Arsenal will be put for their first win in four matches with a tough trip to Upton Park to face West Ham in a London derby. Join us for live scores and commentary from 2.00am AEDT.
Monday night’s 0-0 draw at Chelsea came on the back of a 6-3 loss to Manchester City, after losing 2-0 at the Stadio San Paolo in the Champions League midweek prior to that.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is convinced his players remain on course in their English Premier League title challenge despite having picked up just two points from their past three games.
Wenger’s side will make the short trip across London to West Ham United on Thursday having drawn at home with Everton and Chelsea either side of a 6-3 thrashing at Manchester City.
Arsenal had been seven points clear at the end of November, but now find themselves behind leaders Liverpool – who visit City in Thursday’s late game – on goal difference.
Wenger’s men struggled to create chances against Chelsea in Monday’s 0-0 draw, but Wenger insists that the Gunners’ prospects are far healthier than they had appeared at the start of the season, when they lost 3-1 at home to Aston Villa.
“The spirit of the players is unbelievably focused and there is a great desire,” he said.
“We are going through a period where it is a bit more difficult, but with that spirit we will come out of that.
“Let’s be serious – after the first game, against Aston Villa, if I’d have told you we would be top of the league, you would have said I was absolutely mad, so let’s not go completely overboard.
“We are where we are. The last three games have been difficult, but we have played Everton, we have played Man City and we have played Chelsea.”
West Ham are struggling to stay out of the relegation places, but Wenger is nonetheless expecting a testing 90 minutes.
“In the Premier League we have have learnt that it is difficult everywhere,” he said.
Wenger will make changes to keep his starting line-up fresh and now has the option of using Lukas Podolski, the Germany forward, who has recovered from the hamstring injury that had sidelined him since August.
West Ham have managed only one win in their past 10 Premier League games and sit just one point and one place above the bottom three.
However, right-back Guy Demel believes that Sam Allardyce’s side have a chance of upsetting the Gunners.
“We all know Arsenal is a great side and a force this season, but we are at home, it is a London derby and if we can get our performance right … then we always give ourselves a chance,” he said.
Can the Hammers steal an unlikely three points? Find out from 2.00am AEDT.
– Preview compiled with AAP