The Gunners could leapfrog Manchester City in the Premier League table, with West Ham United standing in their way live on Sky Sports.
LAST TIME OUT
Manchester United 3-0 West Ham United
Sunday, 4th February 2024
West Ham fell to a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, despite enjoying the better of things early on.
Indeed following a moving tribute for the anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, it was the Hammers who started on the front foot with openings created by Emerson Palmieri and James Ward-Prowse almost seeing them take the lead through Jarrod Bowen and then Tomáš Souček.
With the Red Devils looking to catch up to the top four, they soon began to grow into it, with Bruno Fernandes going close when he forced Alphonse Areola into a superb strike from a fantastic effort.
The Irons were certainly giving as good as they were getting, but it took a degree of misfortune to open the scoring in Manchester as they went behind through Rasmus Højlund. Kurt Zouma’s attempted clearance seemed to fall into the path of Casemiro who accidentally – but perfectly – found striker Højlund, who opened up space for himself to drive a right-footed finish from the edge of the area past Areola.
Chances continued to fall for the visitors though as Ben Johnson – playing further forward from his usual spot at right back – forced André Onana into a stop with a powerful attempt from distance before Mohammed Kudus headed on target and Edson Álvarez turned another shot goalward in their attempt to pull level before the break.
David Moyes’ men would prove to rue these misses, although they saw the opportunity they had been hoping for just three minutes after the restart. Emerson pinched possession from a dawdling Harry Maguire and drove into the hosts’ penalty area, but the fullback got his bearings all wrong and sent his effort wide and would soon be made to pay.
With the chance to restore parity missed, West Ham were two down just seconds later as Alejandro Garnacho received the ball from Fernandes, before cutting inside onto his left foot and firing a shot goalward which took a crucial deflection off Nayef Aguerd to wrong-footed Łukasz Fabiański and double the Red Devils’ advantage.
With a two-goal cushion United began to play with freedom, and went close to a third through Marcus Rashford and then Diogo Dalot, shortly before Ward-Prowse led a promising counter-charge for West Ham, with Emerson sending a shot down Onana’s throat. The Hammers refused to let up though and continued to push in their attempt to peg their opponents back.
Bowen found himself with a huge opening to score with a little over 20 minutes to go, beating Maguire and striding into the penalty area before unleashing a powerful effort that required a late slide table from Dalot to send the ball away. And they would soon be punished, with the Red Devils wrapping up the three points with five minutes left to play when Scott McTominay fed Garnacho on the right wing, who slotted in his second of the afternoon and United’s third to ensure West Ham’s first league defeat in seven matches.
Manchester United (A) L3-0
AFC Bournemouth (H) D1-1
Sheffield United (A) D2-2
Bristol City (A) L1-0
Bristol City (H) D1-1
Brighton & Hove Albion (H) D0-0
IN THE DUGOUT: DAVID MOYES
Veteran manager David Moyes has become something of a staple of English football since the turn of the century, having taken charge of over 500 Premier League matches. Born in Glasgow, an 18-year playing career saw him begin with Celtic at senior level, and he would go on to turn out for Cambridge United, Bristol City, Shrewsbury Town, Dunfermline Athletic, Hamilton Academical and Preston North End.
He made over 530 league appearances throughout his career before becoming a coach at Preston, where he worked his way up to assistant manager before eventually taking over as manager in 1998. Four years in charge at Deepdale followed before perhaps his most notable stint as a manager, with a move to Everton in 2002 kick-starting an 11-year spell at Goodison Park.
This saw him guide the club to a fourth place finish in 2004/05 and was named LMA Manager of the Season, with further top six finishes being achieved in 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2012/13. The three successive campaigns in which they qualified for Europa League football was quite a feat given the position of the club when he arrived, and he guided them to the FA Cup Final in 2009, which they lost to Chelsea. Nonetheless though, his time on Merseyside was an unbridled success, and he was named Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor at Manchester United as a result.
His time at Old Trafford proved to be a disappointment however – being dismissed before the end of his first season – and he subsequently opted for a brief stint away from English football with a move to La Liga side Real Sociedad.
He lasted just a year in Spain though, with his sacking in November 2015 preceding a move to Sunderland, where he was unable to steer the Black Cats away from relegation and resigned following the first demotion of his career.
In an attempt to rebuild his reputation, Moyes took some time away from football, returning after six months when he was appointed West Ham manager with the Hammers in the relegation zone. He was successfully able to guide the club away from relegation this time, and although he left the club after his deal expired, he returned midway through the following season to replace Manuel Pellegrini, with the club once again in peril.
Moyes was able to recreate his heroics though, and after keeping the club in the Premier League, guided West Ham to a record points total of 65, with a sixth-place finish seeing them qualify for Europe against all the odds. His successes continued to mount, with another top-seven finish and a Europa League semi-final appearance in 2021/22, before winning the 2023 Europa Conference League against Fiorentina the following season.
