Everton and Watford have been chalked off emphatically as Arsenal continue to chase a highly unlikely title victory.
Next up is a visit to Slaven Bilic’s Hammers.
Seeing as West Ham were the last team to beat us at Highbury and the first to win at The Emirates – to beat them the last time we play at The Boleyn Ground would be particularly sweet. First things first though –
How do you keep a leash on Dmitri Payet?
The Frenchman’s wonderful free-kick which defied the laws of gravity was simply another instance where he showed his value.
Thankfully, we have Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny on the case in the centre of the park, and both have been in fine form of late.
This game comes too soon for the return of Aaron Ramsey & Mathieu Flamini – who have both recovered sufficiently that they will be included in the Matchday squad. Santi, Wilshere and Rosicky continue their comebacks, with Jack and Tomas featuring for the Under21 side last night.
Cheikhou Kouyate had the red card he was given last week rescinded, so he will come straight back into the side.
Bilic has no injury worries, but much like Arsenal, his side are painfully aware that the slightest slip up will end their respective dreams.
Alexis Sanchez is showing a semblance of form recently, and after revealing he was playing in fear of getting injured again – it appears the shackles are now off. With young Nigerian Alex Iwobi grabbing the last two ‘Man of the Match’ awards, Arsenal are flying in attack.
Throw a fizzing Danny Welbeck and an Özil who is capable of changing a game with a mere flick – and you have a Gunners side finally showing Gooners what they thought would be the norm.
Has it come too late though?
Eleven points is the gap, albeit with a game in hand. All games played must be won, and the margin for error is nil.
This visit to West Ham is perhaps the toughest remaining fixture Arsenal have to contend with, if you take into consideration that the Hammers haven’t lost at Upton Park since their opening two home games.
Olivier Giroud has a particularly good record against West Ham, but if he is to have any impact, then he will do it from the bench more than likely.
Arsenal will need a plan B, and a Giroud sub may be the ticket. Win this game – and as it is the early kickoff – we can sit back and hopefully watch the demise of our rivals.