West Ham United continue their 2020/21 Premier League season with the visit of Arsenal to London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Hammers welcome the Gunners - their nearest geographical Premier League rivals - for their 29th of 38 top-flight games, knowing a win will keep them in fifth place in the table.
The Irons will be seeking to avenge the 2-1 defeat they suffered at Emirates Stadium back in their second game of the season in September, when Eddie Nketiah's 85th-minute goal denied West Ham a point, despite David Moyes' side creating twice as many goal attempts as their hosts.
Three points would see West Ham draw level on 51 points with fourth-place Chelsea, who are in FA Cup sixth round action this weekend, although the Blues' goal difference is nine goals better than the Hammers' going into the weekend.
Arsenal, meanwhile, go into the weekend in tenth, but a win would take them above Aston Villa into ninth on 44 points, at least until Villa host Tottenham Hotspur later on Sunday evening.
With the country in national lockdown, Sunday's game will be played without supporters present. However, the 3pm kick-off will be screened live in the UK by Sky Sports and across the world by the Premier League's international broadcast partners.
Saint Francis Hospice
Saint Francis Hospice is an independent charity and one of the largest adult hospices in the UK, caring for people with life-limiting illnesses across Essex and East London.
The Hospice is one of West Ham United’s partner charities and relies heavily on donations from the public to enable them to keep on providing the outstanding care and support their patients and their patients’ families deserve.
There are lots of different ways to support, such as, volunteering, making a one-off donation or by playing their weekly Lottery where you could be their next big winner!
West Ham United will be without Arthur Masuaku, who is continuing his recovery after undergoing knee surgery, but Jesse Lingard returns after missing the game against parent club Manchester United.
Angelo Ogbonna is still out with the ankle injury he suffered in an FA Cup defeat at Manchester United in February, as is Andriy Yarmolenko with the knee injury he suffered in the same tie.
Darren Randolph (hip) and Ryan Fredericks (groin) have both been recovering at Rush Green, while Pablo Fornals (groin) is also getting closer to a return.
Arsenal could welcome back England forward Bukayo Saka, who missed Thursday's UEFA Europa League tie with Olympiacos with a thigh injury, but Brazilian winger Willian is set to miss out with a calf problem.
The opposition – Arsenal
Back on 19 September 2020, a late Eddie Nketiah goal secured Arsenal's 2-1 win over West Ham United at Emirates Stadium.
Seven weeks on from beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley and three weeks after defeating Premier League champions Liverpool on penalties to win the FA Community Shield, Arsenal had won their opening two top-flight matches and sat second in the table.
After a challenging 2019/20 season disrupted by the departure of manager Unai Emery and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gunners looked to be firing on all cylinders under former captain and new head coach Mikel Arteta as the current campaign took shape.
Six months on, though, and Arsenal’s barrel appeared to be jammed. Again.
After finishing last season in eighth, the north Londoners are again in mid-table, their hopes of a top-four finish having all but evaporated and with a real battle on their hands to secure European qualification for a 26th consecutive season.
Eliminated from the EFL Cup and FA Cup, Arsenal’s best hope of returning to the UEFA Champions League may lie in the UEFA Europa League, where they overcame the challenge of Greek side Olympiacos to reach the quarter-finals on Thursday evening.
So, what has and is going wrong in the red and white half of north London?
Arsenal still have a number of top-class players, most notably Gabonese forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and promising youngsters, led by England’s Bukayo Saka, but the heady days of Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles and George Graham’s serial trophy winners are disappearing into the distant past.
After shooting too many blanks in recent seasons, in the Premier League at least, it is down to Arteta to get his Gunners firing again.
West Ham United meet Arsenal in the Premier League for the 50th time.
Arsenal have had much the better of the previous 49. The Gunners have won 32 of the 49 to West Ham’s eight victories, with nine draws. The visitors have also scored more than twice as many goals as their hosts, 91 to 35, and kept more than twice as many clean sheets, 23 to eleven.
West Ham do lead in yellow and red cards, though, being shown 93 yellows and six reds to Arsenal’s 71 and three respectively!
Arsenal have won each of the last three Premier League meetings, with West Ham’s last victory coming at London Stadium on 12 January 2019, when Declan Rice’s goal secured a 1-0 win.
The Irons’ best Premier League results against the Gunners were the 2-0 wins achieved at Highbury on 30 April 1994 and at Emirates Stadium on 9 August 2015.
