Mark Lawrenson explains why West Ham surprised him, predicts result against Arsenal

Mark Lawrenson believes Arsenal will beat West Ham United 2-1 this afternoon.

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he thinks Arsenal will beat West Ham United 2-1 at Upton Park later this afternoon.

The Hammers head into the game just three points adrift of the Champions League places, but they have been on the receiving end of some questionable refereeing decisions in recent weeks.

Both of Chelsea's goals in the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge were debatable to say the least, before the Hammers were leading 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace last weekend, and Cheikhou Kouyate's red card - which was later rescinded - handed Palace a 2-2 draw too.

Those four dropped points mean West Ham sit outside of the top four rather than in one of the Champions League qualification spots, but a team who are on course to qualify are Arsenal.

The Gunners may have seen their title challenge drift away, but they have won their last two games without conceding a goal, and youngster Alex Iwobi has certainly impressed in recent weeks.

Now, pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he thinks Arsenal will win the game 2-1 at Upton Park this afternoon, suggesting that Arsene Wenger's men could win the majority of their games for the rest of the campaign.

Lawrenson also added that West Ham surprised him earlier in the season by beating Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium, and believed their form would drop off this season - but has been proved wrong by Slaven Bilic's men, and added that West Ham would've beaten Palace last weekend if Kouyate hadn't been sent off.

"It was a surprise when West Ham went to Emirates Stadium and won on the opening weekend of the season, but we now know why it happened - the Hammers are a very good team, " said Lawrenson. "In the first six to eight weeks of the season I just put it down to them making a very strong start and I was still wondering where they would finish. Well, now we know - the top six - and they are aiming higher."

"Slaven Bilic's side have had Cheikhou Kouyate's red card from last week's 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace rescinded, but that is no good to them now because, with 11 men, they will think they would have picked up two extra points."

"Arsenal are a strange team, and I can see them winning nearly all their remaining games this season. The pressure is off the Gunners now, with their title hopes all but over, which is why I think they will go to Upton Park, relax, play some open football - and win," he added.

What's your prediction for West Ham v Arsenal?

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