These clubs have been less-than stellar this season, both floating around the middle of the table in the English Premier League. Led by striker Gervinho, The Gunners have been an offensive powerhouse outscoring their opponents 18 to 5, but have failed to capitalize in Premier League play.
Where: Green Street, Upton Park, England
When: Saturday, October 6, 12:30 p.m. EST
TV: Fox Soccer
West Ham United: A Team with Something to Prove
For West Ham team that ended dead-last in the stands and was relegated in the 2010-2011 season, they’re looking to bounce back.
After just sneaking into the top three teams in the English League Championship last year, West Ham has exceeded expectations in the EPL this season going 3-2-1 thus far.
The Iron faithful have been out in full-force this season, energy their going to have to maintain this Saturday against this Arsenal team. While West Ham has excited the fans in Upton Park, their strength of schedule up to this point has been questionable.
In the EPL this season they’ve collected wins against Aston Villa, Fulham, Wigan Athletic and QPR. Although playing well down the stretch outscoring opponents 7 to 5 in EPL play, three of their wins come from teams ranked in the bottom half of the EPL standings.
This game against Arsenal on Saturday is the biggest game on the schedule for this West Ham club. If they can knock off Arsenal they should win enough games to sneak into the top six or seven in the final season standings.
Manager Sam Allardyce has added a full dose of excitement to the EPL. After last week’s eight-yellow-card debacle in London, Allardyce criticized referee Mark Clattenburg on and off the pitch. An undisciplined club? Maybe, but Sam Allardyce should be considered the leading candidate for EPL Coach of the Year. With a win over Arsenal this week and continued success over the some of the weaker teams in the league, he should be a lock for the award.
Look for this scrappy club to put up a strong defensive fight against this Arsenal team.
Arsenal: Can They Bounce Back?
Lets be clear, regardless of who is ahead of who in the standings, Arsenal should be favored to win this game.
After a heart-breaking loss to Chelsea last week, Arsenal needs a victory in this game. Arsenal outshot Chelsea 17 to ten in last week’s brawl, but beautiful goals by Fernando Torres and Juan Mata tipped the scales to the Blues.
The big news coming from last week’s game is the thigh injury picked up by Arsenal’s Abou Diaby, who’s been great at breaking up plays in the midfield.
"It is a blow to lose Diaby again because he brings qualities to the team that others do not bring," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Saturday’s game is going to rely on veteran defender Kieran Gibbs and his ability to work the ball up the field to play-makers like Gervinho and Lukas Podolski.
West Ham has only allowed five goals this season and has a goal differential of just two. Arsenal has scored an impressive ten goals this season, but six came in a game against a sub-par Southampton squad.
Arsenal needs to create more offensive intensity moving forward. Wenger should consider pressing this West Ham defense to create plays by possibly adding an additional striker. Pushing midfielder Aaron Ramsey up in the midfield should open up even more opportunities for strikes.
Arsenal should be able to pick up a victory in Upton Park this Saturday. Sam Allardyce’s defense needs to come out aggressive, if not; Arsenal will pull out an easy victory.