League-leading Arsenal host London rivals West Ham United in the Premier League on Boxing Day.
The Gunners return to Premier League action with a five-point cushion at the table’s summit. West Ham find themselves at the other end of the standings, just one point above the dreaded dotted line after losing four of their final five Premier League matches before Christmas.
Here’s everything you need to know about this capital clash.
Gabriel Jesus only started one game in Qatar but it ended early and painfully. The Brazilian had to undergo surgery on his knee and isn’t expected back until late February.
Reiss Nelson is a less totemic figure in this Arsenal squad but also fell foul of a serious fitness issue during the winter break, departing just 20 minutes into the club’s friendly against Juventus.
Emile Smith Rowe (groin) is nearing a return to training while Oleksandr Zinchenko (muscular) and Takehiro Tomiyasu (hamstring) are also “progressing well” according to Mikel Arteta. Albert Sambi Lokonga is a doubt with a foot problem.
Arteta revealed that Arsenal’s World Cup quarter-finalists, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli will “come back straight away into the rhythm, shape and mould of the team”. William Saliba – who reached the final with France – may not be called upon this Monday.
Arsenal Starting 11 (4-3-3): Ramsdale; White, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.
Bench: Turner, Hein, Marquinhos, Elneny, Cedric, Tomiyasu, Zinchenko, Smith Rowe, Nwaneri.
Nayef Aguerd was part of the Morocco backline which not only impressed at the World Cup but also got injured. Doubts linger over Aaron Cresswell and Maxwel Cornet but David Moyes was keen to stress that their problems were minor.
Kurt Zouma’s knee injury was far more serious as the French centre-back was forced to undergo surgery in late November.
Gianluca Scamacca rolled his ankle in a friendly with Fulham nine days before the trip to north London while Michail Antonio is also a doubt with a thigh issue.
West Ham Starting 11 (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Fornals, Paqueta, Benrahma; Bowen.
Bench: Randolph, Johnson, Downes, Coventry, Emerson, Cornet, Potts, Kehrer, Lanzini.
- Prediction: I go for Arsenal (3-1)