FA Cup: Arsenal vs. West Ham

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Arsene Wenger’s side will face their London rivals in the third round of the Football Association Challenge Cup this afternoon (16:15 UK).

The Premier League is always more important [than the FA Cup], but, in the eyes of the fans, we are looking for trophies,” said Wenger.

Arsenal should be confident of beating West Ham in this encounter and progressing to the next phase. Gianfranco Zola’s men are struggling both on and off the pitch, while the Gunners are aiming for the Premiership crown. However, in a London derby anything is possible.

This fixture reminds me of the Boleyn Club’s celebrated victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup final in 1980. At the time, the Irons were a second division club and shocked the Gunners, thanks to Trevor Brooking’s goal.

West Ham’s Mark Noble, Scott Parker, Danny Gabbidon and Herita Ilunga are all struggling with hamstring problems, while Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas , Denilson and Theo Walcott are also sidelined because of injury.

Nicklas Bendtner, Gael Clichy, Kieran Gibbs, Robin van Persie and Johan Djourou remain out.

The FA Cup is the oldest football (soccer) competition in the world. The holders of this competition are Chelsea, who beat Everton in the 2009 final on 30 May 2009.

UPDATE: The Gunners came from behind to book a spot in the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 victory over West Ham. The Irons took the lead in first-half when Alessandro Diamanti beat the offside trap, but Arsenal turned things around with late goals from Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo.