Arsenal travel to Upton Park this weekend - live on ESPN UK at 1730 BST on Saturday - with some defensive questions to answer. The Gunners' rearguard started the season impeccably, conceding just once in four games, but in the 1-1 draw with Manchester City and the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea they were beaten three times by set-pieces.
All of the good work Arsenal defensive coach Steve Bould was credited with in the opening weeks of the campaign has been thrown into disarray by the same old defensive lapses which seem to cost Arsene Wenger's side season in and season out.
The last thing they need is a trip to visit Sam Allardyce and Andy Carroll. The giant Geordie's inclusion in the England squad this week will have given his confidence a boost following recent injury problems, and he will have a point to prove. The kind of point that saw him single-handedly dismantle Fulham on his West Ham debut in a 3-0 victory when Brendan Rodgers' decision to offload him from Liverpool was still fresh in the memory.
Carroll has experience of getting the better of Arsenal, having scored the only goal for Newcastle in a 1-0 win in November 2010, and he is likely to be the focus of West Ham's attacking play as Allardyce attempts to mastermind another famous victory against one of Wenger's slick passing teams.
The West Ham boss has won four and drawn three of his nine Premier League meetings with the Gunners over the years, and after making a steady start to life back in the top flight they will be in confident mood.
Three wins and three clean sheets have seen West Ham make the best start of any promoted side by some distance, and they sit two points better off than Arsenal, who will be eager to get their aspirations of a title tilt back on course. Arsenal's dedication to attacking play dictates that they will come and have a go, and they will be keen to rediscover the free-flowing goalscoring form of their win against Southampton.
The game will be decided by which team has the most potent attacking options on the day and is sure to prove enthralling viewing.
West Ham player to watch: Andy Carroll. Injury has prevented Carroll enjoying a run of games since Liverpool's decision to let Carroll move south, but with the England international likely to lead the line for West Ham all their best play will go through him. He has two assists to his name from his debut, but no goal in the Hammers' colours yet. What better stage to end the wait?
Arsenal player to watch: Gervinho. The Ivorian has fired five goals in as many games, including his brace against Southampton, and it is fair to say Arsene Wenger's decision to deploy him in the central striker's role is paying dividends. That's as many goals as he managed in the whole of the 2011-12 season, but his newfound form represents the major threat to the Hammers' injury-hit back line.
Key battle: Jussi Jaaskelainen v Arsenal attack. The decision to sell Robin van Persie was met with suspicion, but Arsenal have attempted to replace him by spreading the goals around a varied and potent array of attackers. In Lukas Podolski, Gervinho, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla they have plenty of scope to score, but they will face an able match in Jaaskelainen, a man used to getting one over on the Gunners from his time with Bolton.
Trivia: West Ham scored the most goals from set plays in the 2011-12 Championship, while the last three league goals Arsenal have conceded have come from dead-ball situations.
Stats: The Hammers were the last Premier League side to win at Highbury and the first team to win at Emirates Stadium.
Odds: West Ham (4.00), Arsenal (1.90) and the draw (3.60) are available from bet365, while Andy Carroll anytime goalscorer is on offer at 3.20.
Prediction: Both sides will be desperate to go into the international break with the momentum and confidence a win gives. However, Sam Allardyce's exemplary record against Arsenal points to a man who knows what he is doing against a shaky defence and a narrow victory for the hosts seems likely.
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