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Paul Merson predicts Arsenal v West Ham, identifies 27-year-old dangerman

By Will Butcher

Paul Merson believes target man Andy Carroll will prove difficult to handle for Arsenal on Sunday, as they face London rivals West Ham on Sunday.

The 27-year-old star could make his belated comeback from a knee injury against Arsene Wenger’s side, which has kept him on the sidelines since August.

Sky Sports pundit Merson claimed that if he returns, Carroll will be a cause for concern among the Arsenal defence but still expects the Gunners to secure a 2-1 win away at the London Stadium.

“This isn’t a gimme for Arsenal,” Merson expressed. “West Ham will make them work hard for it and it could be interesting to see if Andy Carroll is fit to start. He will cause problems.

“It’s easy to forget that Arsenal struggled for long periods against Bournemouth and Sunderland. But I fancy they may just nick this one.”

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Arsenal have lit up the Premier League form table this season, losing just one of their 13 domestic encounters.

On the contrary, Slaven Bilic’s West Ham are languishing above the top-flight drop zone, after failing to secure a victory in their last five league and cup outings.

A win for the Gunners could see them close the gap on league leaders Chelsea, who sit three points ahead of them after Antonio Conte’s side came from behind to beat Tottenham last Saturday.

If Merson’s prediction is correct, the pressure on Bilic’s shoulders will continue to grow as they could slip into the relegation zone.

Merson played for Arsenal for 12 years between 1985 and 1997, making 416 league and cup appearances as well as adding 99 goals during his North London stay.

In other Arsenal news, Mathieu Debuchy has received more bad news.