Following Thursday evening’s UEFA Europa League defeat to Greek giants Olympiacos, Arsenal will be looking to get back to winning ways when they travel to the London Stadium to lock horns with West Ham United on Sunday afternoon.
The Gunners, who defeated the Hammers 2-1 in the reverse fixture back in September, were undone by Youssef El-Arabi’s second half strike, sealing a 1-0 win for the Greek side.
However, it was not enough to stop Arsenal from progressing to the last-eight of the competition, as they had won the first leg in Athens 3-1, meaning they won the tie 3-2 on aggregate.
But before the Gunners can begin to think about next month’s Europa League quarter-final with Slavia Prague, they have the challenge of continuing to try and climb the Premier League table. Mikel Arteta’s side head into Sunday’s clash with the Hammers in tenth place, knowing that a win would move them above Aston Villa and into ninth, certainly for a few hours at least.
However, Arsenal’s players and Arteta will know only too well that the prospect of that happening will not come easily, as they face a West Ham side who could move level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea if they seal a win of their own.
With that said, Arteta has been putting his players through their paces at their London Colney training ground ahead of the short hop across the capital.
But what did we notice from the session that took place on Saturday? Here are four things football.london spotted.
Brazilian winger Willian could be set for a return to action against David Moyes’ Hammers after missing the defeat to Olympiacos with a tight calf problem.
The former Chelsea man, who has found form in recent weeks, was a notable absentee against the Greek club, as his pace and trickery that have come to the fore in recent weeks was desperately missed.
Although Arsenal have confirmed that he will be assessed ahead of kick-off on Sunday afternoon, the indications appear promising after he was spotted to have taken part in training on Saturday.
The winger was pictured with the ball at his feet alongside team-mate Martin Odegaard, suggesting that he could be in line to make a return.
Should he win his respective fitness battle and be named in the squad, it would be a huge boost for Arteta, who has also been handed another boost with the news that Bukayo Saka, who also missed the defeat to Olympiacos, is available to face the Hammers.
Nketiah feels the cold
Despite temperatures in England being on the up, Eddie Nketiah still emerged from the changing rooms as though he was about to wade his way through six feet of snow.
The former Leeds United loanee, who has scored five goals in all competition this season, walked out onto the training pitch donning a snood and gloves.
Considering temperatures are rising, albeit slowly, Nketiah must have been feeling the cold to take such extreme measures.
In contrast, probably unsurprisingly to everybody, Kieran Tierney emerged from the changing rooms in his usual attire of just a T-shirt and his shorts, refusing to wear a jumper, hat and gloves.
Tierney has been the odd one out in that case on many occasions in recent weeks, being the only member of the squad to not have at least worn a jumper.
Arteta gets stuck in
Ask any manager who was a former player if they want to get stuck in and nine times out of ten they will probably say yes.
On Saturday, Arteta, who has seen his Gunners side win three of their last five Premier League matches, did exactly that, joining in with the session with his players.
The Gunners’ club photographer was on hand to snap the moment, picturing Arteta trying to rob Calum Chambers of possession.
Both were laughing and smiling as the moment unfolded, suggesting that it was a moment playful banter between the pair.
It remains to be seen who came out on top in that particular battle.
Attacking stars in good spirits
Despite being beaten by Olympiacos in midweek, Arsenal’s players have a valid reason to be in confident spirits right now. The Gunners have lost just one of their last five Premier League matches and are no doubt still buoyant from the win over arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
With that in mind, they have every right to be arriving at work every day with smiles on their faces.
And it seems that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are enjoying themselves more than most.
The pair were pictured laughing amongst themselves and donning huge smiles, suggesting they are in upbeat moods ahead of the trip to the London Stadium.
Aubameyang was dropped against Spurs last weekend because of disciplinary issues, but it seems that has now been put to bed and he is focused on the task in hand.