On Sunday afternoon, West Ham United will face Arsenal in a thrilling London derby at the London Stadium in the Premier League.
In midweek, David Moyes’ side lost 2-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final, while Arsenal defeated Manchester United 3-1 the week before.
On Thursday evening in London, it was certainly a game of inches, but the biggest European night in West Ham’s recent history got off to the worst possible start when Ansgar Knauff scored at the back post with less than a minute on the clock.
Before Jarrod Bowen’s Puskas-worthy bicycle kick could one back off the crossbar and away from danger, Frankfurt assured they would take a one-goal edge back to base through Daichi Kamada.
West Ham’s domestic fortunes have taken a plunge in their pursuit for Europa League success, with two defeats and a draw in their previous three Premier League matches, with last weekend’s 1-0 setback to Chelsea putting them seventh in the table and three points behind Manchester United.
Wolverhampton Wanderers are also breathing down West Ham’s necks. The Europa League is undoubtedly West Ham’s best chance of securing a Champions League berth for 2022-23, but Moyes will not want to forego the backup of a top-seven finish in the Premier League in order to return to any form of continental competition.
Furthermore, West Ham welcome Arsenal to the London Stadium after scoring in each of their Premier League home matches this season and taking 14 points from the last 18 available at the London Stadium, but the Gunners know how to win vital away matches in the capital.
Craig Dawson’s ban, Angelo Ogbonna’s delayed recuperation, and Issa Diop’s ankle problem have severely limited Moyes’ defensive choices, but Kurt Zouma recovered quickly enough to play the entire 90 minutes against Frankfurt.
The Frenchman had treatment near the conclusion of the game, but he is unlikely to be rested given Moyes’ lack of options in that area, and Ben Johnson’s suspension might see Vladimir Coufal return to right-back in place of Dawson.
As Moyes concentrates on the second leg in Frankfurt, Nikola Vlasic and Andriy Yarmolenko should be considered for starting duties, while ex-Gunner Lukasz Fabianski will take over in goal for Alphonse Areola.
In terms of the Gunners, Arteta is expected to have Bukayo Saka healthy for the London derby, with the 20-year-old back in training with his teammates after being substituted against Man United.
With Saka’s return, the Gunners’ only absentees would be Kierney and Thomas Partey, with Takehiro Tomiyasu returning as a late substitute against the Red Devils, but Arteta may be hesitant to start him again just yet.
Mohamed Elneny has stepped in excellently for Granit Xhaka and should start again, while Arteta may prefer to use Gabriel Martinelli’s pace and directness against a West Ham defense that is on the verge of collapsing.
Possible Line Up
West Ham United’s possible starting lineup: Fabianski; Coufal, Johnson, Zouma, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Yarmolenko, Vlasic, Benrahma; Antonio
Arsenal possible starting lineup: Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tavares; Xhaka, Elneny; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Nketiah
On Sunday, May 1, 2022, West Ham vs Arsenal will take off at 4:30 p.m. BST.
West Ham United 1-2 Arsenal
This season, no Premier League team has been able to keep West Ham from scoring at the London Stadium, and that trend is unlikely to end today, with Arteta’s side still susceptible of the occasional defensive blunder.
With the second leg of their Europa League semi-final in mind, Moyes is certain to make a number of changes, and a well-rested Arsenal side that has turned up the heat in key games should post another crucial three points in their Champions League campaign.