By Matt Farr
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is expected to make seven changes ahead of the upcoming Premier League clash with West Ham.
Premier attacking trio Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott are set to return to the side, having been rested for the EFL cup defeat to Southampton on Wednesday.
Arsenal’s attack lacked it’s traditional fluency and penetration against the Saints, with rare-starter Lucas Perez and youngster Jeff Reine-Adelaide getting the nod instead.
Sanchez has spearheaded the Gunners’ attack so far this season, leading the way with 10 goals from 18 games in all competitions. Walcott, meanwhile, has nine goals in 15 games.
Petr Cech, Nacho Monreal, Shkodran Mustafi, and Laurent Koscielny are also expected to earn recalls. Hector Bellerin, meanwhile, is still out with an ankle injury, so Carl Jenkinson will remain at right-back.
Alex Iwobi, Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny will also keep their places. That means there might still be no place for Aaron Ramsey, who has yet to establish himself in the starting XI since returning from injury in October.
Doubts emerged following the Southampton defeat over Elneny’s availability for the game. The Egyptian midfielder was withdrawn before half-time, but Wenger has since assured the fans that the player was struggling with illness and does not have an injury.
He and Francis Coquelin are expected to be Wenger’s first-choice midfield pairing ahead of summer signing Granit Xhaka, while the injured Santi Cazorla is still fighting to regain full fitness.
The Gunners’ fans will be demanding that their side make amends for their dismal display on Wednesday which saw them eliminated from a winnable competition, and they will be boosted by the poor form of opponents West Ham.
Their opponents are just one point clear of the relegation zone, and have not won in the league since the 1-0 victory over Sunderland on October 22. They too were eliminated from the EFL Cup on Wednesday, losing 4-1 at Manchester United.
A win for Arsenal on their travels will boost their hopes of a Premier League title challenge, as they can go level on points with current league leaders Chelsea.
For West Ham, it’s all about regaining some confidence and getting one or two good results together. A trip to free-scoring Liverpool follows the Arsenal clash, and two more defeats could be really costly for Slaven Bilic’s under-fire side.
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