Former Gunner breaks down Arsenal v West Ham - who wins & how?

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Paul Merson previewed West Ham United's trip to Ashburton Grove and tips his former club to beat the Irons.

Arsenal may be in for an arduous examination later this evening, Tuesday, when the Gunners host West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium as, unless they score early, their confidence may "become shot", the fans "could suddenly be restless and get on the players backs" and all of a sudden they play into West Ham's hands - who "are good at defending deep".

That is the view of former Highbury midfielder Paul Merson, once revered for his centre circle play, his ability to pick a pass and how he controlled the attack from midfield. The Englishman, 46, previewed Arsenal's must-win match for Sky Sports and claimed that West Ham should be buoyed by their losing performance against Liverpool as they were able to keep Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge "quiet for most of the game".

He continued: "They can make life very difficult for you if you have to go and get a result because they've got out-and-out defenders at the back that want to defend and want to put their bodies on the line.

"Giroud has to play in this one; Wenger might even change it this week and take one of the holding midfielders out and go two up front because West Ham are going to come and park the bus. They're not going to come and have a right go at Arsenal."

Arsenal are vulnerable, though - they have collected just 12 from their last possible 30 points and this is below mid-table form; something that will not be lost on Irons chief Sam Allardyce.

"Sam will recognise that Arsenal aren't playing well; he'll know they're not clicking and he'll go there and try to get his team to keep it very, very tight for the first 25 minutes. The crowd will then turn, players will perhaps get nervous and then West Ham will come into the game - and we all know that Andy Carroll is capable of giving the Arsenal defence problems.

"But this is a game Arsenal have to win and I think they will 2-0."

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