Arsenal’s penultimate game of 2013 is away to London rivals West Ham United, who need the win for altogether different reasons.
Sam Allardyce’s side were thankful that other results went their way on Saturday, as the comprehensive defeat at Manchester United could have seen them slip into the relegation zone. As it is, they still have a one point cushion, and after this game, they have a crucial run of fixtures against relegation rivals, as West Bromwich Albion, Fulham and Cardiff City are their next three Premier League opponents.
Arsenal may have just played against two title rivals in Manchester City and Chelsea, but this and Sunday’s trip to Newcastle United represents two tough encounters to end the year. They held their own against Jose Mourinho’s team on Monday, but were largely cancelled out, failing to seriously test Blues goalkeeper Petr Cech. Victory would be enough to take Arsenal back to the top of the Premier League, temporarily at least.
Mladen Petric is a doubt for West Ham, who are definitely without Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Winston Reid and Ricardo Vaz Te.
Laurent Koscielny is a major doubt for Arsenal, Jack Wilshere is suspended, and Abou Diaby, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yaya Sanogo are all sidelined.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on West