Arsenal match preview

Barclays Premier League
Arsenal v West Ham United
Emirates Stadium
Saturday 31 January
Referee: Steve Bennett


• West Ham United travel to Arsenal for their 12th away match of the 2008/09 Barclays Premier League season.

• The Hammers are unbeaten away from home in seven matches in all competitions - a run stretching back to the 2-0 defeat at Manchester United on 29 October. Since then, West Ham United have drawn at Middlesbrough (1-1), Liverpool (0-0), Chelsea (1-1) and Newcastle United (2-2) and beaten Sunderland (1-0) and Portsmouth (4-1) in the Premier League and Hartlepool United (2-0) in the FA Cup fourth round.

• United have won three away league matches (Fulham, Sunderland and Portsmouth), drawn four (Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle United) and lost four (Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion, Hull City and Manchester United).

• The Hammers go into the match on an unbeaten run of seven matches in all competitions. United have not lost since going down 1-0 at home to Aston Villa in the Premier League on 20 December. Since then, Gianfranco Zola's team have beaten Portsmouth (4-1), Stoke City (2-1), Fulham (3-1) and Hull City (2-0), drawn with Newcastle United (2-2) and knocked Barnsley (3-0) and Hartlepool United (2-0) out of the FA Cup.

• West Ham United manager Gianfranco Zola has a strong squad to choose from. Only Danny Gabbidon and Dean Ashton have been unable to train this week, while Kieron Dyer is continuing his rehabilitation from a calf injury.

• Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed that he may rest players ahead of next Tuesday's FA Cup fourth round replay against Cardiff City at the Emirates Stadium. He said: "I will change things a little bit because we play on Tuesday but this game against West Ham is very important to us. I will make changes but I don't want to disrupt the side too much."

• Zola's side go into the match in eighth place in the Premier League table. A draw would lift the Hammers above Wigan Athletic into seventh position should the Latics fail to win at Aston Villa.

• This is the 104th league meeting between the two sides. Arsenal have won 46, West Ham United have won 27 and there have been 30 draws.


• Steve Bennett is 48 and has been a Premier League referee since 1999. Bennett began refereeing in 1984 before graduating to the Football League in 1995. He was appointed as an official FIFA referee in 2001 before retiring in 2006 at the compulsory age of 45.

• Bennett took charge of the 2005 League Cup final at the Millennium Stadium between Chelsea and Liverpool and the 2007 FA Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United.

• Bennett has officiated in 16 Premier League matches this season, including West Ham United's 4-1 win at Portsmouth on Boxing Day. He was also the man in the middle for Arsenal's 1-0 home win over Wigan Athletic on 6 December.

Last time out

Wednesday 28 January 2009
West Ham United 2-0 Hull City
West Ham United: Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble (Boa Morte 84), Collison (Faubert 71), Cole, Di Michele (Savio 87)
Subs not used: Stech, Tomkins, Sears, Tristan
Booked: None
Goals: Di Michele 33, Cole 51

Wednesday 24 January 2009
Everton 1-1 Arsenal
Almunia, Sagna (Eboue 72), Djourou, Gallas, Clichy, Nasri, Denilson, Song Billong (Bendtner 72), Diaby, Adebayor, Van Persie
Subs not used: Fabianski, Toure, Vela, Ramsey, Gibbs
Booked: Diaby, Nasri
Goals: Van Persie 90

West Ham United

• In-form striker Carlton Cole has scored six goals in his last seven matches in all competitions. Cole has scored in each of his last five Premier League matches, becoming the first Hammer to do so since Tony Cottee in September/October 1985. He is also West Ham United's leading scorer this season with ten goals.

• Cole has also had more shots in total (60), on target (34) and off target (26) than any other West Ham United player. Cole has also contributed five assists - more than any of his team-mates.

• West Ham United's biggest ever top-flight away win over Arsenal came on 14 November 1964. Geoff Hurst, John Byrne and Martin Peters all scored in a 3-0 victory. The Hammers also won 4-1 at an unknown away ground in the London War Cup in April 1942 and 3-0 in League South in October 1944.

• Valon Behrami had won more free-kicks, with 61, than any other player in the Premier League this season before the current weekend round of matches.

• Jack Collison made his West Ham United and Premier League debut as a substitute in the 2-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium on New Year's Day 2008.

• West Ham United became the first away team to win at the Emirates Stadium in a competitive fixture on 7 April 2007, when Bobby Zamora's goal and a man-of-the-match display from Robert Green helped the Hammers to secure a vital 1-0 victory.


• Arsenal are on a nine-match unbeaten run in all competitions. The Gunners have won four and drawn five fixtures in that period, culminating in a 1-1 draw at Everton on Wednesday evening.

• Since losing 3-0 at Manchester City on 22 November, Arsene Wenger's team have gone on a nine-match unbeaten run in the Premier League. During that streak, the Gunners have beaten Chelsea, Wigan Athletic, Portsmouth, Bolton Wanderers and Hull City and drawn with Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Everton.

