West Ham vs. Arsenal PreviewBy: Lachlan | October 4th, 2012
After a poor result last weekend that has once again put us below Sp*rs on the table, we find ourselves off to Upton Park to play West Ham. Comparing everyone’s attitude from right now to this point last season is very contrasting. This time last season we had 7 points from 6 games, now we find ourselves with 9 points after 6 games, and everyone seems much happier (I wouldn’t say happy though). I guess this is for good reason, maybe because we have conceded 4 goals this season compared to 15 last season (only from memory of course) and we have scored 10 compared to 7 last season (once again, only from memory). I guess this is very contrasting to last season, but nontheless, the start to our season has not been great.
Not only are Sp*rs higher than us on the table, but we are the fourth London club, behind Chelsea Sp*rs and West Ham. Fulham are only behind us on goal difference at the moment as well. This is clearly not a good performance so far, and we should really start performing. A London derby sounds like a great way to kick it off to me.
Who: West Ham United F.C. est. 1895 (W-D-D-W-L)
What: Premier League Away Match
When: 29th September, 05:30PM Local Time
Where: The Boelyn Ground (35,016)
How: Fox Sports 1/ESPN
Having not lived in London, or been there, I find it hard to hate other London teams (unless they are Chelsea). West Ham is one of those teams, I quite like them to be honest. It might be because of the Green Street movie, maybe its because I like that song that their fans sing and that they fill their stadium with bubbles. Regardless, I have a bit of a soft spot for them, and when they were relegated, I was a touch disappointed. Having now rightfully returned to the Premier League, West Ham have been in some decent form. For a team to avoid relegation, they usually need about 38 points by the end of the season. At the moment, West Ham are on track to make it almost to 70 points. They are yet to play any tough teams (I am having a really hard time choosing who their toughest opponent has been, Swansea or Sunderland I guess), but they have looked like quite a decent side at times. I watched the match against Fulham, and they absolutely destroyed them. They looked confident in attack and defence, and controlled the match pretty well (I thought, I wasn’t watching too intently).
Under Sam Allardyce, West Ham are a fairly physical side, but a lot less physical than Stoke of course, and play relatively direct football, which should suit Arsenal quite nicely. At the moment I am having trouble identifying key players, I’m not too familiar with most of them, and have only watched that one game so far this season. I guess Andy Carroll could be dangerous (although I doubt he will start), and I’m sure we are all very familiar with Yossi Benayoun (who I am amazed hasn’t been starting yet).
Well what can I say about Arsenal at the moment? We produced a great result against City in Machester two weeks ago, and then backed it up with a massive win in the league cup a few days later. However, against Chelsea Wenger decided to make an important change to the lineup. Koscielny had a good game against City, and obviously thought given the nature of the side that we were playing that faster centre halves might have been useful. Koscielny and Vermaelen started, and it didn’t end up working out. We conceded twice to set pieces, both of which I blame partly on those two (Vermaelen for dealing giving away the fouls and Koscielny for poor defending in the actual plays) and lost the game despite being the better team on the day. What also didn’t help our cause was that early in the match Diaby came off injured, and the closest thing we had to a replacement was the Ox. Hardly a good replacement.
Midweek, Mertesacker once again sat out, but this time due to illness. This makes me wonder whether he was maybe a little unwell on the weekend as well, as I honestly thought Wenger would play Mertesacker against Chelsea. Coquelin came into the midfield in the place of Diaby, and Giroud once again sat on the bench, only to come on late in the match and put in (what I thought was at least) a top performance.
I think then that this week Giroud will get a start, and Gervinho, the Ox, or both will get a rest. Diaby is still out (and will be out for at least 3 weeks by the sounds of things) and so a role in the midfield will need to be filled. I suspect Ramsey will get the chance to fill this role, but it could also end up going to Coquelin or AOC. In defence, I think there is a good chance we will see Koscielny and Mertesacker lining up, but Vermaelen has a very good chance given the captaincy.
This would be my best guess at a lineup:
Jenkinson Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
Ramsey – - – - – - Arteta
AOC – - – - – - – - – - – Podolski
Bench: Martinez, Vermaelen, Djourou, Santos, Gervinho, AOC, Walcott
Its really tough to pick what will happen in the midfield, and I think there are a few different ways that we could go, but given the fact that Ramsey was on the bench midweek, I am more inclined to think that we will see him starting on Saturday. The same goes for Giroud.
I would like to see Theo get a start despite the whole contract scenario. I think he is quite a dangerous player, and if he is going to go on a free we may as well get some use out of him (not too much though). I don’t expect to see him start, however.
Our depth is actually beginning to concern me. We have quite a lot of midfielders out at the moment: Diaby, Wilshere, Rosicky and Frimpong. Wilshere and Frimpong aren’t too far away either, but at the moment I feel as if we are one injury to Arteta, or even Ramsey, from being screwed. So far this season most times Vermaelen has bombed forward we haven’t ended up in too much strife thanks to Arteta’s awareness, but Coquelin and Ramsey don’t seem to have the same ability. Hopefully once Wilshere returns, things won’t look so dire, but even then, an Arteta injury is very concerning.
I hope we have a liveblog up for everyone to use, I’m not sure who will be running it this week. I won’t be available due to the game starting at 3:30AM for me, I think I’ll tape it and watch it at a reasonable hour instead.
After this match we have another international break (everyone’s favourite), so I think we have a few blogs lined up to get us through the interlude before we head to Norwich in two weeks.
That’s it from me, I’ll have a review up at some point on Sunday!