Let’s burst some bubbles: West Ham preview

Pop

Today we take on West Ham at the Emirates after a week and a half of ups and downs.

On the down side we crashed out of the Europa League with a home defeat to Olympiacos and our Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira suffered a fractured ankle in the FA Cup tie at Portsmouth.

On the up side, we qualified from that FA Cup tie and now face Sheffield United away for a place in the semi finals; our Invincibles’ record remained intact when Liverpool were thrashed by the mighty Watford and both ‘Pool and the Spuds got dumped out of the FA Cup.

The Hammers are in desperate need of points in the Premier League. They’re out of the bottom three only on goal difference and potential relegation beckons.

However, they did win their last league game (home versus Southampton) so their confidence may have risen a little. Prior to that they had a tough run of games which saw defeats to Liverpool (twice), Manchester City and Leicester, with a 3-3 draw with Brighton in the middle.

They have conceded more goals in the EPL (49) than anyone except the bottom two clubs, Villa and Norwich, so you would hope our attacking players can make hay with that leaky defence.

When it comes to goal scoring however they are only four behind us (they have 35, we have 39 having played one game less). The main threat in this regard is the French striker Sebastien Haller who has seven, but they can pose a goal threat from midfield with Noble, Snodgrass and Fornals.

I’m never sure what I think about the ‘Appy ‘Ammers. They’re certainly not in the Spuds/Chavs class of despicable London clubs who deserve to be beaten and humiliated at every opportunity. But they can be annoying and, frankly, have an overly high opinion of themselves because they used to have a few good players in the days of black-and-white television.

My next-door neighbour is a Hammer and has a dog called Bobby, after former England captain and West Ham legend Bobby Moore. When Bobby met my dog, Dennis (named after you-know-who) Bobby was sent packing. Some things are just immutably written in the laws of nature.

We’ll probably face one former Gunner in Lukas Fabianski, but we won’t be seeing another one-time N5 star whose career never achieved the heady heights we once imagined for him. Apparently the Hammers are trying to buy out Jack Wilshere from his £100k a week contract because he is hardly ever fit to play.

I feel sorry for Jack. He was the subject of some appalling tackles early in his career and was never given adequate protection by the officials. Mind you, there was something about his style of play which invited opponents to dive in on him. Usually he could hop out of the way just in time, leaving the opponent on their arse or otherwise out of the game. But when he got it wrong, he suffered.

Here’s the team I expect Mikel Arteta to choose today:

Leno

Bellerin – Mustafi – Luiz – Saka

Xhaka – Ceballos

Ozil

Pepe – Nketieh – Aubameyang

The only arguable “surprise” there is that I expect El Patron to persist with Eddie given his wonderfully taken goal on Monday night and given Lacazette’s continuing woes.

Bellerin was truly awful against Olympiacos and really needs to pick up. I back him to do so. I know many people have doubts about Pepe but he has been improving and I expect that upward track to continue. After Nelson’s performance against Portsmouth we have a ready-made replacement if Pepe needs to be hooked.

Ozil was another who had an indifferent game against the Greeks but who I expect to bounce back today. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re writing him up as Man of the Match after this one.

We have more than enough about us to take all three points and that’s what I expect us to do.

Come on you Gunners.

RockyLives

38 Responses to Let’s burst some bubbles: West Ham preview

  1. LB says:

    Yay football

    To wear a face mask or not to wear a face mask, that is the question.

    And not one I ever thought I would need to contemplate.

    Strange times.

    Can’t argue with the team up there, maybe, Auba in the middle with Martinelli on the left is a bit stronger.

  2. LB says:

    Apparently there has been numerous requests to use the Tottenham’s trophy cabinet as place to self isolate against the current threat of Coronavirus.

  3. Sue says:

    Spot on, Rocky 👍
    I’m excited for this, sitting in the family section today (don’t say anything, Fred!) Haha!
    Be an interesting one for Mikel – coming up against his former boss, Moyes, who thought very highly of him while at Everton.
    They’re desperate for points.. Antonio is a beast.. so it’s gonna be tough! I’m hoping Auba picks up where he left off, as he could break away in the golden boot race.
    The sun is shining, hopefully it’ll be a glorious day at the Emirates, on and off the pitch! COYG

  4. RockyLives says:

    LB
    No need for a mask – you look great!

  5. Rasp says:

    Thanks Rocky … game day and I’m going!

    It could be my last game for a long while so I’m hoping we can do the biz before I gogo. (wham ref 🙄 ) )

    Our defence needs to reprise itself after 2 set piece goals against Olympiacos. You can be sure the hammers will be throwing everything at us from corners.

    I’m enjoying the Ozil / Ceballos partnership, those two seem to click. The little Spanish fella seems quite happy to get stuck in so I see him as a good replacement for Torreira. Auba to score and go to the top of the EPL LGS.

  6. LB says:

    By the way, if anyone wants a free ticket, I have one, next to me.

  7. RC78 says:

    Fabiansky – ?, Ogbonna, Diop, Cresswell – Noble, Rice – Anderson, Fornals, Antonio – Haller

    They still have Zabaleta, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Bowen so…

    I think Bellerin will have another horrid game if he plays, especially against Antonio so I am not necessarily inclined to play our Spanish full-back..

    I would not mind playing:
    Leno – Mustafi, Mari, Luiz, Saka – Xhaka, Ceballos – Pepe, Laca, Martinelli – Auba

    I think Creswell, Diop, Rice and Noble are quite good defensively but Fabianky, Ogbonna, Noble are the quicket so I would like to see us play with Auba in the center and with Laca playing close to him and with Martinelli coming in between Cresswell and Diop so our 4231 would be a 4411 in attacking phases.

    We have to be careful of Antonio, Fornals and Haller and also of Anderson. They are very good and Antonio is super fast and Haller is annoying because he is good in the air, rather athletic and is not slow so he ll be a handful.

    The key to this game will be Pepe and Ceballos. If these two have good games, they will be
    – able to control the game both defensively and on the offense;
    – able to create the necessary space for our forwards to score.

    My prediction…a hard fought 2-1 win for us with Auba the hero delivering us the win in the late stages and with a goal from Laca today early on:

    – Laca (or Nketiah) to score in the first 20 minutes
    – Antonio to equalize before half time from a set piece
    – Auba to score in the last 15 minutes.

    COYG!

  8. RC78 says:

    I think Creswell, Diop, Rice and Noble are quite good defensively but Fabianky, Ogbonna, Noble are NOT the quickest

  9. RockyLives says:

    Leno
    Sok – Mari – Luiz – Saka
    Xhaka – Ceballos
    Ozil
    Pep – Nketieh – Aubameyang

    None out of 11. Mustafi may still be carrying an injury I suppose and perhaps MA has dropped Bellerin following his poor outing versus Olympiacos.

    Sok-Mari-Luiz should give us some aerial competitiveness from set pieces (hopefully).

  10. JM says:

    Mari’s PL debut, Mustafi missed out with thigh strain, Tierney, AMN and Holding not included, Eddie continues leading the line at main ST/CF.

    Starting:
    Leno, Saka, Mari, Luiz, Sokratis, Xhaka, Ceballos, Aubameyang, Özil, Pépé, Nketiah

    Bench:
    Emiliano, Bellerin, Guendouzi, Willock, Nelson, Martinelli, Lacazette

    Bellerin (and Holding) are possibly still feeling niggles after their ACL injury and should be eased slowly back to the team instead of starting every match. Tierney is not risked for this match (while he could return to our bench, if not starting, against Man. CIty next week as Saka would certainly need a breather).

    Our bench has more attack-minded players, surely Arteta’s instructions for our team is to attack and win this match. Grab the 3pts!

  11. Aaron says:

    Rocky,
    Pop for sure.

    Let’s score some goals.

    Mustafi injured, no AMN (he is in the doghouse for sure)

    Bel and Hold still trying to come back, I mentioned that top docs said 2 years to get best results…

    Big boy in this morning, lets see how a left and right footer’s work together.

