On Boxing Day, Arsenal will take on West Ham in an effort to hold onto their five-point advantage atop the Premier League standings.
The Gunners will be comfortably in the lead when the season resumes following the World Cup break, while West Ham are only one point above the bottom half of the rankings.
The Premier League leaders haven't wowed us with their majesty since mid-November because of the odd winter World Cup.
Fans got a taste of Arteta-ball at a warm-weather training camp in Dubai, however, as Arsenal won the Dubai Super Cup.
The Gunners exceeded all expectations in the first half of the season, leading the league by five points as the season came to a close.
Even though this youthful, talented club has only dropped two league games thus far, the path ahead will not be easy.
West Ham visits the Emirates on Boxing Day after having a rough start to 2022/23. After losing their final three games before the break, the 2017-18 Europa League semifinalist team is presently ranked 16th.
The Gunners want to keep their five-point advantage over the competition at the top of the Premier League standings.
For the first time in 15 years, Arsenal leads the Premier League going into the Boxing Day games after only one loss during the entire season.
Manager David Moyes will be under more pressure if the Hammers struggle when they return, and Monday night will be a big test.
The match preview for Boxing Day is provided below.
Team News for Arsenal vs. West Ham Arsenal
Gabriel Jesus underwent surgery for a World Cup knee injury that would likely keep him out until February.
Despite the likelihood of Emile Smith-Rowe's return in the near future, this game will come too soon for him.
Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Albert Sambi Lokonga will probably need to be assessed prior to this game because they were unable to take part in Arsenal's final friendlies during the World Cup break.
Reiss Nelson sustained a leg injury in that game and will be out for a few weeks.
William Saliba is still qualified to make his debut despite playing for the France squad that reached the World Cup Final.
The West Ham United
Alphonse Areola and Nayef Aguerd are most likely unable to participate in this game because they were members of World Cup squads that lost in the second round—Morocco and France, respectively.
Due to knee surgery he underwent at the end of November, Kurt Zouma will be unable to participate in this game.
After experiencing a setback in his calf injury recovery, Maxwel Cornet is still out.
Gianluca Scamacca could miss this one after leaving the friendly match against Fulham due to an ankle injury.
Since they didn't participate at all in that contest, Michael Antonio and Aaron Cresswell will need to be assessed before this one.
There have been 42 games between Arsenal and West Ham thus far. Of these games, Arsenal won 28 of them. Six games were won by West Ham. Eight draws were made. Both teams averaged 2.86 goals per game in a string of games.
The actual season saw an average of 2.31 goals scored per game for Arsenal. 13 of the 13 home games (86.67%) saw over 1.5 goals scored (by the team and the opponent). In 12 (80.00%) of the home games for the 2022 season, both sides scored more than 2.5 goals.
West Ham vs. Arsenal potential lineups
White, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Saka, Nketiah, and Martinelli are Arsenal's other key players.
Fabianski, Kehrer, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Fornals, Paqueta, Benrahma, and Bowen are the West Ham players.
West Ham has dropped four of their last five league games in addition to dropping five of their previous seven away games. This is not promising for the upcoming London derby.
Losing Gabriel Jesus will be a major setback for Arsenal, especially given how busy the next two weeks are likely to be with games. But they should have enough talent to win this match.
Despite having some fitness issues going into this game, Arsenal remains the overwhelming favorite for a reason, so they could win at odds of 1/2 (1.50).
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