Sky Sports expert Lewis Jones has predicted a 2-0 defeat for West Ham when they visit Arsenal at The Emirates tomorrow due to the Gunners form at home.

The Hammers will be looking to put another big team to the sword on Wednesday (15 December) having done so to the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and both Manchester City and Manchester United in the League Cup.

Jones believes they have a slim chance of doing so with Declan Rice, tipping him to make all the difference if he can find the back of the net from outside the 18-yard box.

He wrote in his Sky Sports column: “Arsenal are making The Emirates a fortress. They have won eight of their last nine matches at home, winning the last four without conceding a goal. Thou shall not pass the axis of Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White and the impressive Gabriel.

“Further back, they have won 10 of the last 12 home fixtures. Plus, that aforementioned axis has still yet to concede a goal before the 38th minute in any of their 13 games playing as a trio. It’s providing their team-mates a fine base to work from.

West Ham’s attack may struggle to break through. Since beating Liverpool, the Hammers have picked up just five points from the last 15 available, failing to beat Burnley and Brighton along the way.

“One area of the pitch where West Ham will have an edge is in central midfield as Declan Rice’s form continues to impress. To my eye, there isn’t a better all-round midfielder than him in the Premier League – he can do it all. He ranks second in the Premier League for distance carried with the ball this season (3804m) – only behind Allan Saint-Maximin.

“I’m absolutely convinced he’s going to become even more of a force in the next few months. He’s fired six shots on target in his last seven Premier League fixtures and went close with an off-target attempt in the draw with Burnley.

Arsenal should afford Rice plenty of space to work in, too. They are happy to defend a little deeper than most teams in the Premier League and no team has conceded more shots on target from outside the box this season (29). Rice will be licking his lips.”

The key?

Michail Antonio is struggling in front of goal right now and has gone seven Premier League games without finding the back of the net.

That is affecting the Hammers’ chances of winning some of their games, and Rice will be looking to step up.

The England international midfielder proved to be their most influential creative outlet during Sunday’s (12 December) goalless draw at Turf Moor, and he could end up hurting Arsenal if given a lot of space and chances to shoot from a distance.

West Ham have stepped up and performed against all odds against the bigwigs, and with their fourth position in the table on the line, they will be giving it their all against the Gunners.

Many pundits and experts have often tipped them to lose against the big teams, but they have always ended up shocking everyone, and that could be the case against Arsenal.

The North Londoners boast of a solid home record, though, and the Irons would have done a very incredible job should they leave with all three points.

In other West Ham news, an amazing attacker is making personal arrangements for Hammers switch in January.

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The post ‘Rice will be licking his lips’ – Sky Sports expert predicts scoreline of West Ham v Arsenal appeared first on West Ham Zone.


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