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Theo Walcott celebrates his goal against Aston Villa.Reuters
Theo Walcott celebrates his goal against Aston Villa.(Reuters)

Arsenal host West Ham United at the Emirates on Saturday in an important game for the Gunners in the race for the top four.

Where to Watch

Kick-off is set for 3pm GMT. Highlights of the game will be available on BBC Match of the Day from 10.30pm GMT on BBC One.

Overview

Arsenal are on a good form of late, losing only two Premier League games since the turn of the year, when they lost away to Southampton and Tottenham. However, recent victories against Everton and Queens Park Rangers have kept them in the hunt for the coveted Champions League spot where they are currently third, a point ahead of Manchester United.

A win here will take them within a point of Manchester City, who are currently four points ahead but do not play till later in the evening. However, a title challenge is still a long way off, with Chelsea currently nine points ahead, having played a game less.

However, there are apprehensions in the media and the dressing room that Arsene Wenger may choose to make a few changes to the squad against West Ham in a bid to keep personnel fresh against Monaco when they travel to France in order to overturn an unlikely 3-1 shock defeat which they suffered at the Emirates.

Theo Walcott may finally make his way back into the squad at the expense of either Alexis Sanchez or Danny Welbeck after being kept on the bench in Arsenal's recent endeavours. Aaron Ramsey may also come into the side after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, West Ham have all but squandered their brilliant start to the season after securing only a solitary win in their last 10 games, since their 2-1 loss to Arsenal at Upton Park. Injuries have played a major part, especially with Andy Carroll out for the season and other injuries around the park restricting Sam Allardyce from fielding his best XI.

They currently find themselves in 10th spot and need to start winning if they have to get back into the mix this season. Enner Valencia is expected to miss out after cutting his big toe over a broken cup at home while Winston Reid is yet to recover from a hamstring strain.

What Managers Say

Arsene Wenger: "We have been consistent against West Ham, especially at the Emirates. We are consistent against everybody [at Emirates Stadium] but away from home we have been successful against West Ham recently. It's very difficult to know why, on two or three occasions we have been lucky as well. When you look at the table every point is important now and our home form will be decisive as well. At the end of the day we have six home games and every game is vital now."

Sam Allardyce: "Our recent performances should give us confidence. True, we disappointed with below-par displays in the FA Cup against West Brom and at home to Crystal Palace in the Premier League, but we should have beaten both Manchester United and Tottenham and earned at least a point against Chelsea. With a little more luck — and one or two decisions going our way — we could well have earned eight points from our last six games and that would have been a major bonus, especially as five of those teams are above us in the table."

Betting Odds

  • Arsenal Win: 4/11
  • Draw: 17/4
  • West Ham Win: 31/4

Team News

Arsenal

Possible XI: Ospina; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Ramsey; Cazorla, Sanchez, Walcott, Giroud

West Ham

Possible XI: Adrian; O'Brien, Collins, Tomkins, Cresswell; Noble, Song, Kouyate; Downing, Sakho, Nene