West Ham United could be handed a major boost by two potential key Arsenal absentees this weekend.
The Hammers take on Mikel Arteta’s improving Arsenal in what has become a huge game in the race for Europe.
West Ham can go level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea with a victory over the Gunners.
And David Moyes’s side could put a five and six point gap between them and the chasing pack depending on results elsewhere.
West Ham to get double boost with return of Lingard and Fornals
West Ham look set to be boosted by the return of Jesse Lingard and Pablo Fornals for the game.
But a couple of key potential Arsenal absentees could also help the West Ham cause.
The brilliant Bukayo Saka is a potential doubt for the game with a hamstring strain.
Saka limped out of the North London derby win over Tottenham at half-time.
And Arteta has admitted his star player faces further tests this week.
Saka a potential doubt as Gunners star faces further tests on hamstring injury
There are suggestions Saka will be rested for Arsenal’s Europa League clash with Olympiacos on Thursday night to try and get him ready for West Ham.
But speculation is also abound that the 19-year-old will be forced to withdraw from the England squad so his fitness is clearly not cut and dried.
“No (it wasn’t tactical), no it was injury,” Arteta told Arsenal’s website after the game.
“We don’t know. He was feeling his hamstring, so we will monitor that.”
Arteta provided another update ahead of the Olympiacos and West Ham games.
“He was doing another test,” Arteta said (Arsenal.com).
“He felt something muscular but he’s been much better and evolving well. We will make the decision this afternoon about what we will do.”
Aubameyang inclusion uncertain after striker was controversially dropped for Spurs win
Another big name who could be missing from the Arsenal line-up against West Ham is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The striker was controversially dropped from the starting XI against Spurs for disciplinary reasons.
And his replacement Alexandre Lacazette scored the winner in the 2-1 victory.
West Ham will know a lot more this evening. If Aubameyang starts against Olympiacos then he may find himself on the bench at the London Stadium.
Moyes will be looking to avenge defeat in the reverse fixture at the start of the season.
West Ham dominated that game – as they did last season’s encounter at the Emirates – but on both occasions ended up losing to a late goal.