Two Premier League soccer sides who have underperformed expectations so far this season meet in a London derby when West Ham host Arsenal at the London Stadium (3pm ET Monday).
It says much for the degree to which that is the case that Arsenal have already parted ways with their head coach Unai Emery. The sporting structure is also under scrutiny at West Ham following four defeats in their last five in the Premier League and just one win in their last nine.
West Ham have invested upwards of £150 million ($200m) in their squad over the last couple of seasons. After a solid 10th place finish, just two points off Everton in eighth, in Manuel Pellegrini’s first season in charge, the expectation was that they would take a further step forward this time around. Instead, they seem to have gone backwards.
A surprise win away at Chelsea last weekend ended a seven-match winless streak. It was then followed by another defeat away at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday that left the Hammers down in 15th, just two points above the bottom three. Some form predictions have them finishing in the relegation places.
Neither is there much in their underlying statistics to provide optimism for an upturn in performances and results. West Ham’s attacking numbers are some of the worst in the division, while their defensive numbers are downright awful. Overall, they look to be one of the league’s weakest teams by those measures.
With all that in mind, it is perhaps unsurprising that Pellegrini is the clear 2/1 favorite with the United States’ top bookmakers to be the next Premier League coach to leave his position. Reports from within the club seem to suggest that it is sporting director Mario Husillos, who previously worked with Pellegrini at Malaga, whose position is under more immediate threat. However, if results don’t improve quickly, Pellegrini may find his position difficult to defend.
Arsenal reacted to their disappointing start to the season by firing Emery following a Europa League defeat at home to Eintracht Frankfurt last week. The early evidence suggests a change in the dugout may not be enough to inspire a turnaround in results. Freddie Ljungberg’s two matches in temporary charge have comprised a draw away at Norwich and a 1-2 defeat at home to Brighton, the latter on Thursday night.
Tack those matches onto the backend of Emery’s reign and you have a side who have failed to win in any of their last nine matches in all competitions. After a pair of victories to begin the campaign, Arsenal have won just two of their subsequent 13 matches in the league. A side who had hoped to compete for a top-four finish are in 10th, a full 10 points shy of that mark. They are only five points clear of the bottom three.
Arsenal’s underlying numbers suggest they are a bit better than that, but not by much. They are far below the level of the current top four and at least a couple of the chasing pack. Their decision to allocate the majority of their summer transfer funds to an attacking reinforcement rather than addressing other problem areas doesn’t look a particularly great one at this stage.
Reports immediately after Emery’s departure suggested that Ljungberg was being seriously considered for the role on a longer term basis, but many more performances like that in the midweek loss at home to Brighton, in which Arsenal were outplayed and comfortably outshot, will surely put an end to that idea. Employing a new coach in time to tweak the squad a little in the January transfer window now appears the best way forward.
Our Preview’s West Ham vs Arsenal Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
Neither of these teams are in a good way coming into this match. Since the start of October, they have managed just two wins between them in their combined 16 league fixtures. It is a match that could really go either way. The sportsbooks’ odds do, though, seem to underrate West Ham’s chances of emerging triumphant, making them the better bet. This is the West Ham vs Arsenal betting prediction for this EPL match preview: