One team is struggling with the fact that they just relinquished a lead atop the table. The other is scraping and scrapping for points, desperately trying to avoid the relegation zone.
One team needs to get back on the winning foot as they chase a Premier League title and have tough upcoming opponents in the FA Cup (Tottenham) and the Champions League knockout stage (Bayern Munich). The other team has advanced to the Capital One Cup semifinals, so any positive momentum will certainly aid that quest for hardware.
Yes, Arsenal and West Ham are on opposite ends of the Premier League totem pole, but both teams will have plenty of incentive to win this contest. Let's break it down.
When: Thursday, December 26 at 10 a.m. ET (3 p.m. GMT)
Where: Upton Park, London, England
Watch: NBC Sports Live Extra; BT Sport 1 (U.K.)
Odds: Arsenal (42.5 percent), West Ham (31.1 percent) and draw (26.5 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
Arsenal are going to be desperate to get a win in this one. The team have now taken just two points in their past three Premier League games, drawing with Everton and Chelsea and losing to Manchester City. The string of disappointing performances dropped Arsenal from the top spot on the table, though they remain tied with Liverpool on total points.
The Gunners will have to alter their momentum without one of their key players, as Jack Wilshere is suspended for the second of two games after he gave Manchester City fans the middle finger. Wilshere took to Twitter to express some remorse for his actions, but also to note that he was responding to comments made from the stands about his children:
Gutted not to be Involved last night! Shouldn't of reacted the way I did but I know all you dads out there love your kids the way I do....— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) December 24, 2013
Suppose I will just have to take the abuse about my kids in future......anyway, one more game to go! Can't wait to be back! #AFC— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) December 24, 2013
No matter what the reason, the Gunners will miss having him once again versus West Ham.
Of course, things aren't exactly rosy for the Hammers, either. The team are just one point clear of the relegation zone and have managed just one point in their past four matches. They've scored just 14 goals on the season (tied 15th) and have taken just eight points in eight home matches this season.
Losing Andy Carroll to injury earlier in the season didn't help, but against the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla, West Ham would have been in over their heads regardless.
Which team wins?
Arsenal can't quiet the critics that have been whispering about how they don't fare well against top competition, but they can reclaim the top spot on the table with a win, especially since Liverpool have to travel to the impenetrable fortress that is the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City.
The Gunners won't just win this game, they'll roll on Boxing Day. After games against Everton, Napoli, Manchester City and Chelsea, facing an inferior opponent will be a breath of fresh air and revitalize a worn-down Arsenal side.
The Gunners win, 4-0.