Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that he has been impressed with the performances of West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame as he sweats on the fitness of his own central midfielders ahead of their clash with the Hammers on Wednesday night.
The Gunners will be desperate to secure a win against their London rivals after slipping to a 2-1 loss to Chelsea at the weekend that left the club seven points behind Tottenham who currently occupy fourth place.
Mohamed Diame celebrates after scoring against Chelsea [Reuters]
Wenger has a lack of options in midfielder after a string of injuries and has spoken of the threat that West Ham possess in the powerful Senegal international Diame.
"He has a great presence in the game," Wenger told the Islington Gazette. "I've seen him in games where he had a big impact, for example [against] Chelsea. They have many players who can be dangerous, but he can drive the midfield, yes."
Arsenal have been heavily linked with a bid for Diame, who is believed to have a £3.5million release clause in his contract, but Wenger would not be drawn into whether they would be moving for the midfielder in January.
However, with injuries threatening to further derail Arsenal's season there has been a suggestion that Arsenal may trigger Diame'e release clause after an impressive start to his West Ham career.
Wenger admits that it will be a difficult game against the Hammers, especially with a number of central midfielders struggling to make the game because of injuries.
Mikel Arteta and Francis Coquelin are both struggling, while Abou Diaby will be assessed before the game after picking up a thigh injury against Chelsea.
"It is a position where we are short. We are short when Arteta is not there because he is a player with a lot of experience and gives us stability.
"You could see that in the last two championship games. It is a position where we are a bit vulnerable at the moment. Diaby is one of the guys that we'll have to check today.
"You could see that he was not completely, physically fresh from the start onwards [against Chelsea]. He did dig deep on Sunday to do what he did.
"He played four games on the trot after being out for four months and I will have to check him today."
To contact the editor, e-mail: