West Ham – Arsenal Preview: Allardyce confident against Giroud-less Gunners

The Hammers have already beaten Liverpool and Manchester City at home and their manager sees no reason why he cannot claim bragging right over another Premier League heavyweight

Sam Allardyce is confident West Ham can continue their purple patch at Upton Park when Arsenal visit in the Premier League on Sunday.

The London club have won six of their last seven home games in the league, including victories over Liverpool and Manchester City.

One of the Premier League’s biggest surprise packages this term, Boxing Day’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea leaves West Ham fifth in the table.

Allardyce opted to use key duo Alex Song and Diafra Sakho off the bench at Stamford Bridge, presumably with one eye on this weekend’s fixture.

And ahead of the visit of Arsenal, Allardyce stated his desire to pick a full-strength line-up with Arsene Wenger’s side just a point and a place behind West Ham.

Arsenal have won the last eight meetings between the sides, but Allardyce claims his men will be motivated by another visit from one of the league’s “big boys”.

“We’ll try to pick the strongest team possible to start the game, then the subs will play their part as the game goes on, with two games in a short period of time,” he told the club’s official website.

“I want us to play like we did against Leicester and all the other teams we’ve faced at home, or more like we played against Manchester City and Liverpool when they came to our place.

“It is one of the big boys who are visiting us and we should all look forward to the game based on how well we’ve played at home in the last seven games.

“Let’s go out there and try and beat Arsenal and make sure we don’t lose two games on the trot, which is something we haven’t done this season.”

James Tomkins could return from a hamstring problem although the on-loan Carl Jenkinson will not be eligible to play against his parent club.

Wenger has doubts over Laurent Koscielny (hamstring) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) but will definitely be without suspended striker Olivier Giroud.

An altercation with Nedum Onouha during Friday’s 2-1 win over QPR saw Giroud dismissed on what was an otherwise positive outing for Arsenal.

Wenger’s men have taken seven points from their last nine going into potentially crucial clashes with West Ham and fourth-placed Southampton in the race for a Champions League place.

However, Wenger explained: “I don’t give importance to the table at the moment.

“There’s 20 games to go. It’s very tight and it’s down to consistency now. We know every game now is down to consistency and reproducing the performances.

“We need to prepare quickly, focus quickly and that is an ability we want to show at West Ham.”

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