Boosted by victory at home to champions Chelsea on Saturday, West Ham will hope to secure another three points when they host Arsenal at the London Stadium on Wednesday (20:00 GMT, live on BT Sport).
Things were looking pretty bleak for West Ham prior to Saturday’s win. They had failed to win in eight league matches and were firmly implanted inside the relegation zone. Although they still find themselves amongst the bottom three, there is, now, at least reason for hope.
The Hammers had given Manchester City a decent game in a 2-1 defeat the previous weekend and employed a similarly well-organised and determined approach against Chelsea. An early goal from Marko Arnautovic, well-finished after a neat exchange with Manuel Lanzini, gave them a lead to hold on to, and they did so despite spells of heavy pressure.
Adrian made a pair of good saves, justifying David Moyes’ decision to stick with him after his excellent display against City. Joe Hart was unavailable for that fixture due to the terms of his loan move, and the England number one may now struggle to get back into the team. Moyes will also have been pleased with the way Arnautovic reacted to being dropped against City. He needs more consistency from a player who cost the club £20 million.
Moyes was viewed by many Hammers supporters as an underwhelming choice to replace the sacked Slaven Bilic, but his focus on the fundamentals, consistently emphasising the importance of drawing a higher work-rate from his players and improving organisation, may be just what the team needed for the tough fixtures they have had in recent weeks. Something a bit more subtle will, however, be required once more winnable games start to come around.
Arsenal have traditionally had a few troubles in overcoming well-organised and combative opponents but Arsene Wenger has a surprisingly strong record against sides coached by Moyes. In their 30 previous meetings, Wenger’s Arsenal have won 19 times, alongside seven draws and four wins.
The Gunners have, though, struggled a bit on their travels so far this season. They were fortunate to come away with a point from their trip to the south coast to take on Southampton on Sunday, with Olivier Giroud coming off the bench to score a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw. While their home form is amongst the best in the league, away from the Emirates they have picked up just eight points from eight matches.
Defeats away to Liverpool and Manchester City can perhaps be excused, and Arsenal did pick up a credible 0-0 draw away to Chelsea. Just one point from trips to Stoke, Watford and Southampton doesn’t read well, especially given that the Stoke match was the only one of those fixtures in which they really created enough good chances to feel aggrieved at the outcome.
Wenger’s side have enough quality to remain in the battle for a top-four finish. The forward trio of Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil offers a variety of problems for opposing defences, while their use of three central defenders has at least made them a little less vulnerable to counter attacks than they had been previously. Their poor away form and a persisting lack of reliable defensive stability are likely to limit their ambitions.
For West Ham, the only target is survival. Their current position is not ideal, but they can at least take some solace from the fact that there are a pack of similarly troubled teams, with little to distinguish them. If they can pick up a solid number of points in their remaining matches this calendar year and make a couple of good additions in the January transfer window, there is still plenty of time for them to avoid the disastrous fate of relegation.
Their survival is unlikely to hinge on matches such as Wednesday’s but with confidence high after the win over Chelsea, they will fancy their chances of at least giving Arsenal a good game. The Gunners have enough faults to suggest they can be got at and while victory will be a tough ask, West Ham have a solid chance of coming away with a point.
Our Preview’s West Ham v Arsenal Betting Tips Verdict
The best UK online bookmakers have Arsenal as 4/6 favourites to win this match, while West Ham can be bet at 9/2 and the draw is generally a tad better than a 3/1 chance. Having perused the betting options, these are our preview’s preferred tips: