We are fortunate to have another of West Ham Bob’s posts about this fixture. Thank you Bob.
It all changed one Saturday afternoon in March. Burnley were the visitors to the London Stadium and there was a palpable sense of anger and frustration just waiting to boil over. Sure enough, all it took was a goal from Chris Wood to put the men from Lancashire 2 up and the game was up in so many ways. A well known supporter, affectionately known as Bubbles, strode onto the pitch and planted a corner flag into the centre circle, recalling a famous protest from the bad old days of the bond scheme. And the rest as they say is history.
The Dildo brothers, as they were affectionately labelled by the president of Sporting Lisbon, realised that two years of zero investment had to come to an end if they were to have any chance of holding together what was left of the club’s historical and loyal support.
Unbeknown to the fans, they had already agreed a deal with ‘that charming gentleman’, Manuel Pellegrini behind David Moyes back. If Moyes could keep the team up, Pellegrini would be in his place by the start of the 2018/19 season and he would be given wonga like no West Ham manager has had before.
And that is how we now find ourselves facing our first relegation six pointer of the season. It’s a little like Norway facing Norway in Eurovision. Nil Points for the Hammers and the Gunners.
Now I’m not going to be so bold as to suggest what’s gone wrong with the Arsenal. I’m sure Big Raddy and co are filling pages of this esteemed fan site discussing the teams failings (albeit against two top 4 teams). No, what I do intend to talk about, is why we have been so bloody awful.
You see, Moyes and the previously departed Bilic failed to solve our most pressing problem and sure enough. Pell has fallen into the same trap. Our midfield and defence is absolute gash. Our fullbacks are either lightning quick but unable to defend (Fredericks and Masuaku) or slow and laborious (Cresswell and Zaballeta). Our centre backs lack positional sense and are guaranteed to make 2 or 3 mistakes a game. We’ve spent £30 million in this area and have ended up with a South American who can’t defend (Balbuena) and a young prospect who is not deemed ready for the Premiership (Diop for £22 million).
One of the problems for our defence is a total lack of midfield protection. In our last match, our central midfield comprised Mark Noble and Jack Wiltshire. Now it’s all well and good investing huge sums on wide players, but when you’re getting overrun for 90 minutes, they tend to do good Stevie Wonder impressions – they never see the poxy ball.
Of course, after only 2 games it’s a little early and harsh to knock Jack and I’m sure he’ll be wanting to show Dick Emery what he’s missing, but I’m prepared to lay an extraordinarily large bet that he won’t be playing in a two with Nobes come November. The balance is just all wrong and Pell had better wake up and smell the coffee quickly.
Felipe Anderson and Yarmolenko cost £50 million between them. Once again early days but they both look like ‘luxury players’, and not necessarily built for the rigours of the Premiership.
Up front, Pellegrini has either played Arnautovic as a 1 or Arnautovic and Hernandez (where Arnautovic also seems to play as a 1!!). There’s a reason why Little Pea has never held down a regular place in the Premiership.
So how are we likely to line up at The Emirates? In goal will be ex-gooner, Lucas Fabianski. I expect Cresswell and Zabaleta to fill the full back positions and Ogbonna to get a new centre back partner in either Declan Rice or Issa Diop.
With Arnie up front, I think we will pack 5 into our midfield with Jack playing as a number 10. Expect Carlos Sanchez and Pedro Obiang to sit, leaving 2 of Lucas Perez, Yarmalenko and Felipe Anderson to provide the pace and aimless balls up to Arnie who within 10 minutes will have a right proper face on. That’s right gooners – your first three points are a coming.
written by WH Bob
A new feature will be the history of fixtures against our opposition compiled by our resident stat expert GN5.
Arsenal v West Ham United
Our first game against West Ham was an FA Cup game played at Woolwich Arsenal on January 13, 1906 it ended in a 1-1 draw, five days later we lost the replay 2-1.
We first met West Ham United in League Division 1 on August 27, 1923 in an away game that we lost 0-1.
So our history goes back 112 years overall and 95 years in League play.
Record in Division 1.
Record in the Premier League.
Our last 18 games.
Based on our past record our home game against West Ham is very winnable and may be just the tonic the team needs.