Newly promoted West Ham welcome the Gunners in an eagerly-awaited London derby at Upton Park. Sam Allardyce’s men are currently above their neighbours in the Premier League table after going four league matches unbeaten. Indeed, the Hammers’ home record has been formidable with seven points from their first three games and only one goal concede. Allardyce will certainly be relishing the opportunity to test Wenger side’s, where the former’s physical style has enjoyed much success against Arsenal’s artistry with the likes of Bolton and Blackburn.
Crucially, Allardyce could call upon the aerial power of Andy Carroll from the start to test Arsenal’s perceived aerial weakness after the on-loan England striker’s return from injury from the bench at Loftus Road on Monday. Elsehwere, Winston Reid is set to be available despite being stretched off unconscious against QPR.
Meanwhile, Arsenal recovered from their first defeat of the season at home to Chelsea last week to dispatch Olympiakos in the Champions League in midweek although Arsene Wenger will be aware that despite the plaudits his team have been awarded in this season’s early stages, the Gunners currently lie seven points behind the league leaders already and simply cannot afford to drop many more points if they are to be involved in the title race.
Wenger is set to have Per Mertesacker available again after the defender dropped to the bench in place of Laurent Koscielny, who was at fault for both goals conceded to Chelsea, before the German then picked up an illness in the week. Wenger must also decide whether to continue with the in-form Gervinho in the central-strikers position or match their opponent’s aerial power by bringing in the misfiring Olivier Giroud, with the Ivorian moving out wide. Abou Diaby is missing while the game comes too early for Jack Wilshere to make his first competitive appearance for the club in 14 months.