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Arsenal v West Ham - Wenger to Continue Path to Elusive Domestic Trophy against Hammers?

For the second time in less than a week, Arsenal come up against a West Ham United side revitalised under new manager David Moyes. This time it's in the League Cup quarter finals, and following last Wednesday's bore draw, Arsene Wenger will be hoping to book his sides place in the semi-final despite what is now a much trickier fixture than it would have appeared when the draw was made in late October. West Ham have earned 7 points from their last 3 games - beginning with a fantastic home win against Chelsea, then the draw with Arsenal and last Saturday recorded an impressive dismantling of Stoke City at the Britannia stadium, the Hammers ending out 3-0 victors. The team who were wallowing in the relegation places of the league and looking completely bereft of confidence under Slaven Bilic have had a fantastic month of December under new manager David Moyes, and will be looking to keep the momentum going by booking a place in the semi-final of the cup competition. Both sides will be very familiar with each other after playing each other so recently, although teams are expected to be shaken up for this cup game, which will be played at the Emirates stadium as opposed to the Olympic Stadium where the game took place last week. West Ham kept themselves in this competition by coming back from 2-0 down against Tottenham Hotspur in the previous fixture to win the game against all of the odds. It is fair to say things were not going well for them at the time, and the win provided a real boost around the club - a win against Arsenal and a place in the semi-final would provide even more enthusiasm. If Arsenal do win the match, they'll be earning their place in the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time since the 2011 competition, in which they defeated Ipswich Town over 2 legs and supporters will remember the result of the final in which Arsenal left Wembley with Runner-Up medals after being defeated by a late Birmingham City goal. This League Cup campaign could go some way to remedying that embarrassing defeat if the club have success.David Moyes made perhaps the biggest decision of his short time in charge of West Ham when he dropped England international goalkeeper and marquee Summer signing Joe Hart to the bench prior to the match against Chelsea. It was a big call, but bringing Adrian back into the fold has paid dividends in recent weeks, and it looks unlikely that Hart will be getting his place back in the league anytime soon if the Romanian international continues his excellent form. With this being a cup game, however, it is likely that Hart will begin the game in goals, and will be likely out to impress. Midfielder Mark Noble went off with an injury shortly after scoring against Stoke in the 3-0 Saturday win so will not play, and fellow goal scorer Marko Arnautovic is also reported to have picked up a knock and may not be risked. Playmaker Manuel Lanzini is also set to miss the game due to a suspension as a result of diving.For Arsenal, it is likely that some of the fringe players will be getting a run-out. The congested festive fixture list means that it is unlikely that the likes of Newcastle match-winner Mesut Ozil, or forwards Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez will have a part to play on Tuesday night. Olivier Giroud may be brought in to lead the line, as he has done with good success in cup competitions so far this season, as will Theo Walcott, returning from a groin injury.Another forward who may get to see some game time is Eddie Nketiah, who is the reason Arsenal are still in this competition, as it was his 2 late goals - one to equalize the game and one to win it in extra-time - against Norwich City, and the youngster will be hoping that his contributions in the previous round have earned him a place in the side.Other younger players that have been utilised in the League Cup so far such as Jo Willock and Reiss Nelson could make their way into the team for some valuable competitive playing time in the place of more experienced players; as could Ainsley Maitland-Niles, following on from his two positive league appearances in the past week. Aaron Ramsey will not play as his injury has been confirmed to be more than a knock and will not be back in the side till early January at the earliest. Defender Shkrodan Mustafi is fit after returning from his thigh injury but is not expected to feature in this tie. With a huge league game coming up against Liverpool on Friday night, Wenger will be weary of utilising some of his team players in this match-up. With that being said, this game also represents a fantastic opportunity to progress in a competition in which a winner's medal has evaded the veteran French manager, despite several semi-finals and 2 finals, and in that regard, should not be taken lightly. Following the game last Wednesday, both teams generally know what to expect of each other. Perhaps, with home advantage, it is the Gunners who hold the cards in this encounter, but to disregard a West Ham side with the best momentum they have had in months would be foolish. With 3 huge fixtures coming up for Moyes' Hammers against teams towards the foot of the league table - Newcastle United, Bournemouth and West Bromwich Albion - perhaps the league cup isn't at the forefront of the Scot's mind. Nonenetheless, an interesting midweek match-up is in-store. Arsenal play West Ham United in the quarter final of the English League Cup on Tuesday December 19th at the Emirates Stadium, with kick-off at 7.45PM.