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Obstinate Hammers last team Arsenal fancy after cup exertions

| 15.04.2014

Arsenal’s slow-burning win over Wigan in the FA Cup at the weekend, where they endured extra-time and penalties, could end up costing them dearly in the race for the top four.

While the Gunners were on cup duty, Everton’s Premier League victory over Sunderland saw the Merseyside outfit leapfrog Arsene Wenger’s side into fourth.

Arsenal have the chance to rectify that slip by toppling West Ham at the Emirates tonight, which they are 4/9 favourites to achieve. However, an injury-ravaged squad made all the more weary by a stubborn Wigan side, could find that difficult.

If the Gunners found breaking down Championship opposition tough at the weekend, then a side managed by the king of the mulish, Sam Allardyce, will be another challenge entirely.

West Ham showed against league-leading Liverpool that they aren’t ones to be easily bulldozed, a philosophy highlighted by their 16 games containing under 2.5 goals this term.

Away from home especially, the Hammers focus on keeping their opponents at arm’s length and have seen nine of their 16 sojourns away from east London fall short of the 2.5 total goals mark.

Combine that with Arsenal’s heavy legs and depleted numbers and the 11/10 on this derby going the same way looks a superb betting strategy.

The Gunners are on a seven-game winning streak against the men from Upton Park, have not tasted defeat in their last 15 home games in the Premier League and have it all to play for ahead of the match.

So it would be typical Arsenal if things imploded around them at the precise moment they need to hold firm. It’s therefore worth a cheeky couple of quid on the 9/2 about West Ham in the draw-no-bet market and banking on the same old Arsenal to falter under pressure.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.