West Ham's return to the Premier League has been fairly successful so far. The Hammers are sitting comfortably in 7th place with 11 points, two points clear of this week's opponent Arsenal. Of course, if you dig in to West Ham's schedule you'll quickly see that this is their first big test of the season.
Their wins have come against Aston Villa, Swansea, Fulham and QPR, while they've drawn with Norwich and Sunderland. Nothing too flashy, but beating teams you're above or close to in the table is how you stay in the top flight, so in my book, so far, so good.
If West Ham can get a result against Arsenal, Hammers fans will have something to really puff their chest out over. Of course, it will likely be easier said than done. Allardyce will have a potential boost with Andy Carroll having returned in their win over QPR on Monday. The on-loan forward played 20 minutes and has returned to full training, but still may start on the bench Saturday as Sam Allardyce may choose to play it safe with his preferred target forward.
Arsenal will be looking to rebound from their 2-1 loss at home against Chelsea last weekend. Mid-week Champions League success should help boost their confidence though. Arsene Wenger is looking for his 350th victory as head coach of the Gunners and there's a good chance he'll get it. If the Gunners have any doubts, they need only look at their recent results against West Ham for inspiration. Arsenal have won four straight meetings with West Ham in all competitions and haven't lost to their London rivals in nine matches.
Vito Mannone is expected to start in goal for Arsenal with Wenger's other two goalkeepers still sidelined. Aaron Ramsey looks to be returning to form after scoring against Olympiakos. It's been a long road back from a devastating broken leg for the young midfielder, but he's full of confidence and provides Wenger with even more options in the attack.
West Ham injuries and suspensions
Arsenal injuries and suspensions
Out: Wojciech Szczesny (ankle), Lukasz Fabianski (shoulder), Abou Diaby (thigh), Emmanuel Frimpong (knee), Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), Bacary Sagna (broken leg), Jack Wilshere (ankle). In Doubt: Per Mertesacker (illness).
Joey O'Brien is out after suffering a hamstring injury against QPR, while Winston Reid will be a early morning decision after being knocked out in the same match. For Arsenal, injured goalkeepers Szcezesny and Fabianski remain sidelined, along with a long list of familiar names. Defender Per Mertesacker will be a game day decision as he continues to recover from an illness.
Match Date/Time: 5:30 p.m. local, 12:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Boleyn Ground, London, England
TV: FOX Soccer (U.S.), FOX Deports (U.S. Spanish), ESPN UK (U.K.), Sportsnet (Canada)
Online: FOX Soccer 2 Go (U.S.)