The view of the opposition: Arsenal v West Ham (EFL Cup)
We provide analysis and best bets as the Hammers head to the Emirates with a place in the last four up for grabs.
Both Arsenal and West Ham come into their EFL Cup quarter-final on the back of three-game unbeaten runs in the league.
Yet having accumulated two more points during that time than their hosts, it is the Hammers who are arguably in the better form of the two.
Of course, a busy festive schedule means both sides are likely to rotate their squads.
But West Ham – who have now kept three consecutive clean sheets, including one against a full-strength Arsenal side just last week – have good reason to feel confident of continuing their recent defensive solidity at the Emirates.
An unconvincing 1-0 win at home to Newcastle last weekend means that the Gunners have now not scored more than a single goal in any of their last four league games, while their fringe players have been far from prolific when called upon.
Arsenal’s second string managed just one goal in three Europa League matches before battering BATE Borisov in their final group game, and could only score once in 90 minutes against both Doncaster and Norwich in getting to this stage of the EFL Cup.
Keep it tight, and the Hammers have every chance of earning a result against a side who have been on the end of a few upsets in this competition during recent years.
Arsenal have not reached the semi-finals since West Ham last did so in 2010/11, getting eliminated at home in four of the six seasons since and losing to lower-league opposition in Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford City in the other two.
Injury and suspension have limited David Moyes’ options slightly, though he is now able to could call upon Andy Carroll, who returned to training this week after recovering from a back injury.
The big centre-forward has scored the Hammers’ last four goals against the Gunners, including a memorable hat-trick in their last season at the Boleyn, and should have little problem imposing himself against a lightweight defence featuring younger faces and those out of favour.
Arsenal under 1.5 goals –
West Ham double chance –
Andy Carroll to score at any time –