Arsenal v West Ham: Premier League match preview
By Tony Hughes
Football Insider looks ahead to the Sunday lunchtime derby showdown at Emirates Stadium between Arsenal and West Ham.
KICK-OFF TIME: Sunday, 1.30pm
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1, highlights on BBC1
IT’S A BIG GAME FOR…
Aaron Ramsey. Eighteen months ago, the midfielder was one of the Premier League’s standout players. A series of niggling injuries stalled his runaway progress and, when he returned to fitness in the final two months of last season, the fine form of Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla in the centre forced him out to the right flank. Ramsey has made it clear that he feels he is a diminished force out wide and that his preference is to direct operations from central midfield. He was given a chance to do so in the Community Shield and will be hoping he partners anchorman Coquelin in Arsenal’s Premier League opener.
PLAYER TO WATCH…
Mesut Ozil. Has failed to match the expectations bestowed on him since his £40million move from Real Madrid but that could be about to change for the conductor of the Arsenal orchestra. Ended last season strongly and Arsene Wenger has made it clear that he expects great things of his record signing in this, his third campaign at the club. Ozil is likely to be handed his favourite No 10 role against West Ham, a position in which he is best able to locate the razor-sharp runs of Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and company.
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Premier League: Arsenal 3 (Giroud, Ramsey, Flamini) West Ham 0, Premier League, March 2015
Premier League: West Ham 1 (Kouyaté) Arsenal 2 (Cazorla, Welbeck), December 2014
Premier League: Arsenal 3 (Podolski 2, Giroud) West Ham 1 (Jarvis), April 2014
In January 2013, Arsenal came from a goal down to annihilate Sam Allardyce’s West Ham team 5-1.
Arsenal in pre-season: WWWWW
West Ham in pre-season: WDWL
Goals over 2.5 – 4/6 (Bet365)
HOW WILL THEY LINE UP…
Arsenal (possible): Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Ramsey, Coquelin; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Cazorla; Walcott.
West Ham (possible): Adrian; O’Brien, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble; Obiang, Payet, Zarate; Sakho.
EXPERT VERDICT… Ozil to orchestrate convincing Arsenal win.