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The top-four prospects of both West Ham and Arsenal in the Premier League will face an examination when the two London rivals go into battle on Wednesday.

The Hammers currently occupy fourth place on the league standings, but sixth-placed Arsenal are just two log points behind after claiming a comfortable 3-0 victory over Southampton on Saturday. West Ham, meanwhile, were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw against Burnley.


Although Arsenal manager Mike Arteta was pleased with the much-needed win over Southampton, it was somewhat overshadowed by the absence of club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was dropped after a “disciplinary breach” apparently related to a no-show at training.


It has cast another shadow of doubt over Aubameyang’s captaincy and future at the club, but Arteta has confirmed he is set to return for the all-important encounter against West Ham.

However, it seems most likely that Aubameyang will be brought back via the bench, which could lead to another starting opportunity for Alexandre Lacazette, who has in fact been linked with a move to West Ham in the January window.

Arsenal will be looking to win back-to-back games for the first time in over a month, and Arteta should have a settled squad at his disposal. 

Emile Smith Rowe has been one of the outstanding performers for Arsenal this season, and has now recovered from a groin injury, while centre-back Gabriel will be available despite being unexpectedly substituted against Southampton. Arteta has since confirmed that substitution was as a result of his booking rather than injury.

In the opposite camp, West Ham manager David Moyes has suggested they could be boosted by the return of Aaron Cresswell.

“I’m hoping so,” Moyes commented when asked about Cresswell’s availability to face Arsenal. “He was in training today (Sunday). So hopefully there might be some (good) news when we get back.”

Meanwhile, Moyes issued a wake-up call to his team after they were held by Burnley, reminding them of the higher standards required to remain in a prized top-four position.

“Once you set high standards, which a lot of them have, and they’ve seen the levels they can get to, I think some of them are playing below it.

“Some of them need to get back up to the high standards if they’re going to remain in this position. I’d rather tell them that than not. There’s no point in me pussy-footing around it and not saying it. I want to win. I want us to play better and a few of them can certainly do that.”

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