Arsenal will follow up their biggest win of the season last weekend with a tricky visit to a West Ham United side that has already registered two victories over the Gunners this campaign.
The third-place Gunners (15-4-4, 49 points) earned a comprehensive 3-1 victory over first-place Liverpool on Feb. 4, tightening the three-team race atop the Premier League.
Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard scored in the fully deserved victory, one in which coach Mikel Arteta’s side held Liverpool to only one shot on target.
Arsenal logged their third consecutive league win after they had lost three straight in all competitions, a slide that began with a 2-0 home league defeat to the same West Ham side they will face on Sunday.
Arteta attributes that sudden reversal in form to a continued belief in the team’s approach.
“It’s the reactions of the players, the staff, our supporters as well,” he said Friday. “You want to be a certain team, but when you lose a match, if somebody wants to be different because we lost, then we are not who we want to be or who we say we are. … Let’s keep going in the same direction, do things better, more efficiently and results will come. That’s what we did.”
Saka now has eight goals and seven assists in the league to lead the Gunners in both categories, and Martinelli has scored three of his five Premier League goals since New Year’s Day.
Seventh-place West Ham (10-7-6, 36 points) is winless in six matches across all competitions since their previous win over Arsenal. However, they could yet make it a three-game season sweep after they also won these sides’ Carabao Cup meeting 3-1 at home back on Nov. 1.
They would have to do so without Lucas Paqueta, who left these teams’ previous meeting with a calf injury and hasn’t played since.
Without their playmaker, the Hammers have scored only four goals across those six games and have been shut out in three of them. They fell 3-0 at Manchester United last weekend in a game that saw the Red Devils pass West Ham for sixth place.
West Ham coach David Moyes said the Brazilian won’t be fit for the Sunday clash, too. And despite his team’s previous success against Arsenal, he is under no illusions of how difficult the next contest will be.
“We’ve got them at home, but we’re also really aware how good a side they are,” Moyes said. “They are an incredibly good side, have been challenging to win the Premier League for the last two years, and we’re going have to play really well.”
–Field Level Media