Arsenal v West Ham
Today: Emirates Stadium, 3pm
Alexis Sanchez is convinced Arsenal now have the mindset needed to secure a positive end to the season, but warned against any complacency ahead of today’s visit of West Ham.
The Gunners beat Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford on Monday night to book a place in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley and can cement their position in the top four of the Barclays Premier League with victory over the out-of-form Hammers.
They then travel to Monaco for the second-leg of their last-16 Champions League tie, where they must overturn a 3-1 deficit.
And Sanchez believes if Arsene Wenger’s side can retain focus, then success is within reach.
“It is all down to us. If we want to stay in the top four or climb some places in the table, we must maintain the winning mentality,” Sanchez said.
“I always say that mentality is a crucial aspect in a football environment — if a footballer goes on the pitch with the right mentality, he will perform well.”
Sanchez has enjoyed an impressive debut season, the Chile forward netting 19 goals following his summer move from Barcelona.
“My spell here (has been) a really positive one. I like the city a lot and I feel really comfortable at the club,” he said.
Arsenal will be without midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Arsene Wenger confirmed the England man will miss “three or four weeks” with the hamstring injury picked up in the win over United.
Jack Wilshere will need a few more weeks to recover from minor surgery to remove studs from the pin in his ankle. But Mathieu Flamini is back in contention and Wenger confirmed that spirits are high in the camp.
“The mood is good as you can imagine, but focused as well because we know that every single game is a decisive game now,” said Wenger.
“Every year it (making the top four) gets more difficult because you have more teams who can compete for it, and in future years it will be even harder.
“It is an important part to have a good mixture between focus and composure, that is not easy to find because the tension can be too big.”
Morgan Amalfitano returns to the Hammers’ squad for the visit to the Emirates Stadium, having become the latest West Ham player to sign a new contract with the club – penning a fresh two-year deal.
The French international was sent off in the Hammers FA Cup fifth-round defeat at West Brom and has sat out the last three games – but returns from his ban as West Ham look to improve on a recent run of form which has seen them win just one of their last 11 Premier League fixtures.
“It’s been a little while that I couldn’t play and it’s been a little bit frustrating,” said Amalfitano. “So it’s a pleasure to get back out on the pitch and play games. I’ve trained as hard as I possibly could in these past few weeks and now I’m ready for Saturday.
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