We have the opportunity to record back-to-back wins in the Premier League on Saturday when we face West Ham United at the London Stadium, so what are the five key things we need to look out for? Read on to find out...
RETURN OF THE OLD BOYS
Samir Nasri made his West Ham debut last weekend in the FA Cup win over Birmingham, and could make his first Premier League appearance for his new club this weekend.
Nasri spent three seasons with us between 2008 and 2011 before moving to Manchester City, where he spent five years and won the Premier League title. He later played for Sevilla (though not during Unai Emery's time) and Antalyaspor before West Ham signed him at the beginning of the year.
His last appearance against Arsenal came in September 2014, as a half-time sub in a 2-2 draw at Emirates Stadium with Manchester City.
Nasri's ex-Arsenal team mate Jack Wilshere is also now at West Ham, and played the full 90 minutes at Emirates Stadium when we defeated the Hammers 3-1 in August. But that was the last full game he completed a match for his current side, and has made just two outings in all since then, the most recent of which was as a late sub against Newcastle on December 1.
A more consistent presence in the West Ham side though has been Lukasz Fabianski. He was rested for the FA Cup clash, but has been the undisputed number one since signing from Swansea in the summer. The Polish goalkeeper spent seven seasons with the Gunners, before leaving for the Swans in 2014. He has since played against us seven times, winning three, losing four and conceding 15 goals.
Finally Lucas Perez might be featuring against us for the second time since he transferred to West Ham in August. He was a late sub in the match at Emirates Stadium, and has since scored four times in 11 appearances for his current club.
RACE FOR THE GOLDEN BOOT
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goes into the weekend as the joint top scorer in the Premier League with 14 goals this season, and the Arsenal number 14 has a good record in London derbies. He has scored in each of his last four Premier League derby matches, netting six goals and providing two assists. All but three of his 16 goals in all competitions this season have been scored in London.
Three quarters of Auba's goals have come in the second half of games so far this season, and this fixture also tends to come alive after the break. In fact 15 of the last 17 goals scored in Premier League matches between West Ham and Arsenal have been scored in the second half.
Other stats worth noting ahead of this game are that West Ham have lost more Premier League fixtures against Arsenal (29) than they have against any other side, and we are unbeaten in our last 11 away games against the Hammers in all competitions, winning eight and drawing the other three. The run stretches back to 2006.
HAMMERS' ATTACKING THREAT
West Ham sealed their 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Birmingham last week with a late Andy Carroll goal, and the striker has given us plenty of trouble in the past, as Michael Cox of zonalmarking.net explains.
"He might not start this game, but Andy Carroll boasts a good record against Arsenal, with five goals in eight appearances including a winner at the Emirates in his Newcastle days, and a hat-trick at Upton Park. Now 30, he still offers a huge aerial threat.
"West Ham a number of talented attacking options. Felipe Anderson has proved one of the signings of the season, drifting inside from the left and crossing or shooting with his right foot, while Marko Arnautovic is now very comfortable up front.
"West Ham have played a variety of systems this season, but seem most likely to use 4-2-3-1 this weekend. They’ve often looked impressive in a 4-4-2 formation, particularly when Javier Hernandez is deployed upfront to get on the end of flick-ons and knock-downs from a bigger strike partnership, but Pellegrini might want numbers in midfield here."
THE BATTLE OF THE BOSSES
Unai Emery's first victory as Arsenal head coach came against Manuel Pellegrini's West Ham back in August, but the two were frequent adversaries in Spain as well.
Pellegrini made his name with Villarreal before also taking charge of Real Madrid and Malaga in La Liga. Emery played against him as boss of both Almeria and Valencia, though is yet to win an away game against him. The record after six meetings is W0 D2 L4.
50 UP FOR SEAD
If he plays, Sead Kolasinac will be making his 50th appearance for the Gunners since signing from Schalke at the start of last season. The Bosnian left back made his debut in the Community Shield win over Chelsea in August 2017, marking the occasion with a goal. Since then he has scored four more - though none yet this season – and contributed seven assists.
Since returning from injury at the start of November he has created more chances in the Premier League than any other Arsenal player (18) and has the joint most PL assists (three). His 49 games so far break down as follows: Premier League 37, Europa League 7, FA Cup 1, League Cup 3, Community Shield 1. He started 40 of the games, and came on in the other nine.
He will become the 17th member of the current first-team squad to reach 50 appearances.
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