Arsenal will travel to London Stadium to face West Ham United on Matchday 22 of the Premier League on Saturday. Coincidentally, Unai Emery recorded his first win against the Hammers in August.
This time around, however, he faces a resurgent Irons, with flame capable of melting the Gunners’ metal. Manuel Pellegrini has stabilised the home side after a rough start.
The ex-Manchester City boss was welcomed back to England with four defeats on the spin. He managed to eliminate the Etihad ghost afterwards, racking up 28 points from 17 matches. While the top six is mere fantasy, with such form the Hammers have a realistic chance of finishing just beneath the big dogs.
Arsenal, meanwhile, has endured a mixed campaign. Emery’s team have breathed hot and cold at the same. It appears as though that they’re yet to recover from the shock defeat to Southampton in a December which ended their unbeaten streak. Embed from Getty Images
And that’s evident, with Arsenal accumulating a paltry four points from their last four matches. The Gunners may have suffered a frustrating Yuletide, but Aubameyang certainly did not. He tallied five goals and assisted two more in their seven matches, climbing atop of the goalscoring charts.
His ability to get into good goalscoring positions gives Arsenal the sense that they are always likely to score and win a game against a team outside of the top six. He achieved this feat without the industry of Mesut Ozil who has been in and out of the team this season.
We expect Emery to rest the duo against West Ham, especially with the heavyweight clash against Chelsea and Man United on the horizon. No opposition is a stroll in the park these days though the Spaniard tactician, who will certainly fancy revenge against Maurizio Sarri.
At their expense, Alexandre Lacazette and Alex Iwobi could start, supported by Aaron Ramsey from the right, drifting into the centre. Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi may slot in the midfield.
Emery has a big decision to make at the back, however, following the return of four key players: Laurent Koscielny, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal.