West Ham host Arsenal at 3pm on Boxing Day, in a match that is being broadcast live on BT Sport and sees two teams in contrasting form go head-to-head.
Having started this league campaign in fine form, the Gunners have a real opportunity to prove to everyone just how strong a side they are.
Fellow Londoners West Ham have struggled to continue their run of form that saw them finish comfortably in mid-table last year, boasting an unconvincing strike force ever since their £15million signing Andy Carroll suffered an injury setback.
No doubt the trip to the Etihad Stadium will still be haunting Arsene Wenger, where his side were on the receiving end of an attacking display that even Barcelona will be worried about. Having suffered this heavy defeat and failed to win at home to Chelsea, Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal side will be hoping to prove to everyone that they’re still in the race for the title.
With close contenders Man City and Liverpool facing off against each other in the late kick-off, Arsene Wenger has a real opportunity to take advantage of this and go back to the top of the table, with a hope that his Northern competitors share the points in Manchester.
The opening half of this season has been impressive from the Gunners, however the crucial time of any season to deliver results is after the Christmas period. Sir Alex Ferguson was one of the most consistent managers at getting his side to push on after Christmas and improve their performances; often this was the key to his side’s success. Three points from this Upton Park fixture will see his side go into the New Year in a very strong position.
Hammers’ boss Sam Allardyce hasn’t had the best of luck so far this year, with a lot of injuries to deal with. However, he has conjured up some impressive results – one being the 3-0 victory over Arsenal’s fierce north London rivals Tottenham.
Arsenal’s past record away to the Hammers is very impressive, however. Arsene Wenger hasn’t lost there since 2006, where the Frenchman’s side suffered double league defeats to their London rivals. Since then, Arsenal have won the last five encounters at the Boleyn Ground, often scoring at least two goals in each game. With the form that Arsenal have found so far this season, with Aaron Ramsey in fine goal-scoring form and Jack Wilshere playing to his potential, the Gunners’ fans can be confident of a performance that really shows their quality and dominance – not to mention the introduction of Mesut Ozil to the Arsenal armoury.
Following this fixture, Arsene Wenger faces a trip to the Toon, where Alan Pardew’s side have proved resilient so far, having only lost one game all season at home. If Arsenal can pick up a big win at West Ham, Arsene Wenger can relax on a draw, at least, when he travels to St. James’ Park before the New Year and still be content that they’re well and truly in the title hunt.