Two top-four contenders face each other today when West Ham United welcome London rivals Arsenal to Upton Park.
The Hammers dropped to fifth place in the Premier League after opening their busy holiday schedule with a 2-0 defeat at table-topping Chelsea on Boxing Day. John Terry and Diego Costa scored for the Blues as Sam Allardyce’s side suffered their first loss in six league matches.
West Ham defender James Collins admits Chelsea deserved their victory and tipped Jose Mourinho’s team to win the Premier League title. However, the Wales international insists the Hammers must put the defeat at Stamford Bridge behind them and is looking for a positive response from his teammates against Arsenal.
“I’d say we were probably beaten by the champions on Boxing Day,” Collins told his club website. “It will certainly take a strong team to beat them. We went there full of confidence, the best we’ve been playing for a long time and they’ve beaten us 2-0. Credit to them, they are a strong team all over the pitch and with the subs they made they’ve got strength in depth.
“It’s all about recovery now and looking forward to Arsenal on Sunday (today). We’ve got to try and put this behind us as quickly as we can and look forward to Arsenal. Our home form is great, the boys are playing well, so it’s one to look forward to.”
After playing the Gunners, West Ham complete their festive season fixtures with a home match against West Bromwich Albion on New Year’s Day.
Sixth-place Arsenal claimed their eighth league win as they beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day despite having France striker Olivier Giroud sent off early in the second half for a headbutt on Rangers defender Nedum Onuoha.
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty for the Gunners after only eight minutes when his spot kick was saved by QPR goalkeeper Robert Green, but the Chile striker made amends on 37 minutes when he gave Arsenal the lead with a header. Tomas Rosicky doubled Arsenal’s lead just after the hour mark even though the Gunners were down to 10 men after Giroud’s dismissal.
Rangers striker Charlie Austin reduced the deficit after converting a penalty 11 minutes from time, but the Gunners held out to secure Arsene Wenger’s 400th Premier League victory as Arsenal manager.
“We made it hard for ourselves but we played two (types) of games,” Wenger told journalists after the match. “One where were in control of the game until it went 2-1.
“After, you never know. The last five minutes were a bit edgy because we conceded a late goal last week and you could feel that was a bit in our mind. But overall I think we were in control for big parts of the game and in the end we have shown resilience and fortunately got the three points.”
The Gunners end their three-match holiday schedule away to another top-four hopeful, Southampton, on Jan. 1.
West Ham’s only reported injury concern is central defender James Tomkins, who faces a late test on a hamstring injury.
Arsenal will be without the injured Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Mikel Arteta (calf), Mesut Ozil (knee), Abou Diaby (calf) and Jack Wilshere (ankle), while Giroud starts a three-match suspension after seeing red against QPR.
The Gunners have won their last seven Premier League matches against West Ham, scoring a total of 20 goals and conceding only four in that spell.
Courtesy of ScoreMobile FC