Liverpool great Mark Lawrenson predicts West Ham United v Arsenal

Sam Allardyce

Liverpool great Mark Lawrenson looks ahead to Sunday’s Premier League clash between West Ham United and Chelsea.

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson has backed West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce’s decision not to start Alex Song and Diafra Sakho against Chelsea.

Midfielder Song and striker Sakho have been two of the Hammers’ most important and best players so far this season.

Many were surprised that neither of them started the Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day.

Chelsea were expected to win the match, and they did so 2-0, with Song and Sakho both coming on just before the hour mark.

Next up for West Ham is a home match against Arsenal. Looking ahead to the game at the Boleyn Ground, Lawrenson told BBC Sport: “This is another tough game for West Ham on the back of their defeat by Chelsea, although I think Hammers boss Sam Allardyce was quite clever in resting Alex Song and Diafra Sakho until the last half hour at Stamford Bridge.

“Arsenal had to hang on to beat QPR but, other than that defeat at Stoke, their recent results have been good.

“West Ham will definitely make thing difficult for them, though, and I don't think a point would be a bad result for either side.”

Even with Song and Sakho in the starting line-up, West Ham would not have won against Chelsea, and Allardyce probably knew that.

By ‘resting’ the duo, the West Ham manager has enhanced his side’s chances of winning against Arsenal on Sunday.

Arsenal are definitely more beatable than Chelsea, and it is very likely that both Song and Sakho will start against the Gunners.

A draw is certainly going to suit West Ham, who find themselves fifth in the Premier League table at the moment, but Arsenal will be determined to win.

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