A midweek respite for Alexis Sanchez will do the Chilean a world of good after heroics for club and country in recent weeks. Assuming Arsene Wenger rests his star man for the EFL Cup clash with Southampton, he should be relatively refreshed. As he so often does, Sanchez came up with the goods for the Gunners last weekend when they saw off a spirited Bournemouth side.
Two goals from him and another from Theo Walcott contributed to a 3-1 victory and meant that Arsenal stayed alongside the leading back. Three points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, they can overtake potentially close the gap at the top if the Blues slip up during their visit to the Etihad. If Antonio Conte’s guides his side to an eighth successive win, Arsenal can leapfrog Manchester City. That’s assuming West Ham don’t go and scupper their plans.
The Hammers were unkind to Arsene Wenger last season. First, they ambushed him on the opening day, clanking him on the head at the top of the stairs. He proceeded to moonwalk fall down the stairs like the private detective in Psycho. It turns out Slaven Bilic was mother all along. Three goals at Upton Park (let’s us all reminisce about Upton Park) weren’t enough to exact revenge as Andy Carroll bagged a hat-trick after falling off the treatment table.
Bring him to Euro 2016, they chanted. We didn’t listen. We didn’t listen.
Walcott picked up a knock on Sunday but should be available to play. Lucas Perez is rumoured to be coming back from injury in midweek. This game is likely to come too soon for Hector Bellerin, the Spanish right-back expected to recover from injury faster than originally thought.
West Ham XI: Randolph, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Payet, Noble, Kouyaté, Feghouli, Obiang, Ayew, Carroll
Arsenal XI: Cech, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mustafi, Gibbs, Elneny, Xhaka, Ozil, Alexis, Walcott, Giroud