ONE TO WATCH: JARROD BOWEN
Although a Hereford United academy product, Jarrod Bowen made a name for himself at Hull City and established himself as one of the best players in the second tier while at the Tigers. Joining in 2014, he broke out in the 2017/18 season and won both the Hull City Supporter’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards for 2017/18 and 2018/19, top scoring with 15 and 22 goals respectively.
His form attracted Premier League interest and he made the switch to West Ham United in January 2020, where he has played over 100 times.
A firm fan’s favorite at the London Stadium, his magnum opus with the Hammers has got to be his match-winning strike in the UEFA Europa Conference League Final against Fiorentina, netting in stoppage time to give West Ham their first trophy in 43 years with a 2–1 victory.
In doing so, he became the first Englishman to score the winner in a major European final since Arsenal’s Alan Smith in the 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup final against Parma.
LAST TIME WE MET
Arsenal 0-2 West Ham United
Thursday 28th December 2023
Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the season after goals either side of halftime condemned the Gunners to a 2-0 loss.
It was the hosts who saw plenty of the ball early on, with Bukayo Saka having the first shot on target after just three minutes, which was shortly followed by a chance for Leandro Trossard.
Although a positive start, in which the Gunners dominated possession throughout the opening ten minutes, the visitors were able to capitalise on a defensive mix-up to open the scoring, as Gabriel and Oleksandr Zinchenko failed to clear their lines which allowed Jarrod Bowen to hook the ball back into play – perhaps controversially after a VAR check suggesting that the ball may have gone out of play – with Tomáš Souček converting.
This seemed to knock the stuffing out of Arsenal and they became slow in their play after conceding, although Saka did go close soon after as Alphonse Areola had to acrobatically tip his effort over the crossbar. Saka would soon turn to the creator as he set up Gabriel Martinelli before the break, before going close once more himself as he squeezed a shot past the keeper and against the post, with Trossard unable to pounce on the rebound.
This was followed by a last-gasp chance for Martin Ødegaard before the interval, but it wasn’t enough as they went into the break behind.
The Gunners mirrored the start of their first-half display in the second, seeing plenty of the ball with former Hammer Declan Rice fizzing a shot just over from 20 yards, but he would be made to pay as it was a former Gunner who doubled West Ham’s advantage.
A trademark James Ward-Prowse corner met the head of Dinos Mavropanos who turned the ball past David Raya via a deflection, increasing the visitors’ lead. The hosts responded by testing Areola twice in quick succession though, with Gabriel Jesus being denied both times before Trossard drew a smart save down low as they frantically searched for a route back into the game.
Ødegaard then sent a speculative effort wide, with the Gunners unable to beat Areola despite having more than 30 attempts on goal. It almost got worse though, as Rice fouled Emerson Palmieri in the box giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Although Raya stood firm to deny Saïd Benrahma from 12 yards, there was little to cheer about as West Ham took all three points across London.
A record fee of £100 million, both for Arsenal and for English football, was only made possible following a stellar spell on the other side of London. Indeed, Declan Rice made a name for himself at Sunday’s opponents, with a ten-year stint in East London as one of the Hammers’ most successful academy products.
After a brief stint in the Chelsea academy, Rice moved to West Ham at the age of 14 and quickly rose through the ranks, with coach Trevor Bumstead citing his determination and persistence as a crucial factor. He signed his first professional contract after just two years, and made his senior debut on the final day of the 2016/17 season as a late substitute.
His rise into the first team would continue, and he was named runner-up for the 2017/18 Hammer of the Year award behind Marko Arnautović. It was during the 2018/19 campaign that he really began to shine though, featuring in all but four Premier League matches and being named on the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
He would subsequently be named Players’ Player of the Year and won the award for Individual Performance of the Season, for his match-winning game against Arsenal, and was named the Young Hammer of the Year for the third consecutive season. With his stock on a rapid rise, people were beginning to take notice, with his importance to the West Ham team quickly becoming obvious.
He captained the club for the first time at the age of 20 and played every minute in the Premier League during the 2019/20 season before being named Hammer of the Year for his performances throughout the campaign. With the Hammers’ subsequent rise into Europa, Rice’s performances didn’t waver, and he helped the club reach the Europa League semi-final in 2022 in which he was named in the Team of the Year.
He would take over the captaincy following Mark Noble’s retirement, after once again winning Hammer of the Year, went on to lead the club to victory in the Europa Conference League – their first trophy since 1965. All good things must come to an end though, and following an incredibly successful time at the London Stadium, the 25-year-old left West Ham after making 245 appearances, making the move across London to join Arsenal last summer.