Ironically, the English version of ‘Monday Night Football’ is only marginally better than the US version this week. At least it is a London derby match which should bring about a bit more competitive fire but the matchup itself is extremely uninspiring. 16th place West Ham United hosts 11th place Arsenal at London Stadium and neither team has been in particularly good form of late. The good news for both sides is that once you get past the top five teams the English Premier League table is very tightly packed and a couple of victories strung together could dramatically improve their position.
West Ham United has only 1 win in their last 10 matches in all competitions, a 1-0 upset at Chelsea on 11/30. Otherwise they’ve lost 7 and drawn 2 in their last 10. Their form in Premier League play is only slightly better with 2 wins in 10 along with 6 losses and 2 draws. They’ve not done particularly well at home this season with a record of 2-1-4 where they have conceded 14 goals and scored only 10. They’re not out of relegation danger but the mood is that they’re a cut above Southampton and Aston Villa and that they’ll gradually move away from the relegation zone. They beat Arsenal last season at home 1-0 but their form was much better than.
Arsenal finally kicked manager Unai Emery to the curb and brought in Freddie Ljungberg to right the ship. So far that hasn’t happened. In fact, there hasn’t been much evidence of improved play as usually happens after a managerial change. Arsenal is winless in nine games in all competitions with 4 draws and 5 losses. In their last Premiership action they drew at Norwich City on 12/1 and lost at home against Brighton 2-1 last time out. The Gunners are 1-3-3 in their Premier League travels scoring 7 and conceding 11.
Last season, West Ham won at home 1-0 though Arsenal won 3-1 at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal needs a win, if for no other reason than to placate their boosters who are growing restless at the teams poor play. This is particularly true after their home loss to Brighton last time out. It wouldn’t look good at all for them to lose again to a team even lower on the table. Arsenal should scrap out the victory here