Here are eight things you should know about both West Ham and Arsenal before this afternoon’s kick off at Upton Park:
1. A consolation goal from Carlton Cole could not gloss over a disappointing afternoon at Old Trafford last Saturday for West Ham, who were condemned to a 3-1 defeat which leaves them perilously close to the relegation zone.
2. Sam Allardyce must do everything in his power to retain the services of Mohamed Diame in the upcoming transfer windows, the powerful Senegalese international establishing himself as one of the most effective defensive players in the league. Diame has the best tackles success rate of any player in the top 30 for total tackles attempted this season, winning a superb 87.9% of his 58 tackles according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
3. Mark Noble has continued in his role as the most influential member of the West Ham midfield this season, compiling more passes in the opponent’s half than any other Hammers player. He’s racked up 487 this season, a full 215 ahead of his nearest team-mate (Ravel Morrison – 272).
4. Guy Demel has most certainly lived up to his reputation as an imposing defensive force since arriving at West Ham from Hamburg. This season he has continued to build on this, establishing the best tackle success rate of any West Ham player. He’s won 92% of his 25 attempted challenges this term.
5. Arsenal were frustrated by Chelsea at a torrential Emirates on Monday night, Arsene Wenger’s side only managing to claim a point after a 0-0 draw which sees them move second in the league behind Liverpool on goal difference.
6. Aaron Ramsey and the rest of the Arsenal midfield may not have been at their best on Monday night, but the Welshman remains one of the most effective attackers in the league this season. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Ramsey has had 21 on-target attempts on goal this season, placing him third in the league, giving him an overall shot accuracy rate of 70%. Ramsey is 5/2 with 888sport.com to score at any time.
7. Despite his recent absence from the team due to the form of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen has remained a firm favourite with Arsenal fans and has by all accounts been a true professional whilst coping with his lack of playing time. He was certainly keen to take his chance in battling conditions against Chelsea on Monday though, compiling the highest number of defensive contributions (blocks, interceptions, clearances, tackles won) of any player in the league in the last round with 20.
8. Arsenal fans will have been glad to see Theo Walcott last the full 90 minutes against Chelsea following his return from stomach surgery. The pacey forward had already turned in some impressive performances prior to his injury, and both he and the fans will be hoping he can add to his total of 16 attempts on goal this season (68.8% accuracy rate).