Sam Allardyce's West Ham are firmly embroiled in a relegation battle. The Hammers sit just one place above the drop-zone and will be desperate to earn three points and some derby delight.
The Gunners, however, need the win just as badly to help them re-establish their title credentials. After a blistering start to the season, Arsene Wenger's team have now failed to win in each of their last four games. Arsenal have to stop the rot—and fast.
Over the next few slides, we discuss the key tactical battles in this crunch match.
The much-maligned Modibo Maiga is experiencing something of an upturn in form.
Perhaps he has been sparked into life by the impending opening of the January transfer window and West Ham's expected acquisition of a new striker.
For much of the season, Maiga's form has been so poor that Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has opted to play without a conventional frontman, fielding Mohamed Diame as a "False No. 9."
However, last week Maiga produced a superb display to help West Ham overcome rivals Tottenham in the Capital One Cup and was subsequently handed a start for the Premier League match at Old Trafford.
Maiga's primary weapon is his remarkable spring. As he frequently demonstrated at White Hart Lane, Maiga has the capacity to leap above all but the tallest defenders.
Fortunately for Arsenal, they have the tallest defender around: giant German Per Mertesacker. Arsenal will hope that Mertesacker is able to keep the athletic forward at bay. If anyone can climb above Maiga, it's surely Arsenal's lofty centre-half.
Both West Ham and Arsenal are blessed with gifted playmakers. Arsenal's is a multi-million pound superstar with a global reputation: Mesut Ozil. By contrast, West Ham's creative midfielder, Ravel Morrison, is only at the beginning of his career.
What unites the pair is an ability to produce the unexpected. They find spaces and opportunities that other, less-gifted players simply would not see.
Each has their respective strength. Ozil floats around before delivering incisive passes, whereas Morrison creates havoc with zig-zagging dribbles through the midfield.
However, each has the talent to win the game for his team. Whoever comes out on top in this particular duel could decide the destination of the three precious points.
This match could mark Lukas Podolski's first start for Arsenal since August. The German finally returned to the matchday squad for the game with Chelsea on Monday, and with Arsenal facing a hectic fixture schedule, he is likely to be rotated into the XI for the trip to Upton Park.
Podolski impressed on this ground last season, starting on the left wing and crossing for Olivier Giroud to score his first Premier League goal.
If Podolski starts on the left in this match, he is likely to come up against former Gunner Guy Demel. Demel spent the 2000-01 season with Arsenal, although he did not make a senior appearance.
Arsenal's past and present will meet on the same flank in this fixture. If Podolski can gain the upper hand, he could prove to be a significant threat to the West Ham goal.
Sam Allardyce's football philosophy is a relatively simple one: He plays a numbers game. Having calculated that crosses are a remarkably efficient way of producing Premier League goals, he seeks to put as many crosses in to the box in each game as he can.
Chief among those charged with delivering the ball from wide positions is Matt Jarvis. Jarvis offers the supply line for the likes of Maiga and Carlton Cole.
Jarvis operates from the left wing, where he will come face-to-face with Arsenal's Bacary Sagna. After displaying some indifferent form last season, Sagna has recovered to re-establish himself as one of the league's most consistent right-backs.
If Sagna can keep Jarvis quiet, West Ham's chances of scoring will be dramatically reduced.
What do you think the key battles will be in this crucial London derby? Let us know below.