LONDON – Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said he is not surprised by the great strides Sunday's Premier League opponents and top-four contenders West Ham United have made under veteran boss David Moyes.
Former Everton midfielder Arteta played under Moyes for six years at the Merseyside outfit and the Spaniard was asked if he was surprised by West Ham's form that has lifted them to fifth in the league with 48 points from 28 games.
"Not really. I think they have a really strong squad and they have a great manager and coaching staff," Arteta told a news conference.
"They started the season with some doubts but I know what David is capable of doing.
"He gets the group together, they're working really hard for each other, they've recruited really well and you can start to see the things that David has done."
Arteta, whose side endured a nervous night on Thursday as they lost 1-0 to Olympiakos but still progressed into the Europa League quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate, said he expects a tough game at the London stadium.
"Obviously they have a little bit more time during the week to prepare for matches and for training... I think they've been in great form and they're a really dangerous team," Arteta said.
Moyes said that the meeting with 10th-placed Arsenal is "incredibly important" in their quest for a Champions League qualification spot.
"It isn't something people were talking about before the season, but we're going to try to do our best for it," Moyes told reporters.
"Arsenal are an improving side and they've shown it in their performances recently, including beating Spurs. Mikel Arteta is building an improving team and it'll be a tough game.
"It's our game though and we'll do our best to impose our game on them."