West Ham v Arsenal: Premier League – live | Premier League


Key events

Max Rushden on the celebration police

Arsenal are unlikely to win the Premier League, but that probably has more to do with Kevin De Bruyne being good at football than Ødegaard’s amateur photography one Sunday afternoon in February.

Barney Ronay on David Moyes

It is Moyes’s team who are the exotics and the cultural antagonists now. L’Équipe’s report on the game against Brighton in August described “a clash of style that verged on cartoonish” as West Ham made 13 passes to Brighton’s 221 in the opening half-hour but still won the game.

Team news: Trossard in for Jorginho

David Moyes sticks with the same West Ham sided that played well for much of their 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford last weekend, though Mohammed Kudus and Ben Johnson may/should switch wings so that Kudus can attack Arsenal’s left-back.

This week, that left-back is Jakub Kiwior. He covers for the injured Oleksandr Zinchenko at left-back, one of two changes from the win over Liverpool. Jorginho, the player of the match last Sunday, is replaced by Leandro Trossard. A different challenge means a different attacking balance: Kai Havertz will almost certainly take Jorginho’s position in midfield, with Trossard playing up front.

West Ham (possible 4-2-3-1) Areola; Coufal, Zouma, Aguerd, Emerson; Alvarez, Soucek; Kudus, Ward-Prowse, Johnson; Bowen.
Substitutes: Fabianski, Cresswell, Mavropanos, Ogbonna, Scarles, Phillips, Cornet, Ings, Mubama.

Arsenal (possible 4-1-2-3) Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior; Rice; Odegaard, Havertz; Saka, Trossard, Martinelli.
Substitutes: Ramsdale, Soares, Walters, Jorginho, Elneny, Bandeira, Nwaneri, Nketiah, Nelson.

Referee Craig Pawson.

Trossard arrives at the stadium. Photograph: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC/Getty Images

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Preamble

John Part is one of the best darts commentators around, especially brilliant at explaining the mental challenge of a sport with a unique ebb and flow. One of his favourite phrases is, “A break is only a break if you hold”. For the grandmothers reading this who were never taught to suck eggs, Part means that the grand gesture of breaking your opponent’s throw counts for the square root of bugger all unless you hold your own throw in the next leg.

The point of this tangential, slightly indulgent, will-you-get-to-the-point-man introduction is that Arsenal need to hold today. Well, they need to win, which is where the analogy gets a bit confusing. In title-race terms, last weekend’s stirring win over Liverpool was a break of throw, but it will mean very little if they don’t back it up with victory at West Ham. It’s a tough task, as Arsenal know all too well from last season, but nobody ever won a league title by just winning the easy games.

There’s another reason Arsenal will be desperate to win today: so that they can enrage the celebration police by posing for a squad photo on the pitch, with Martin Odegaard gleefully snapping away on an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV revenge. West Ham won 2-0 at the Emirates just after Christmas, the first of two consecutive defeats that left Arsenal briefly holding the Premier League Crisis Baton™. As they have recovered, so West Ham have regressed beyond the mean: no wins in six, an FA Cup exit and a continuing referendum on whether David Moyes’ overall results justify his reactive style of play.

No team in the Premier League does more with less than West Ham. They have already won four games this season with a possession percentage in the 20s: Brighton, Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal. We’re pretty sure that’s a record for a single season in the English top flight. If West Ham make it five, or even if they draw, Arsenal will be back on the fringes of the title race.

Kick off 2pm

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