By Jonty Banks

20th Mar, 2023 | 2:10pm

Martin Keown admits West Ham United could pose 'horrible' test for Arsenal in upcoming Premier League match

Martin Keown believes Arsenal’s upcoming Premier League match against West Ham United could be a “horrible” clash for the league leaders to navigate.

David Moyes’s side host the Gunners after the international break on 16 April in a London derby that will have ramifications at both ends of the Premier League table.

The Hammers are currently languishing in the relegation zone ahead of the international break – albeit with a game in hand on the rest of the bottom nine sides in the league – while Arsenal are vying for their first league title since The Invincibles in the 2003/04 season.

Writing for BBC Sport (19 March), Keown acknowledged that West Ham could pose a horrible test for Arsenal, and the incentive to stop them from winning a league title could prove to be a significant motivator.

“This season, almost a third of Arsenal’s league games – 12 out of the 38 – are derbies, which is a huge chunk. It makes it relentless, because there is always one on the horizon – in fact, there are two still to go.

“So it’s not just, say, the Liverpool and City fixtures that stand out for me as being tough in Arsenal’s run-in. The games against Chelsea and West Ham will be horrible too.

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“Neither of those teams are having great seasons, but they know they could stop Arsenal from winning the title. Whatever else they are playing for, that is all the incentive they need.”

Pivotal match

The upcoming clash between the Hammers and Arsenal looks set to be a London derby like few others.

For completely different reasons, both teams will be playing their hearts out and scrapping for every advantage they can get in the encounter.

For Moyes’ side, wins need to come, and fast. Since the turn of the New Year, there has been moments of promise in and amongst the club’s relegation form, including the 4-0 win against Nottingham Forest, but these have been few and far between.

Another issue for the Hammers has been the lack of results against big-six opponents. Whenever a team is scrapping in and amongst the relegation zone, results against Champions League-chasing teams are always required along the way.

Take Bournemouth’s win against Liverpool or even Everton’s draw at Stamford Bridge at the weekend. West Ham need to start picking up results against the league’s elite, and fans will hope it can start in some style against Arsenal.