• Arsenal's biggest ever home win over West Ham United came in the shape of a 6-1 victory on 20 March 1976. Brian Kidd scored a hat-trick for the Gunners, while Alan Ball added a brace and George Armstrong a sixth. Billy Jennings netted the Hammers consolation.

• Robin van Persie, with nine goals, was joint-fifth in the Premier League's top goalscorers list before the weekend. The Dutchman has 13 goals in all competitions this season and is the club's top scorer ahead of Emmanuel Adebayor, who has 12.

• Van Persie has also had more shots in total (69), on target (32) and off target (37) than any of his team-mates. Van Persie has also contributed seven assists.

• Arsenal have had the joint highest number of corners, 168, in the Premier League this season. Liverpool had also had the same number going into this weekend.

• Before the weekend Arsenal had hit the woodwork eleven times this season, more than any other Premier League team.

Team news

• Gianfranco Zola has no fresh injury concerns and could name the same starting lineup in the Premier League for the fourth consecutive match.

• Savio Nsereko, West Ham United's new signing from Italian side Brescia Calcio, made his debut as a late substitute in Wednesday's 2-0 victory over Hull City.

• Mark Noble came off against Hull but has trained since and should be fit to play, if selected.

• Only Dean Ashton (ankle), Danny Gabbidon (stomach) and Kieron Dyer (calf) are not in full training.

• Arsenal will definitely be without French defender Mikael Silvestre, who is sidelined with a thigh injury, along with Cesc Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky and Eduardo although the latter is close to a return.

Last meeting

• The teams met at the Boleyn Ground on Sunday 26 October 2008. An own-goal from Julien Faubert and an Emmanuel Adebayor strike helped Arsenal to a 2-0 victory, while Carlton Cole was sent off late in the game.

• The lineups were:

West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Mullins, Parker (Boa Morte 77), Bowyer (Sears 89), Di Michele (Etherington 78), Bellamy, Cole.
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Davenport, Collison
Sent-off: Cole (90)
Booked: Parker, Faubert

Arsenal: Almunia, Eboue, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy, Walcott (Adebayor 67), Fabregas, Song Billong, Nasri (Diaby 68), Bendtner, Van Persie (Sagna 90).
Subs not used: Fabianski, Toure, Ramsey, Djourou
Booked: Fabregas, Clichy, Song Billong
Goals: Faubert 75 og, Adebayor 90

Old boys

• Matthew Upson joined Arsenal from Luton Town for £2m in May 1997 at the age of 18. Upson made a total of 56 appearances for the Gunners over five-and-a-half seasons before moving to Birmingham City for £1m in January 2003

• Luis Boa Morte was brought to English football from FC Porto in 1997 in a £1.75m deal, making 25 appearances for Arsenal before leaving for Southampton for an initial fee of £500,000 in August 1999.

• Among the players who have represented both clubs are Jeremie Aliadiere, James Bigden, Jimmy Bloomfield, Liam Brady, Dick Curtis, George Burgess, Kaba Diawara, Ted Drake, Stan Earle, Bert Fletcher, Ron Greenwood, Eddie Hapgood, John Hartson, Les Henley, Fergie Hunt, James Jackson, Bernard Joy, Fred Kemp, Tom Lee, Harry Lewis, William Linwood, Fredrik Ljungberg, Roddy MacEachrane, Jimmy Marshall, David Noble, John Radford, Stewart Robson, Charles Satterthwaite, Laurie Scott, Rami Shaaban, Bill Sidley, Bob Stevenson, Davor Suker, Charlie Walker, Nigel Winterburn, Ian Wright and Richard Wright.

Head to head

Last six meetings

26 October 2008 West Ham United 0-2 Arsenal
1 January 2008 Arsenal 2-0 West Ham United
29 September 2007 West Ham United 0-1 Arsenal
7 April 2007 Arsenal 0-1 West Ham United
5 November 2006 West Ham United 1-0 Arsenal
1 February 2006 Arsenal 2-3 West Ham United

Overall record v Arsenal (all competitions) W 33 D 36 L 50

Next up

• West Ham United will host Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground on Sunday 8 February, kick-off 4pm

• Arsenal will host Cardiff City in an FA Cup fourth round replay at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday evening, kick-off 7.45pm

Travel news

• There are a number of line closures on the London Underground that could affect supporters' journeys to the Emirates Stadium.

• The Circle Line will be suspended between King's Cross and Moorgate via Farringdon.

• The Metropolitan Line will be suspended between Baker Street and Aldgate.

• The Hammersmith and City line will be suspended between Edgware Road and Barking.

• The District Line will be suspended between Upminster and Dagenham East. A replacement bus service will be in operation.

• Minor re-timings will be in operation on c2c services between Upminster and Barking. See for more details.