Chris Sutton reveals his prediction for Arsenal v West Ham United
Chris Sutton looks ahead to Arsenal's home clash against West Ham United at The Emirates on Boxing Day
Chris Sutton is tipping Arsenal to drop points in a 1-1 draw with West Ham United in the Premier League on Boxing Day.
The Gunners are sitting pretty at the top of the table after an excellent start to the new campaign, with Mikel Arteta’s men having built a five-point lead over closest rivals Manchester City after 14 games.
However, Arsenal are without the injured Gabriel Jesus after the forward picked up a knee injury while on international duty with Brazil at the World Cup.
Much of Arsenal’s success this season has been built on their solid defence, with the Gunners having conceded just 11 times in 14 games, which is the joint-lowest number in the division. West Ham United, meanwhile, head into the game looking to end a run of three successive defeats in the top flight.
Gabriel Jesus has been an integral part of Arsenal’s success this season, with the Brazilian having started all 14 of the club’s games in the Premier League.
And despite the Brazilian not having scored for the Gunners since early October, former Chelsea FC star Sutton feels that Gabriel Jesus’s link-up play and other contributions will be a big miss for the north Londoners.
Writing in his column for BBC Sport, Sutton said: “Arsenal are five points clear at the the top of the table but we are going to find out in the next few weeks whether they really are title contenders, aren’t we?
“The break probably came at the worst possible time for them, because of the form they were in, and there isn’t a more significant player they could have lost to injury than Gabriel Jesus.
“People might point at his lack of goals before the World Cup but Jesus is integral to them in the way they press, and with his link-up play.
“He is irreplaceable, certainly from within their squad, so the seriousness of his injury will probably decide whether they try to make some signings in January.
“I feel like I have backed West Ham to be better than they have been on plenty of occasions already this season, but the one thing they should be here is tough to beat.”
Meanwhile, fellow summer signing Oleksandr Zinchenko has backed Gabriel Jesus to bounce back quickly once he recovers from his knee problem.
The Brazilian underwent surgery on his right knee earlier in the month and it is not yet clear when he will be fit again for the north Londoners.
Zinchenko admits that it is a blow to lose one of the team’s central figures to injury, but he is backing the Brazilian forward to be back firing soon.
“He’s one of the leaders in our team,” Zinchenko said of Gabriel Jesus in an interview with Arsenal’s website. “He’s a true warrior.
“I have no doubts he’ll be back much stronger than before, knowing him personally and knowing his character. As a team, we need to stick together.”