West Ham United v Arsenal

West Ham United and Arsenal are set to open matchday 22 in the London Derby on Saturday. Both sides were successful over the weekend during their respective FA Cup fixtures against lower division opponents and will be coming into this game in high spirits and confidence. The action returns to the Premier League as West Ham will seek to rise to the top half of the standings and Arsenal will be hoping to put pressure on Chelsea in the race for the top 4 finish.

West Ham’s catastrophic start to their campaign seemed to have recovered by now with their summer signings finally adapting and their recent form starting to improve. They’re still overflowed with seemingly never-ending injuries; however, they still manage to win five of their previous eight fixtures in the Premier League, only losing twice. West Ham recently saw off Birmingham City in a 2-0 win at the London Stadium, with goals from Marko Arnautovic and Andy Carroll securing the victory. West Ham are currently at the 10th place in the table, just 3 points below Leicester City at the 7th spot.

On the other hand, Arsenal have their eyes set on the Champions League qualification but they’re currently 3 points behind Chelsea and have seen the gap below reduced to the same 3 points between them and Manchester United. The Gunners have been having a stellar season until they failed to come out successful in 7 of their previous 12 games due to their poor defensive strategies. The Gunners also haven’t kept a clean sheet on the road in the Premier League, though they were able to score in all 10 matches.

Unai Emery’s men are struggling for consistency on their away fixtures as proven by their last four games on the road that ended in defeats. West Ham, meanwhile, conceded in each of their previous 8 home league fixtures. With their standings on the line, the match between these two should be an entertaining one.

Brighton v Liverpool

The year did not start quite how Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool fans expected following their frustrating 2-1 loss against reigning champions Manchester City which reduced the gap between the Reds and the top of the Premier League standings down to four points. Brighton, on the other hand, just had their confidence boosted when they won against Bournemouth in the FA Cup over the weekend. Now, their focus is on the Premier League as they look to make their way to the top of the standings.

Liverpool’s defeat to Manchester City was then followed by a shocking failure in the FA Cup against the Wolverhampton Wanderers which also resulted in an upsetting 2-1 loss. If the Reds want to return to their winning ways and try to keep their four-point lead at the top of the table, they will need to claim the victory on Saturday afternoon when they take on Brighton. Doing so will require a strong attacking and defensive performance from Jurgen Klopp’s men.

On the other hand, Brighton are currently in an outstanding home form which kept them safe from hitting rock bottom last season. That same home form also helped to a safe 13th spot in the Premier League table at the moment. They are also only 5 points below Leicester City who currently seat at the 7th spot. Brighton’s victory against Bournemouth over the weekend also saw 4 undefeated matches in all competitions. However, facing a side like Liverpool could be a difficult one.

Chelsea v Newcastle

Chelsea saw their two-match winning streak come to an end with an unexpected goalless draw in a home fixture against strugglers Southampton in their last Premier League fixture which allowed Arsenal to slash the gap behind them in the fourth spot down to just three points.

Maurizio Sarri’s men cannot afford any more failures if they want to keep their spot in the top four, especially now that the Gunners are catching up to them and with Manchester United in quite a remarkable form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Chelsea bounced back from their goalless draw to the Saints when they achieved a 2-0 victory against Nottingham Forest over the weekend in the FA Cup, thanks to Alvaro Morata who scored a brace. Even though Chelsea had a difficulty in finding the net in their last two home league fixtures, their defensive stability will be a challenge for Newcastle.

Newcastle United will come into this match as the Premier League’s 2nd worst attacking teams. The absence of goal-scoring ability leaves them in a struggling position, hovering just 2 points above the drop zone and winning just one of their previous 8 league matches. Chelsea were able to net fewer than 3 goals in their previous 5 home league fixtures while the visitors only scored 8 goals away throughout the season.

By @EliaasMJ

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