence of Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli will be required to take on more creative roles. Nketiah, unlike Jesus, will not dive deep to link the play. Instead, he requires assistance in order to score goals. When given the chance, he excels in the last third.
Arteta must ensure that the attack is calibrated to accomplish so. Saka had a better World Cup than Martinelli since he got more minutes and scored three goals. It was a fantastic performance, and he demonstrated why he is a huge talent for both club and country. He is ready to test himself in the Champions League at the age of 21, and it appears that he will do it with Arsenal.
Saka has had a good start to the league season, with four goals and six assists. There’s a high chance he’ll top his 11 goals and 7 assists total from the previous season. The year 2023 could be another step forward for the Hale End graduate.
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Jarrod Bowen has had a successful year. He will, however, be disappointed to have missed the World Cup. He would have been a lock to make the squad if it had been held in the summer, as is customary. The task for him now is to get back to his best for West Ham. He is still young enough to play in the next World Cup, and Gareth Southgate will be keeping a close eye on him ahead of Euro 2024 qualification.
Bowen’s season has been disappointing thus far, as he has only two goals and no assists. This is a far cry from his 2021/22 totals of 12 goals and 10 assists. It was at this portion of the season, towards the conclusion of 2021, that he caught fire. Moyes expects a similar impact in the coming weeks and months. The break could be advantageous to Bowen.
- Arsenal may match a club record by winning their first seven Premier League home games. They have won nine successive home league games since last season.
- Arsenal is unbeaten in 13 Boxing Day home games since losing to Nottingham Forest in 1987. They are Christmas leaders for the first time since 2007. They lost the last five titles.
- Newcastle United in 1995-96 was the only team with a five-point lead on Christmas Day to not win the Premier League.
- Arsenal is the only team to score in every Premier League encounter this season and has the joint-best defence.
- Eddie Nketiah has 10 goals in his past 10 home starts in all competitions.
- West Ham risks losing four straight Premier League games for the first time since the beginning of the 2018-19 season. Eleven league defeats on the road in 2022 are their most in a calendar year since losing 12 on the road in 2013.
- This season, the Hammers had just one win and three goals in seven away league games. If they lose, it will be the first time since the 2006-07 season that they’ve lost 10 of their first 16 Premier League matches. West Ham’s lone success in their previous eight Boxing Day contests was a 4-1 victory at Swansea City in 2016.
- David Moyes has lost 17 away games against Arsenal in all competitions, more than any other opponent.
Gabriel Jesus had a knee injury at the World Cup that necessitated surgery and will likely keep him out until February. Despite the fact that Emile Smith Rowe will most likely return soon, this game will come too soon for him. Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Albert Sambi Lokonga were unable to participate in Arsenal’s final friendlies before the World Cup break, and will most likely be reviewed before this encounter.
Reiss Nelson suffered a leg injury in that game and will be out for a few weeks. Despite being a member of France’s World Cup-winning squad, William Saliba is still eligible to play.
West Ham Utd
Alphonse Areola and Nayef Aguerd both played for World Cup teams who advanced to the second round, Morocco and France, respectively, so they are likely to be unavailable for this match.
Kurt Zouma will be unable to play in this match due to knee surgery he underwent at the end of November. Maxwell Cornet is still sidelined after suffering a setback in his comeback from a calf injury. Gianluca Scamacca missed the friendly against Fulham due to an ankle issue, and he may miss this one as well.
Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio did not play in that game and will be reviewed before this one.
West Ham: 6
Arsenal’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3):
Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Nketiah
West Ham United’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3):
Fabianski; Kehrer, Dawson, Ogbonna, Palmieri; Rice, Soucek; Fornals, Paqueta, Benrahma; Bowen
A three-month absence for Arsenal’s great striker would be cause for concern prior to the 2022-23 season, but Arteta can relax knowing that his team has plenty of goal threat around the pitch, as seen in the Dubai Super Cup.
West Ham’s defensive record away from home is encouraging, but their own attacking issues will do them no favours against a well-drilled Arsenal defence, and we can only see the Gunners restarting their title chase in fine form.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 West Ham United
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