Arsenal swat Saints aside
Arsenal moved to within two points of the Premier League’s top-four with an impressive 3-0 dismissal of Southampton at the Emirates. With club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang dropped from the squad “due to a disciplinary breach”, stand-in skipper Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring for the Gunners, finishing off a superb 16-pass team move.
Martin Odegaard doubled the lead soon after, heading home from close range, giving Mikel Arteta‘s outfit full control of proceedings despite a nervous start to Saturday’s showdown. Arsenal dominated thereafter and added a third and final goal soon after the hour mark with defender Gabriel nodding in a Gabriel Martinelli corner to complete the scoring.
Martinelli and Buakayo Saka also hit the woodwork and Arteta was happy with his players display post-match. He said: “I’m very pleased. After a difficult period, we had two defeats where I don’t think we deserved to lose the games, but we did. We started the game a little bit nervy, you could tell that we were carrying that feeling still, but we finished strong.”
Moyes demands more from Hammers
West Ham chief David Moyes has urged some of his Hammers players to “get back up to the high standards” that were set earlier in the season after the Irons were held to a frustrating goalless draw with relegation-threatened Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday. The capital club forced 14 corners but managed just three on-target attempts from 16 efforts at goal.
Moyes’ boys could have fallen behind early on when Chris Wood headed over, but they began to take control and headers from Issa Diop and Said Benrahma drew fine saves from Burnley keeper Nick Pope either side of half-time. The Hammers also had a strong claim for a penalty in the opening period when Dwight McNeil caught Craig Dawson in the box.
However, West Ham have now tabled a solitary success in five Premier League fixtures and Moyes admitted his team lacked quality in the final third. He said: “They’re in really good spirits because we’re in a good position, but once you set high standards, which a lot of them have, and they’ve seen the levels they can get to, I think some of them are playing below it.”
Arsenal have traditionally enjoyed their Premier League meetings with West Ham, boasting an excellent W19-D5-L2 head-to-head record going back to 2006/07. The Gunners have tabled W7-D3-L1 in the most recent 11 matches, have won each of their last five at home versus the Hammers, and returned W11-D1-L1 in Emirates encounters over a larger sample.
Arsenal 2.226/5 have picked up the joint-most Premier League points on home soil this term (W6-D1-L1) and head into Wednesday night’s clash ranking fourth for points earned over the past 13 rounds of action (W8-D2-L3). Mikel Arteta’s men have improved immeasurably at the back in that sample, keeping seven clean sheets, including four as hosts.
West Ham 3.45 have succeeded just once since November’s international break and have injuries to contend with at centre-back as both Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna are absent. The Hammers have tended to raise their game against the league’s elite under David Moyes, although the side have scored a maximum of one goal in nine of their most recent 13.
Arsenal have started to find their range in the final-third, scoring in 11 of their aforementioned 13 fixtures and notching multiple goals in five of their past six Emirates encounters. Mikel Arteta’s men have paid out for Over 2.5 Goals 1.875/6 backers in four of their last five Premier League outings and six of their last nine going further back.
Another goal-heavy game could be on the cards here. West Ham were blanked for only the third occasion at Turf Moor last time out, yet the Hammers’ contests with fellow top-half teams have tended to be enjoyable; five of six fixtures with the top-eight featured Over 2.5 Goals with both sides scoring in nine of 11 encounters when excluding the bottom-seven.
Meanwhile, five of the most recent seven meetings between the pair have produced Over 2.5 Goals profit, as have seven of nine head-to-head showdowns at the Emirates.