Wenger set for first game since confirming he will leave Arsenal

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    Arsene Wenger has decided to step down as Arsenal manager after 21 years and six months in charge


    Departing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he will use this game to prepare for Thursday’s Europa League semi-final, meaning cup-tied forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be left out.

    Aaron Ramsey is available after a shin injury but Jack Wilshere could be sidelined with an ankle knock.

    West Ham manager David Moyes has questioned the form of goalkeeper Joe Hart, and so Adrian could be preferred.

    Angelo Ogbonna is a slight doubt with tendinitis in his knee.

    James Collins is not ready to return from a hamstring strain, but midfielder Pedro Obiang could make a surprise return despite initially being ruled out for the season with a knee injury.

    Arsene Wenger: BBC Sport pundits discuss ‘phenomenal’ outgoing Arsenal boss


    Conor McNamara: “West Ham were expecting to face a side distracted by next week’s Europa League semi-final, a side that appeared to down tools at Newcastle last weekend, but now the atmosphere at The Emirates will be laced with nostalgia instead.

    “Amid the discontent and the falling attendances, even the most disgruntled Arsenal fan has no longer any need for the ‘Wenger Out’ banners. It has become a time to celebrate the overall achievements of Arsene Wenger rather than moan about his recent decline.

    “Most interesting of all will be how the Arsenal players react. Can they raise their game for one last month to end Wenger’s tenure with a trophy?”

    Twitter: @ConorMcNamaraIE


    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season.

    “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity.

    “I want to thank the staff, the players, the directors and the fans who make this club so special. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high.”

    West Ham manager David Moyes on Arsene Wenger: “It’s been an incredible achievement for him to be in the job that long – as it was for Sir Alex Ferguson. I thought I did well with 11 years at Everton.

    “Real football people appreciate what he’s done. He is a proper football man, he lives and breathes it, he’s dedicated to his job and his sport.

    “I’d probably wish it hadn’t been announced before this weekend but most people appreciate Arsene and what he has done in football.”


    It is a big ask for West Ham to go to the Emirates Stadium and get anything there – on home form alone, Arsenal are third in the table, just two points behind Manchester City.

    Prediction: 2-0

    Lawro’s full predictions v BBC Asian Network DJ Noreen Khan.

    • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.



    • Arsenal have lost just once to West Ham in their last 21 meetings in all competitions (W16, D4).
    • However, West Ham’s last two league wins over Arsenal have both come away from home: 2-0 in 2015 and 1-0 in 2007.
    • West Ham’s tally of five Premier League victories at Arsenal is bettered only by Manchester United, with eight, and Liverpool, with seven.


    • Arsenal have lost 11 Premier League games this season, equalling their highest tally of league defeats under Arsene Wenger set in 2005-06.
    • However, they have scored at least three goals in each of their last five home games in all competitions – the last time they scored three or more goals in six consecutive home games was in October 1958.
    • Arsenal have only failed to score in one of their last 31 home league games – a 3-0 defeat by Manchester City in March.
    • If they fail to win this match, Arsenal will finish below Tottenham in the top flight in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1982-83.
    • This will be Arsene Wenger’s 527th Premier League game in charge of Arsenal, the most of any manager in the competition.
    • Alexandre Lacazette’s goal against Newcastle was the 100th that Arsenal have scored in all competitions this season.
    • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored six goals in his opening eight Premier League games for Arsenal.

    West Ham United

    • West Ham are on a three-game unbeaten run in the league (W1, D2).
    • Defeat on Sunday would be their 1,000th in the top flight.
    • They have scored in each of their last nine away league games, their joint-longest run in a single Premier League season since 1999-00.
    • The Hammers have failed to win a single away game against teams above them in the league this season (D4, L7).
    • West Ham have drawn all three of their away London derbies in the league this season. The last time they avoided defeat in all of their top-flight away derby games was in 1983-84.
    • David Moyes is winless in 17 away matches as a manager against Arsenal in all competitions (D4, L13).
    • Andy Carroll has scored three goals in his last three Premier League appearances.
    • Javier Hernandez is yet to score in four Premier League appearances against Arsenal.
    SAM’s verdict
    Most probable score: 2-0Probability of draw: 20%
    Probability of home win: 68%Probability of away win: 12%
    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/43772469

    SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Liverpool that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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