LONDON (Sporting Alert) — Arsenal will again be without midfielder Jack Wilshere for the Boxing Day English Premier League fixture against West Ham. Live stream will be on NBC Sports and talkSports.com.
BOXING DAY EPL GAMES
Hull v Manchester United (7:00pm)
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace (10pm)
Cardiff v Southampton (10pm)
Chelsea v Swansea (10pm)
Everton v Sunderland (10pm)
Newcastle v Stoke (10pm)
Norwich v Fulham (10pm)
Tottenham v West Brom (10pm)
West Ham v Arsenal (10pm)
Manchester City v Liverpool (12:30pm)
The England international will serve the second of his two-match ban so he will again miss out, as Arsenal, which was held to a 0-0 draw by Chelsea on Monday night, look to go back on top of the EPL standings.
Centre back Laurent Koscielny, who missed the Chelsea game with a knee problem, could return to the starting side, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Abou Diaby (both knee) and Yaya Sanogo (back) are all definitely out.
Midfielder Mathieu Flamini could start this game as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger look to make a few changes and the Frenchman believes this is a vital period for the Gunners.
“Everybody knows in December and January playing so many games means [your position] in the Premier League plays a big part,” Flamini told Arsenal.com “Of course it will be important to stay focused, to concentrate and make sure we go through this period as good as possible.
“You know over Christmas, that [playing on] Boxing Day is very important, it’s part of the tradition here so of course we’ll be playing.”
West Ham were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United in their last EPL fixture, but manager Sam Allardyce believes his side can bounce back at Boleyn Ground.
“It’s a difficult test for us now and it’s going to be a long haul in terms of digging ourselves out of this position,” Allardyce said.
“We just have to make sure that we don’t make the types of error that we made in the first half on Saturday.
“We have to be more consistent in our performances and certainly we’ve got to find more goals.”
Kevin Nolan is back from a three-match suspension, following his sending-off against Liverpool, but a number of players continue to be missing.
West Ham reports that Winston Reid, Stewart Downing (both ankle), Andy Carroll (foot), Ricardo Vaz Te, Stephen Henderson (both shoulder) and Mladen Petric (calf) will all watch from the sidelines because of injuries.
Allardyce will also need to decide on whether to keep Adrian in goal or recall Jussi Jaaskelainen, who started the last two games on the bench.
Last season: Arsenal 5 West Ham 1, West Ham 1 Arsenal 3
Last five league matches: West Ham W L L D L; Arsenal W W D L D
Top scorers: Ravel Morrison (West Ham) 5; Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) 13
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).
Arsenal (from): Fabianski, Szczesny, Viviano, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Sagna, Vermaelen, Flamini, Arteta, Cazorla, Eisfeld, Flamini, Frimpong, Gnabry, Miyaichi, Ozil, Ramsey, Rosicky, Zelalem, Bendtner, Giroud, Park, Podolski, Walcott.
West Ham (from): Adrian, Henderson, Jaaskelainen, Collins, Demel, McCartney, O’Brien, Rat, Tomkins, J Cole, Collison, Diame, Diarra, Jarvis, Morrison, Noble, Nolan, Taylor, C Cole, Lee, Maiga.