With much fanfare around Arsenal’s new season and potential title challenge, they open at home against a West Ham side in flux as the Gunners and Hammers face off at the Emirates live on NBCSN at 8:30 a.m. ET or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
West Ham comes to the Emirates after crashing out of the Europa League even before the league season began as the Hammers saw three players sent off in four games.
While the Hammers have a new manager in Slaven Bilic and a few new players as well, the Gunners will likely feature an almost unchanged side from last season. The only difference will be Petr Cech in goal, who was outstanding through the preseason fixtures. Alexis Sanchez rides the bench following a summer Copa America title, and manager Arsene Wenger said he needs rest but could play 20 minutes. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starts on the wing in his place alongside Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil in the attack, all supporting Olivier Giroud. Hector Bellerin is not in the squad after picking up a slight thigh injury in training.
Mauro Zarate starts for the first time in Premier League play since early December, while Bilic has chosen 16-year-old defender Reece Oxford as the youngster becomes the seventh youngest player to start a match in Premier League history. Oxford is 18 days younger than Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere when he made his debut against Blackburn in 2008. Big summer signing Dimitri Payet makes his Premier League debut for the Hammers in the attacking midfield.
Arsenal: Cech; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Ramsey; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud.
Subs: Ospinna, Gibbs, Chambers, Gabriel, Arteta, Walcott, Sanchez.
West Ham: Adrian; Tomkins, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Oxford, Noble, Kouyate; Payet, Zarate, Sakho.
Subs: Randolph, Collins, Poyet, Nolan, Jarvis, Lanzini, Maiga.