West Ham V Arsenal at Olympic Stadium : Match Preview

02 December 2016
West Ham V Arsenal - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

West Ham's Andy Carroll is gunning for Arsenal again

Slaven Bilic is ready to unleash Andy Carroll on Arsenal.

The big frontman is back in the West Ham squad for the first time since August and set to lead the line against the Gunners.

Carroll's return should strike fear into the hearts of Arsenal's defenders with the memories of his hat-trick against them in April still fresh in the mind.

The 27-year-old terrorised Arsene Wenger's back four that day as West Ham battled back from two goals down to earn a thrilling 3-3 draw at Upton Park.

Sadly for the Hammers, those days have been few and far between since with Carroll suffering a knee injury against Astra Giurgiu in the Europa League at the start of the season which kept him out for three-and-a-half months.

But the former Newcastle and Liverpool striker is finally fit again, and under-pressure Hammers boss Bilic will pin his hopes on Carroll firing them away from relegation trouble following their miserable start to the season.

"He will be in the squad, so he's ready," said Bilic.

"He's a player that offers something special, he is one of the reasons why we were so prolific last season in front of goal, why we were so versatile, so dangerous, why we scored so many goals and why we finished so high.

"He played a great game against Arsenal where we didn't start well, we were two down and didn't play good.

"It was basically him who brought us back in that game before half-time with two goals, and he went on to score a hat-trick.

"If you ask me what he's capable of, that's one of the greatest examples.

"You can simply be very dangerous in the box if he's playing there because he occupies basically the whole box.

"From anywhere in the box when you put a cross in, a half-decent one, he makes it a good ball and the defences have to take care of him.

"No centre-back feels comfortable when he's close to the goal and the ball's in the air."

Wing-backs Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell suffered groin injuries at Manchester United on Wednesday night and join Diafra Sakho, Reece Oxford and Sam Byram on the sidelines.

Meanwhile Arsene Wenger insists he has no regrets over the treatment of Santi Cazorla's injury after it was announced the Arsenal midfielder could miss up to three more months due to upcoming ankle surgery.

The 31-year-old will go under the knife in Sweden next week after failing to overcome an Achilles problem which had already kept him out of the side for the previous nine games.

It was decided on Thursday that Cazorla needed an operation despite the fact Wenger had said last week he was hopeful the Spain international would be back in contention in a fortnight.

There was more bad news for Wenger, who also confirmed full-back Mathieu Debuchy could be out for six weeks with a "severe" hamstring injury.

That means he is likely to be out until the new year, with Cazorla potentially sidelined until March, but Wenger said he had no doubts that the club had acted in the right way.

Asked if he had any regrets over the treatment Cazorla's injury, Wenger replied: "No I don't because we always liaise with Santi's people and he is treated the way we wanted him to be treated.

"It is always very sensitive. Bone inflammation, you never know how long it will last. For me it's very bad news. You always know the date of the surgery but never the date where the player will play again.

"I always try to put absolutely everything in place to avoid surgery because it creates anxiety and rehab. When you can avoid it, you have to avoid it.

"In this case, unfortunately we have come to that conclusion. Now they tell me that he will be out for two months at least but two months can sometimes be three as well.

"What's going wrong is that he has an inflammation at the back of his foot. Nobody really knows where it comes from because he has been treated against this inflammation.

"The anti-inflammatory injections have not got rid of it. The surgeon decided to have an exploratory surgery - that means open and see what's going on in there."

Arsenal will be without Mathieu Debuchy at West Ham after Wenger confirmed he will miss up to six weeks with a hamstring injury. The defender was forced off early on in last weekend's win over Bournemouth and will not return before Christmas.

Olivier Giroud (groin) could also miss out, while Hector Bellerin (ankle), Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck (both knee) are all definite absentees.

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