Arsenal are facing a very tough test tomorrow as we travel to face an in form and high flying West Ham. Sam Allardyce has really got his players working as a solid team this season and their place above the Gunners in the Premier League table is no fluke.
Having said that, an Arsenal win will take us above them into fourth place, or even third if Chelsea beat Southampton. But despite the fact that West Ham lost their last game, against Jose Mourinho’s side on Boxing day, they will still be fairly confident against Arsenal and we will have to be at our best.
West Ham are especially strong at home, where they have not lost a league game since the end of August. They have also beaten the reigning champions Man City and Liverpool in that time. So the players need to be ready for action and Arsene Wenger needs to get his tactics right. And one of those tactics is how best to exploit the fact that West Ham will be missing one of their key defenders.
As Carl Jenkinson is on loan from Arsenal, he cannot play against us and he has been their first choice right back. His replacement is likely to be Joey O’Brien, who has started just three games all season, so that should be a weak link in their defence which we must try to exploit.
One way of doing that would be to play Alexis Sanchez on the left of our attack to pile the pressure on O’Brien, but the red card shown to Olivier Giroud may mean that Welbeck goes into the middle and Podolski comes into the starting line-up. If that is the case then Wenger needs to tell Kieran Gibbs and Santi Cazorla to help the German out in attack as much as possible. We must get at the right back as much as possible because that could be where we win the game and with a trip to Southampton to follow on new years day, Arsenal badly need the points and the confidence.