Preview: Arsenal v West Ham

It’s a London derby in the League Cup on Tuesday when Arsenal host a resurgent West Ham for the second time in a week.

League Cup
19 December 2017
Kick-off 21:45 CET
Venue: Emirates Stadium

Referee: K. Friend
Assistants: S. Burt, M. Scholes
Fourth official: C. Kavanagh

Head-to-head summary

Arsenal 120 58 34 28
West Ham 120 28 34 58

Previous encounter

West Ham 0-0 Arsenal 13/12/2017 (Premier League)

Players to watch

Arsenal’s man of the moment is Mesut Ozil. He scored a fine goal against Newcastle but Arsene Wenger insists that “more important is the quality and the influence he has on the collective game, rather than his goal.”

Wenger added: “You cannot wait to score a goal like that every week, but you can play like he plays usually every week. That is more important.

“I think he takes responsibility and that’s what you want from him. He is more mature, he guides the team very well, he does a lot on the ball and your heart rate always goes down when he has the ball.”

West Ham playmaker Manuel Lanzini was very impressive with two assists in their big win over the Potters, and the Gunners will have to keep an eye on the Argentine because he clearly has the quality to create chances.

Team form and quotes

The Gunners were held to a 0-0 draw by the Hammers last week Wednesday, which was their third match without a win until Mesut Ozil secured a 1-0 victory over Newcastle on Saturday to take them back up to fifth in the standings.

Their chances of a title tilt are long gone, leaving just their usual fourth-placed finish, and some lesser silverware like this competition, as their ambitions for this campaign.

The Irons recently beat Chelsea and Stoke on either side of that draw against Arsene Wenger’s side to climb to 15th in the Premier League standings following a dire run of eight matches without a win that cost former boss Slaven Bilic his job.

Now under the guidance of David Moyes, the east Londoners are hoping to avoid the relegation scrap.

Ahead of the match, West Ham defender James Collins claimed that their defence, when playing well, is now capable of neutralizing even the most potent attack.

“We had a look at ourselves after the first 10 games – I’d be angry at my son’s U10 team if they conceded some of the goals we did,” Collins said.

“We knew we had to change and get back to the basics and defend well. We have done a lot of work on that, but the gaffer’s come in and got us doing the basics again and we’re getting the clean sheets.

“That’s what clean sheets are all about, and if you play against anyone, if you defend well, we can keep a clean sheet.”

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Team news

Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi is a slight doubt with a thigh muscle strain, while midfielder Aaron Ramsey is out with a hamstring issue and only expected back in the new year.

For the visitors, Edimilson Fernandes and Cheikhou Kouyate are rated doubtful with ankle and hamstring injuries respectively, but Sam Byram and Jose Fonte remain sidelined.