Verdict: Arsenal win
Best Odds: 1/2
Looking to mark their return to Premier League action on Boxing Day night, Arsenal will welcome West Ham to the Emirates.
Starting with the hosts, while Arsenal might have just missed out on a Champions League return last season, the Gunners have only continued on a remarkable purple patch since opening the 2022/23 campaign. With the mood around the Emirates at a red-hot high, Mikel Arteta’s side mark their return to Premier League duties on Monday night holding a commanding five-point buffer at the top of the table. Now firmly at the heart of a shock title charge, the one-time Manchester City coach has only seen his youngsters gain a string of plaudits from across Europe. Looking to lay down another top-flight marker on Boxing Day, Arsenal have lost just a single Premier League contest so far this season. Likewise, last seen heading into the World Cup’s enforced winter break with a 2-0 victory at Wolves, it should also be noted that Arteta’s men have taken 22 points from their last eight Premier League showdowns.
In what has been a real blow for Arsenal, attacking talisman Gabriel Jesus is not expected to feature until February after suffering a knee injury while away with Brazil at this winter’s World Cup. Eddie Nketiah should lead Arsenal’s charge here.
The Gunners have also confirmed that the duo of Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson will once again miss out on Boxing Day.
As for the visitors, while West Ham might have enjoyed a famous campaign in east London last season as they reached the Europe League semi-final, David Moyes’ men have really come crashing back down to earth. Failing to find any kind of stability since opening the 2022/23 campaign, the Hammers suddenly find themselves at the heart of a relegation scrap. Making their return to action on Monday night holding just a one-point buffer from slipping into the drop zone, it is no secret the former Manchester United boss has a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders. Last seen heading into the winter break with a deserved 2-0 loss at home against Leicester, West Ham will be more than aware that they face a huge task on Boxing Day. Losing four of their last five top-flight outings, Moyes’ struggling squad are desperate to find some kind of Christmas boost.
Limping off against Fulham last weekend in their final mid-season friendly, West Ham are sweating over the fitness of summer arrival Gianluca Scamacca here.
Likewise, suffering a thigh injury while away with Morocco at this winter’s World Cup, it remains to be seen if Nayef Aguerd will feature on Monday night. The Hammers have also confirmed that Maxwel Cornet will not make his return from a long-term issue on Boxing Day.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides last faced off on May 1st, Arsenal picked up a 2-1 victory at the London Stadium.
- The Gunners have taken 10 points from their last four Premier League meetings against West Ham.
- Monday’s guests had lost four of their final five Premier League matchups before the winter break.
- Arsenal have suffered just a single Premier League defeat since opening the 2022/23 campaign.
- Likewise, Arteta’s high-flying squad have taken 22 points from their last eight top-flight contests.
Enjoying what was a remarkable purple patch before heading into the World Cup break, Arsenal will simply be looking to pick up from where they left off last month. Marking their return to action holding a five-point buffer over defending champions Manchester City, the Boxing Day hosts should be smelling a golden chance here. With West Ham in the midst of a hugely worrying Premier League struggle since opening the 2022/23 campaign, the Hammers find themselves at the heart of a shock relegation scrap. Losing four of their final five top-flight contests last month, it is hard to see anything other than a home victory here.
Verdict: Arsenal win
Best Odds: 1/2
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