Can the Premier League leaders stay atop the table in the second period of the season? We could find out more over the coming weeks as Arsenal resume their title challenge without Gabriel Jesus, the transformative No.9 who brought the best out of them as they surged up the standings.
West Ham have found it tough on their travels to northern London, lost 11 of their last 12 league trips to the Emirates Stadium, and David Moyes’ side will need to start scrambling up the table quickly. They currently sit 16th in the table, just a point off the relegation zone. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
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- Date: Monday, Dec. 26 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Emirates Stadium, London
- TV/Live stream: Peacock Premium
- Odds: Arsenal -200; Draw +320; West Ham +550 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Arsenal vs. West Ham United
Arsenal: The fundamental question for Arsenal on Boxing Day, but also in the weeks to follow, is how profoundly the absence of Jesus will be felt. It is not so much that they need his goals, his tally of five in all competitions was matched by Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, and bettered by Martin Odegaard, but so much of their success was based on the versatility, off ball work and selflessness of their Brazilian No.9.
Eddie Nketiah has worked to develop those skills, but he is more of a poacher. Behind him Arsenal will be waiting on the return of Emile Smith Rowe, who is not expected to recover in time for Monday’s game as he steps up his recovery from groin surgery.
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West Ham: The table makes for grim reading at the London Stadium but they have not become a bad team overnight, indeed according to Opta data they have the seventh best expected goals difference in the Premier League. That is the mark of a team who could compete for European qualification and that is exactly what Moyes is targeting.
“I think I’m in a European battle to try and get back into Europe, like we’ve done in the last two years,” Moyes told talkSPORT. “I think that we’ve not been that far away in any of our results, and it sounds a long way away and it probably sounds far-fetched at the moment. But I genuinely think we’re not that far away and expect us to get closer to the top than I do the bottom.”
In the absence of their star striker Arsenal might well struggle for goals against the Hammers but their defense is strong and they should get the job done. PICK: Arsenal 1, West Ham 0