A few would have predicted that the last round of the first phase, where West Ham and Arsenal face each other, wouldn’t be interested just because of the character of a local derby, but also for fighting for the place that leads to Champions League. After being maybe just a lost game away from sacking, Sam Allardyce have put together a squad capable of not just playing efficient and attractive football, which was the main problem with his insecure place at Boleyn Ground, but the squad which can go for a victory in almost every game.
The reality is that West Ham could finish the first half of the season above Arsenal if they manage to stay undefeated at Sunday, since they are a point and a place above their much more successful neighbors. The last round’s match, against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, finally brought a game in which West Ham was evidently outplayed after a long period of time.
Arsenal, or Arsene Wenger, to be more precise, is not having the best of his times. Despite once more being a dark-horse candidate for the title, they’ll have to satisfy with a fighting for the CL place – once more. And it is appearing that Arsenal fans are slowly but steadily starting to lose patience with their once greatly loved manager.
Arsenal dropped a victory against ten-men Liverpool a week ago and it looked like they could face the same frustrating outcome after a 2-0 lead against QPR and reckless move from Olivier Giroud, who was sent off in the second half for headbutting. Defense held on in the last fifteen minutes of the game, but the sense of failure is still around nevertheless. One decisive away win against a quality side, and contenders for the same place as well, could be seen as a nice turnaround.