The third and final all-London match-up of Boxing Day, with the long-awaited league leaders at Christmas playing a Hammers side slumped in 16th. Despite being five points clear, Arsenal have a heavy task on their hands with City primed and ready for any lost points, and the long term injury to former City man Gabriel Jesus may be the banana skin that could cause their title slip up.
Below I’ve done the lowdown for goals, shots, corners, fouls, cards and passing in order to help you pick some winning value selections for your bet builders. I’ve even stuck my own picks of the pack at the bottom. You can also access my Stats Pack Guide to help you pick your own by clicking here.
Mikel Arteta has stuck with a very stable 11 in a 4-2-3-1 formation throughout the season, with the likes of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey anchoring a midfield captained by Martin Odegaard.
Ben White has solidified his spot at right back after pouncing on the space left by Takehiro Tomiyasu’s injury woes.
The big news is of course Gabriel Jesus who underwent surgery on his knee and will be out for at least a few months. Eddie Nketiah slots in with Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka either side.
David Moyes has resorted to playing around with his side much more, given their lacklustre start to the campaign. They will match up Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1 with Gianluca Scamacca likely the spearhead over a poorly performing Michail Antonio.
Flynn Downes has likely cemented his spot in midfield in a breakthrough season for him. Although that spot could be taken by Brazilian Lucas Paqueta if the game hasn’t come too soon after returning from their disappointing World Cup exploits.
Arsenal top the league at Christmas, and will be firmly set on continuing their surprising title challenge with a win tonight. They’re unbeaten in their last 8, and have swept aside Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham since their loss to United in September.
In the process, they’ve scored 2.36 goals a game from an xG of 2.06 suggesting they’re creating good chances and are clinical on top of that. They’ve dominated the department for shots and corners, and their opponents tend to get frustrated, averaging 2.07 cards a game.
West Ham sit in 17th, but their stats suggest that they sit there somewhat undeservedly. They have scored significantly less than their xG, so they’re creating the chances but not finishing them off. Even their xGA is less than their goals conceded per game.
Their poor conversion is shown further by their shots stats; they’ve been taking more shots than their opponents but with less making it on target – just a 26.6% accuracy. They’ve also racked up more corners and less cards on average than the competition they’ve faced so far.
Player shots and shots on target
With Gabriel Jesus missing, it’s lucky that Eddie Nketiah slots into the top shot-taker graphic so effortlessly. He’s averaged almost 5 shots a game, although take that with a pinch of salt as the numbers are skewed by mostly substitute appearances.
There’s a couple of value selections that I like here with Kieran Tierney valued at 1.3 for 1 or more shots, and Martin Odegaard at 1.4 for 2 or more shots or even 1.73 for a shot on target.
For the Hammers, they’ve been hammering (see what I did there?) away the shots but their accuracy has been pretty dismal. The likes of thei main striker, Gianlucca Scamacca averaging 27.9% of his shots on track for goal.
It may be worth waiting on confirmed lineups, as if Lucas Paqueta starts, the bookie’s rate his chances of 1 or more shots on target at 1.91.
Player goals and assists
With Gabriel Jesus out, the spotlight is on Eddie Nketiah who has failed to register a goal contribution in the league so far, although he has managed just 152 minutes in 12 appearances – just 12.6 minutes per app. That being said, he’s managed 2 goals and 1 assist in 6 Europa League matches.
Other than that Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka have shared the riches, involved in 8, 7 and 10 goals respectively.
A bit of an outside shout, but Granit Xhaka has also scored 3 and assisted 3, and is generously priced at 3.2 to score or assist.
For West Ham, they’ve scored just 12 goals in 15 run outs, with no player scoring more than twice.
Gianluca Scamacca and Michail Antonio have remained deep in competition for the starting role and have equalled each other’s goals and assists.
Jarrod Bowen has been a dwarf of last season’s threat where he scored against tonight’s opposition, but has only managed 2 in 15 this campaign.
Mikel Arteta has reignited a drive and determination again in an Arsenal side that previously lacked “cojones”. That is well reflected by Bukayo Saka who has managed 3 cards and 18 fouls alongside his 4 goals. He’s priced at 2.3 to score or be carded.
Other than the energetic press of Saka and Martinelli, Arsenal’s big card shouts come from their defenders in Saliba, White and Gabriel, as even Granit Xhaka only averaging 0.54 fouls a game.
Depending on who starts, the main foul drawers come in attack and present a task for Arsenal’s defenders on the counter attack.
Jarrod Bowen is a real contender to cause some trouble, and with him cutting in from the right he may give Gabriel Magalhaes a run for his money.
Match-ups to watch:
Gabriel Magalhaes vs Jarrod Bowen
William Saliba vs Gianluca Scamacca
Bukayo Saka vs Thilo Kehrer
West Ham cards
Thilo Kehrer at right-back; a place that he didn’t make his trade; is going to have a real tough time dealing with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and a more attacking minded Granit Xhaka.
Another area to look into for fouls and cards is up front, with Arsenal likely to dominate possession and pass it around the back. That’s good reading if you’re wanting to back Scamacca or Paqueta for a couple fouls or a card.
Eddie Nketiah’s stats are again skewed by his lack of starts, and so don’t be tempted to back his opposite number with vigour.
Instead it’s worth looking wide to Saka and Martinelli, who’s numbers almost match identically for both fouls and dribbles.
Match-ups to watch:
Thilo Kehrer vs Bukayo Saka
Aaron Cresswell vs Gabriel Martinelli
Gianluca Scamacca vs Gabriel Magalhaes
There’s an interesting observation here ignoring the fact that Arsenal’s defenders unsurprisingly make the most passes out of their teammates.
It shows that their area of passing tends to be on the right, with a triangle forming between William Saliba, Ben White and Thomas Partey.
For West Ham, Aaron Cresswell averages the most passes in the team and is very likely to play the full 90. He’s valued at 2.1 to make 50 or more passes.
The only struggle with that selection will of course be the fact that Arsenal are a possession based side, averaging 58% to West Ham’s 45%.
My Picks of the Stats Pack
I’ve gone for a few bold selections using the stats that you can add to your bet builder or combined would come in at 40/1. It certainly isn’t a banker but maybe worth a punt with a quid or two or with a free bet you’ve got lying around.
Arsenal vs West Ham
Bukayo Saka averages 1.38 fouls p/90.
Aaron Cresswell averages 62.8 passes p/90.
He plays an average of 89 minutes per game.
West Ham average 45% possession.
Granit Xhaka has scored 3 and assisted 3 in 14 appearances.
Arsenal have scored 2.36 goals p/90 and have an xG of 2.06.
Thilo Kehrer averages 1.23 fouls p/90.
He has received 4 cards in 13.
Nketiah, Saka and Martinelli average 3.53, 1.46 and 1.45 fouls drawn p/90.