Slaven Bilic was left frustrated by refereeing decisions going against his side last week as the Hammers dropped points against Palace following Kouyate harsh red card. That has subsequently been rescinded so the home side will be close to full strength as they head into this must win game. A West Ham victory here would close the gap between themselves and Arsenal to just four points and turn this into a genuine four-way battle for the final two Champions League spots. It would also put the final nail in the Gunners title challenge.
West Ham won 2-0 at the Emirates back on the opening day to end a 10 game losing streak (all competitions) against Arsenal. And they’ve gone from strength to strength since, losing just four of their last 28 matches. Moreover, they’ve won eight and lost only three of their 15 matches this season against the current top half, including a W4-D2-L1 record at home. Furthermore, they’re unbeaten at home in their last 13 matches as they’ve built a solid defensive unit and with Dimitri Payet enjoying a stellar campaign they look capable of scoring against anyone.
Arsenal picked up an easy win last week against a fading Watford side but they should expect significantly greater resistance here than in that game or the win at Everton before that, with the Toffees evidently only interested in the FA Cup now. Since the start of last season the Gunners have won a relatively mediocre 51% of their away games including just three of their last 10. Moreover, while they won 5-2 at Leicester early in the campaign their record at the current top-half this term is just W1-D3-L3 as they’ve conceded at least twice in six of those seven matches. They also lost five of their nine trips to top-half finishers last term (W2-D2-L5) when they were again poor defensively, keeping just one clean sheet and conceding at least twice six times. Against decent teams this Arsenal defence seemingly never learns.
It’s very hard to make a good argument for Arsenal winning at Evens and at 1.90 the West Ham-Draw Double Chance looks a superb bet while we wouldn’t put anyone off the straight Hammers win or Draw No Bet option. Goals bettors may also consider Over 2.5 at about 1.8 with it having landed in five of Arsenal’s last six matches and in 14 of their last 20 trips to top-half teams and we certainly expect both teams to score.
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