We kick off this Premier League weekend in style with a juicy all-London encounter between West Ham and Arsenal to look forward to. With both sides still having plenty to play for as the season reaches its close, we expect this Saturday’s lunch-time kick-off to go right down to the wire.
West Ham winger Dimitri Payet stole all the headlines last Saturday despite his Irons side being unable to pick up three points against relegation strugglers Crystal Palace.
The Frenchman’s almost physics-defying free kick in the 41st minute at the weekend confirmed to everyone what they already knew regarding his talents. And after enjoying a splendid season under cultured boss Slaven Bilic and a move to the 50 thousand+ capacity Olympic stadium also imminent, things are certainly looking up for Payet’s Irons side.
For their opponents Arsenal however, last weekend’s 4-0 rout of Watford may have gone some way to appeasing the Gunners’ jittery fans but Arsene Wenger’s men won’t rest easy in the knowledge that should they leave Upton Park without at least three points on Saturday, it will only be a matter of time before the ‘Wenger Out’ signs start getting brandished in the terraces again.
West Ham: James Collins and Carl Jenkinson remain the club’s only notable absences going into Saturday’s match with the latter unavailable selection anyway due to the latter being
Arsenal: There’s good news for the Gunners with Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey expected to return for this Saturday’s clash. Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Flamini and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain however all remain sidelined with their respective injuries.
Where does the betting value lie?
The last time these two sides met it was West Ham who produced a memorable 2-0 win at the Emirates on the opening day of the season thanks to some nervous goalkeeping from Petr Cech and a midfield master class from unknown Irons youngster Reece Oxford (remember him?).
Prior to that day, Arsenal had unbelievably been on a ten game winning streak against their East London rivals in all competitions. And of those ten games, just two (both in 2010) had produced less than 2.5 goals.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the Gunners are even money favourites for this tie and the price for the match to go over 2.5 goals is still relatively short at 5/7.
The Hammers themselves have certainly been no strangers to finding the net home or away this season and it’s almost a cast iron certainty that good chances will be created from both sides.
We’re going to go out on a limb and back the Gunners to win-out in a high-scoring affair on Saturday which means for those of you that are reluctant to back them outright at such an unflattering price, we reckon Arsenal to win but both teams to find the net at just over 5/2 is still a very attractive prospect.