In the seventeenth round of matches of the 2017/2018 Premier League campaign, David Moyes’ Hammers entertain Arsene Wenger’s Gunners in a classic London Derby, one that is set to be as intriguing as they come.
The Irons head into the clash off the back of a first win since September on Saturday lunchtime over reigning Champions Chelsea, while The North Londoners didn’t fare so well at the weekend, drawing away at Southampton, balancing the scales evenly for a night to remember in East London.
The encounter will take place tonight (Wednesday 13 December 2017) with a kick-off time of 8 PM and live Television Coverage being provided by BT Sport in The United Kingdom.
If you don’t have access to a TV tonight, you can tune in to live Radio Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, alternatively, stay right where you are for our Live Blog, featuring exclusive build-up, live text commentary and reaction from The Press Box, starting at 5:30 PM this evening.
The visit of Wenger’s side will take place at the club’s London Stadium, with a capacity of 57,000 and the option to go high into the 70,000’s it is one of the most spectacular arenas in English football.
Originally opening in 2012 for the London Olympics, the Ground’s footballing existence has been somewhat marred by violence and crowd unrest, not to mention supporter’s attitudes towards it.
This was catalysed early in this season when the first-team stars, then under Slaven Bilic, were forced to play the first four games of the season away from home due to Stratford hosting The World Athletics Championships.
But, The Stadium is slowly starting to feel more like home for The Claret & Blue Army, and tonight will be the second time that The Gunners have visited Stratford, leaving as the 1-5 victors last time out thanks to goals from Mesut Ozil, an Alexis Sanchez hat-trick and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, making a late Andy Carroll header just a consolation.
Hammers Boss Moyes confirmed in his Pre-Arsenal Press Conference, which MooreThanJustAClub were lucky enough to attend, that midfielders Cheikhou Kouyate and Edimilson Fernandes (hamstring and ankle) and defender James Collins (ankle) are sidelined with injury.
Meanwhile, forwards Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez are raring to go after returning to the bench at the weekend, long-termers Jose Fonte and Sam Byram are still out (foot and hamstring), while Moyes is expected to name an unchanged starting Xl.
Meanwhile, the man in charge of The Gunners Wenger revealed, in his own Presser, that key midfielder Aaron Ramsey is a doubt after sustaining a knock on Sunday afternoon.
Defender Shkodran Mustafi is also out of action with a problem in his thigh, as birthday boy Santi Cazorla is the only other absentee, having not played a game in Arsenal colours for over a year.
The teams of West Ham United and Arsenal have met a staggering 135 times in Competition Football, a London rivalry that dates back to the very beginning of the 20th century.
Tonight’s visitors have the clear edge on the overall record, emerging victorious in 63 of those fixtures and only losing 34 of those along the way, the points have been split on 38 occasions.
The last time that these two sides met came in April of this year at The Emirates, where the hosts triumphed, as they have done in 12 of the last 14 clashes, via strikes from Ozil, Theo Walcott and French striker Olivier Giroud.
Notable past encounters include, the memorable 1980 FA Cup Final, where The Irons lifted the Trophy thanks to a Trevor Brooking header, or a win by the same scoreline in 2007, that ensured Alan Curbishley’s men were the first team to win at The Emirates Stadium, and who could forget the incredible 3-3 draw at Upton Park in spring 2016?
Arsenal Football Club was founded in 1886 as Dial Square and then Woolwich Arsenal and since then has gone on to become one of the most recognisable teams in English Football history.
They are the winners of as many as 13 FA Cups, two League Cups and a single UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, but most impressively of all, Arsenal have lifted 13 English Top-Flight titles, their most famous one coming during the 2003/2004 campaign, when they went unbeaten for the whole season.
Club record holders include French Legend Thierry Henry who has scored the most goals, Icons such as Tony Adams and David Seaman rank very highly in the most appearances chart, while players like Dennis Bergkamp and gave Patrick Vieira them their distinctive style.
Nowadays, under the Premier League’s current longest serving Manager in Wenger, who is now into his 21st season in charge, The North Londoners sit fifth in the Division, having missed out on the top four for the first time under the Frenchman in 2016/2017.
Who Is Officiating?
Experienced Select Group Referee Jonathan Moss will be the man in the middle tonight, with Eddie Smart and Harry Lennard acting as his Assistants and Craig Pawson taking up the role of Fourth Official.
So, with The London Stadium scene well and truly set for an electric evening under the lights, can Moyes’ boys topple another local opposition to move out of the bottom three?
Or, will the visitors reign supreme on the road to get their unsavoury season back on track? Think you know? Head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your last-minute score prediction, have your say and join the Pre-match discussion.