By the numbers
1980 As every West Ham United supporter knows, the Hammers upset Arsenal 1-0 in the 1980 FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium. With 100,000 supporters in attendance, West Ham became the last Second Division side to win the famous trophy after Trevor Brooking headed in the only goal of the game on 13 minutes, defeating the First Division Gunners. West Ham were managed by John Lyall, who had made his playing debut for the Irons against Arsenal in a Southern Floodlit Cup tie in April 1959. For the record, the West Ham team that afternoon was Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, Frank Lampard, Billy Bonds, Alvin Martin, Alan Devonshire, Paul Allen, Stuart Pearson, David Cross, Trevor Brooking and Geoff Pike. Paul Brush was an unused substitute. Future Hammer Liam Brady started for Arsenal.
14 To nobody’s surprise, West Ham United’s all-time record goalscorer Vic Watson has scored more goals against Arsenal than any other Hammer, with 14. Watson netted his 14 goals in just 17 appearances against the Gunners, despite failing to find the net in any of the first five! Included in the 14 was a hat-trick in a 7-0 First Division hammering of the north Londoners at the Boleyn Ground on 7 March 1927.
7-0 That 7-0 win also represents West Ham United’s biggest-ever competitive win over Arsenal. Alongside Watson’s treble, Joseph Johnson and Jimmy Ruffell also found the net, while the Gunners’ Tom Parker and Bob John compounded their own misery by scoring own-goals. Unfortunately, only 11,764 supporters were present at the Boleyn Ground to witness the thrashing.
21 Some 21 players have made their competitive West Ham United debuts in competitive fixtures against Arsenal, including current first-team defender Issa Diop, who did so in a 3-1 Premier League defeat at Emirates Stadium in August 2018. The other 20 were Harry Hodges, John Morton, Ron Cater, Almeric Hall, Ken Bainbridge, Phil Woosnam, John Lyall, Pat Holland, Clyde Best, Bobby Gould, Ray Houghton, Danny Williamson, Les Sealey, Bernard Lama, Gary Breen, Dean Ashton, Jack Collison, Fabio Daprela, Anthony Edgar and Wayne Bridge. Striker Steve Jones, who celebrated his 51st birthday this week, made his second ‘debut’ against the Gunners in a 2-0 Premier League defeat at Highbury in August 1996.
78 Łukasz Fabiański made 78 senior appearances for Arsenal during seven seasons with the north London club between 2007-14. The goalkeeper joined the Gunners from Polish side Legia Warsaw and battling for first-team football with the likes of Jens Lehmann, Manuel Almunia and compatriot Wojciech Szczęsny. His highlight in an Arsenal shirt came in his final appearance, as he helped the Gunners defeat Hull City to win the FA Cup in May 2014.
3 Three players have scored hat-tricks for West Ham United against Arsenal. The aforementioned Vic Watson did so in March 1927, which you can read about elsewhere. Dave Dunmore, who enjoyed a short but prolific spell in Claret and Blue between March 1960 and March 1961, highlighted a run of scoring eleven goals across eight consecutive matches with a treble in a 6-0 First Division win at the Boleyn Ground in November 1960. Andy Carroll (pictured, above) scored the final hat-trick in Boleyn Ground history with all the Hammers’ goals in a 3-3 Premier League draw in April 2016.
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistant Referees: Marc Perry and Daniel Robathan
Fourth Official: Graham Scott
VAR: Martin Atkinson
Assistant VAR: Scott Ledger
Born in Sunderland in 1970, Jonathan Moss won a football scholarship at Central Connecticut State University in the United States but completed his studies with a degree in teaching and physical education at the University of Leeds.
Moss played Academy football for Sunderland and Millwall before opting to become a physical education teacher, teaching future Liverpool and England star James Milner at Westbrook Lane Primary School in Leeds!
Moss’s refereeing career began in the Northern Counties East League and Northern Premier League before he was promoted to the National Group of assistant referees in 2003.
He became a Football League referee in 2005 and a Premier League referee in 2011, before taking charge of the 2015 FA Cup final at Wembley.
The 50-year-old has refereed West Ham United 29 times in total since a 2-1 Championship defeat at Derby County on New Year’s Eve 2011.
His most recent Hammers appointment was the 3-1 Premier League defeat by Liverpool at London Stadium on 31 January this year.