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West Ham V Arsenal at Boleyn Ground : Match Preview

Updated 24 Dec 2013 21:59:46

West Ham V Arsenal at Boleyn Ground : Match Preview

West Ham V Arsenal - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Gyan is on Hammers radar

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has confirmed the club have made tentative enquiries into the possibility of signing striker Asamoah Gyan in the January transfer window.


The relegation-threatened Hammers are short of attacking options due to Andy Carroll's long-term injury-enforced absence and Allardyce has said he will look for "one or two" additions in the new year.


Representatives of Gyan, who left Sunderland in 2012 to join Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, have hinted the east Londoners are keen on taking the Ghana international to Upton Park on loan.


And Allardyce has admitted he is a player on the radar.


"We'll be linked with anybody that's a centre forward that might be coming back into this country," said Allardyce.


"So if there's a player of any sort of quality we try and find out what the situation might be, but it is nothing more than that."


Asked if would not rule out a move but could not confirm an approach, Allardyce said: "Absolutely."


Captain Kevin Nolan will return after suspension for West Ham's home clash with Arsenal.


And Allardyce said his pivotal leader must now start weighing in with goals.


He said: "We've left ourselves with a massive programme by Christmas, and going into New Year with Premier League games, FA Cup games, a semi-final in the Capital One Cup, so we're going to be using the squad to its full extent.


"So the quicker I can get players back fit in January and find one or two additions as well, the better it will be for us.


"The most important thing we miss with Kevin is his goals, he's only scored one.


"We have to accept the criticism, take it on the chin and focus on how well we know we can play, and try to get back to the same level of performance - but when you're in command of a game, make sure you put the ball in the back of the net.


"Otherwise you end up where we are.


"We are where we are for one reason, because we haven't scored enough goals."


Allardyce has challenged his West Ham side to copy Chelsea, who shackled Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Monday, holding Arsene Wenger's men to a 0-0 draw.


He said: "The fact Arsenal went an entire 90 minutes at home and only sneaked one shot on target I think shows you how well Chelsea defended all night, but maybe the weather had something to do with that.


"It's something we could do with doing against them on Boxing Day, blocking them out like Chelsea did and seeing what we can get from there."


Defender James Tomkins remains central to Allardyce's Christmas plans, despite his arrest on Sunday.


The 24-year-old was charged with one count of assaulting a police officer, one count of resisting arrest and one count of being drunk and disorderly in a public place after an incident outside the Sugar Hut Village nightclub in Brentwood.


Allardyce said: "He's a footballer we need and is a big player for West Ham, he's West Ham born and bred."


Jack Wilshere has revealed he stuck his middle finger up at a group of Manchester City fans because they abused him about his children.


The Football Association handed Wilshere a two-match for the gesture, which came during the second half of the Gunners' 6-3 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.


The England midfielder missed Monday's 0-0 draw against Chelsea and he will also sit out the Boxing Day clash at West Ham.


Wilshere, who has two children, admits he made a mistake in getting riled by the supporters who abused him, and he is braced for more barracking from the stands in the future.


Wilshere tweeted: "Gutted not to be Involved last night! Shouldn't of reacted the way I did but I know all you dads out there love your kids the way I do....


"Suppose I will just have to take the abuse about my kids in future......anyway, one more game to go! Can't wait to be back! #AFC"


Arsenal missed Wilshere on Monday evening.


The north London club looked flat and lacked a cutting edge against a well-drilled Chelsea team who sat back and showed little attacking intent.


The football on show was dull for large parts, and the main talking points from the match centred on refereeing decisions and late sliding tackles.


John Obi Mikel and Ramires were lucky to stay on the field after committing rash fouls on Mikel Arteta while Branislav Ivanovic and Mesut Ozil clashed after the former raised his studs perilously close to the German's face.


Theo Walcott was denied a penalty when he was tripped in the box by Willian - something which caused the Arsenal winger to run over and plead loudly to referee Mike Dean.


Walcott was happy to take a point from the game, especially as the blustery conditions in north London were extremely tough to play in.


"When you want to win titles, these are the games you can't lose," Walcott said. "Chelsea came with a negative attitude, but they did a job.


"We couldn't deal with the weather conditions, it was probably the craziest game I have ever been involved in.


"Considering the conditions I'm surprised everyone stayed on the pitch.


"It was the wind, I have never known anything like it. It was very difficult to judge everything. I could tell that both sets of players were struggling to get hold of the ball and slow the tempo down."


Although Arsenal missed the chance to move back to the top of the Premier League, Walcott feels the team stand a good chance of reaching the summit again soon.


He added: "It's so close, you can't really call it this year and it will go right down to the wire. We just have to make sure we win our next few games now.


"It will be a very good point come the end of this Christmas period."


Arsenal are braced for another intense physical clash against West Ham.


The Hammers have only beaten their neighbours at Upton Park once in the last 14 years.


But with West Ham just one point above the relegation zone, Walcott knows the east Londoners will not be easy opposition.


"It's going to be a good battle," the 24-year-old said.


"They had a good result against Tottenham in the Capital One Cup, we have to make sure we're ready.


"We'll make sure we recover well. In this period we can't train as much, so we have to make sure we sleep, recover and drink well."


Arsene Wenger will rotate his team for the London derby, but he is reluctant to throw Lukas Podolski back in to the starting XI given that the striker has been out for the last four months because of a torn hamstring.


"Podolski has not played a game at all since the second game of the season," the Arsenal manager said.


"He lacks a bit of competitiveness. He can only find that if I play him. But he has just two weeks' training.


"I have to make that decision whether I use him or not."



PA

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