Dec 26, 2013, 9:27 AM EDT
Arsenal have a chance to get back into first place at Upton Park today, although a struggling West Ham certainly won’t be keen to make it easy on the visitors (10 a.m. ET; watch live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
The Gunners are winless in their last three and will be relieved to face West Ham, who are barely above the relegation zone. Tough draws against Everton and Chelsea bookended a 6-3 loss to Manchester City, leaving Arsenal just behind Liverpool in the table, although they remain even on points. Arsène Wenger is keeping the faith in his side, however, making just one change from Monday’s lineup. Tomáš Rosický misses out and Santi Cazorla comes in.
It’s difficult to believe that Sam Allardyce‘s side will try to do more than simply contain the visitors. West Ham are one of the lowest scoring teams in the Premier League, but are staying alive by not leaking too many goals, particularly at home. The Irons have been able to sporadically impress this season, but it seems highly unlikely we’ll see another surprise 3-0 victory today. However, Allardyce is starting a center forward, Carlton Cole, so maybe there’s a goal in this one for the hosts.
West Ham United: Adrian, O’Brien, Tomkins, Collins, McCartney, Jarvis, Nolan, J Cole, Noble, Diame, C Cole
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Diarra, Taylor, Maiga, Collison, Rat
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud
Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Monreal, Flamini, Gnabry, Bendtner, Podolski
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