  12. fred1266 says:

    Watch how godly fabianski going and play today

  13. fred1266 says:

    So ridiculous every touch West Ham been given a foul but nothing for arsenal players

  14. Rasp says:

    Too many sideways and backwards passes for my liking. Mari and Ceballos providing most of the forward momentum.

  15. fred1266 says:

    Ceballos u idiot why keep the ball in just leave it to go out jeez

  16. Aaron says:

    Laca with the lonnnnnnnnnnng awaited goal, assisted by Mesut, while everyone waited for the goal that was always a goal.

    vaR is $h*te..

    Go Arsenal!

  17. Aaron says:

    Got to give Leno this, he is one hell of a shot stopper.

  18. LBG says:

    Got to love VAR! Managed to overturn Atkinson’s efforts singlehandedly! My MOM Dani Ceballos. A vital and in the end, enjoyable three points.

  19. LB says:

    I will write something.

  20. Sue says:

    What a result! Ceballos my motm.. Mari was also superb 👌
    Loved it after the final whistle.. Mari and Luiz hugged – job done, clean sheet!! Spot on!

  21. Sue says:

    West Ham did play well and will probably feel really hard done by coming away with nowt, but oh well….. 😄 How huge are Antonio’s thighs?? 👀 jeez!!
    I hope we buy Ceballos… and Mari – imagine him with Saliba 😍

  22. LBG says:

    Aubang touched the ball twice in our opponents penalty area. Please someone tell me why is is playing on the left sideline.
    Pepe…….end product………incompatible!
    Please lay Martinelli or Nelson, Mikel.

  23. LBG says:

    play not lay!

  24. Does Arteta have something against Maitland-Niles? He’s fit and not even in the match day squad while Sokratis is preferred at right back. I thought Leno was our MOTM, while Cebellos is too flimsy in central midfield, with West Ham having so much space and time to just run at our defence.

  25. LB says:

    In drafts, needs a bit of a polish, right, it is wine o’clock for me.

  26. LBG says:

    BBC SPORT
    Must be related to Atkinson, ” a rudderless performance reminiscent of Emery – lacking in leadership, guile and pace”.
    Perhaps it’s me, but I think that gives no credit to the Hammers performance, and anyway disagree that it was that bad.
    Certainly think some of the attacking selections would be different for me, and we need Soares or a proper RB.

  27. LBG says:

    Totteringham and Wolves drop points. Good enough. Happy weekend everyone.

  28. RC78 says:

    It was a good win but definitely not a good team performance as we gave away a lot of chances but Leno was on fire and also Ceba so we managed to scrape a win…

    Mari did well but Sok at RB is not my preferred option

  29. fred1266 says:

    Sue family section a fancy name for lower tier

  30. RockyLives says:

    A point behind Spuds with a game in hand…

  31. fred1266 says:

    Yea but the game in hand is against city

  32. LBG says:

    Anyone watching the repeat 90 mins on Sky. Currently four clear errors fro the idiot in the black!

  33. LBG says:

    Ogbonna roughed up Eddie significantly in first half and he did not recover.
    Dont even agree with the negative comments on team performance. First half chances against- Leno onto post, which was no going in anyway – shot directly at Leno from distance and Antonio miss from two yards.
    Saka was dangerous throughout. Dani, Mesut and even occasionally Xhaka played some significant dynamic passes. Justified criticism for me would include largely non-existent Aubang and no end product whatsoever from Pepe.

  34. LBG says:

    Two misplaced passes from Dani in whole game, otherwise a monster of a performance.

  35. fred1266 says:

    You have to also consider antoio sloppy pass to haller from Mari missed tackle and and simple one from antonio

  36. LBG says:

    Before we get into a post match assessment, can anyone explain SIX shots on target for West Ham!!!
    Two weak shots from same blond, short midfielder straight at Leno in the middle of his goal. One Antonio close range header. The Leno “save” onto the post in the first few minutes and “save” towards the end, were not on target. If they are counted, Mesut’s shot and Pepe’s shot should also be included. So 4 shots on target for the Arse.

  37. Morning all

    There’s a New Post ………………

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