Carroll looks to strike whilst the Irons are hot
As West Ham prepare to host Arsenal in Saturday's late Premier League clash, the north Londoners head into the game knowing full well that their record at Upton Park is strong, and after a loss to Chelsea last weekend, a win will be an important statement of intent.
However, the Hammers are unbeaten on their home ground this season, picking up seven points from a possible nine, having lost only one of their past sixteen league matches at the Boleyn Ground, and for ‘Big' Sam Allardyce, the visit of Arsenal offers him an opportunity to show how far this team has come after their early season woes.
Likely to start his first game in a month is on-loan striker Andy Carroll, who made an early return to action off the bench in an impressive Monday night victory for the Irons as they beat QPR 2-1. With Arsenal showing weakness defending crosses and set-pieces so far this campaign, expect Carroll to provide a constant threat in the air, whilst Malian striker Modibo Maiga also offers a more clinical option.
Allardyce has a great record against mercurial French manager Arsene Wenger, having only seen his sides lose to Wenger on two occasions, and after one of the worse starts to an Arsenal season since the inception of the ‘best league in the world,' Big Sam will look to improve that record. The last three goals that Arsenal have conceded have all come from set-pieces, and William Hill are offering 11/1 on Andy Carroll to score in a West Ham win. Click here to find that, and a wide range of markets.
In recent times, Arsenal's record against their east London counterparts represents a shining example of success, having won six of their last eight meetings, yet West Ham hold the record of winning the last game at the Library, sorry Highbury, and the first at the Emirates. This is perhaps a reason as to why this match is often a tempestuous affair, having seen penalties awarded in the past four games, and it is no secret Phil Dowd is partial to the odd controversial decision or two.
Although often criticised, Wenger's transfer policy has seen the arrival of Santi Cazorla this season, who has created a large chunk of the Gunners goal scoring chances, and looks as though he could shine in a technically adept side such as Arsenal's. It could be suggested one of the worst signings of last season was Ivorian attack Gervinho, however with three league goals this season, he is starting to repay the his manager for the faith that was shown initially.
After the announcement of the England squad this week, a strong Arsenal contingent can go into their game at West Ham knowing they will soon have another chance to shine on the international stage, yet it is the quality of Lukas Podolski that is beginning to rise to the top of the Arsenal attack. The German forward has consistently offered a threat for his national team, and after some turbulent times for both Bayern München and FC Koln, he is now beginning to show his prowess at club level. William Hill are offering an enhanced price of 3/1 on Podolski to score in a Gunners win, and you can find that price here.
The match, live on ESPN from 16:30, kicking off an hour later, promises to be a gripping occasion, as most London derbies often are, and provides both teams a chance to prove doubters wrong.