West Ham are NOT Arsenal’s bogey team

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Arsenal travel to Upton Park this weekend for the Premiership clash with West Ham United looking for their first win in four attempts against their fellow Londoners.

Arsene Wenger’s side lost twice to West Ham last year, the second an unbelieveable 1-0 defeat totally against the run of play, and know a win will give them every chance of extending their lead at the top of the league. Unfortunately for Arsenal, they will still be without William Gallas and Tomas Rosicky, but on a more positive note, may have Alexander Hleb back for the important clash. 

“We’ll have to assess the situation of Alex Hleb. We’ll look at that on Friday morning. William Gallas is maybe a week or 10 days away. As for Rosicky you can probably fix the date for Sunderland [next Sunday]. Jens Lehmann will be another week.”

I have a feeling Walcott might get a start against West HamWith all of those casualties in mind, the starting team could be quite hard to predict. Manuel Almunia will definitely continue in goals with Jens Lehmann still “injured”, whilst Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy will no doubt feature on the right and left respectively. Central defence is another issue entirely. Gilberto Silva did not feature either last weekend against Derby or in the midweek clash against Newcastle. Philippe Senderos did start in the Carling Cup game and for this reason I can see the Brazilian returning to the starting lineup to partner Kolo Toure. With Senderos currently in poor form I think it’s a move that has to be made to ensure the defence is at its best against West Ham.

Irrespective of whether Gilberto or Senderos start in central defence, Mathieu Flamini should keep his spot alongside Cesc Fabregas in the heart of midfield. Flamini has been in the best form of his career and is really starting to strike up an understanding with little Fabregas and for that reason right now, he is undroppable. Assuming both Hleb and Rosicky miss out it will be two of Abou Diaby, Denilson, Theo Walcott or Emmanuel Eboue who start in the two wide midfield positions. At this stage I would be leaning towards Diaby on the left and Walcott on the right, but that is based on nothing more than gut feeling.

That’s right, Nigel Reo Coker plays for Aston Villa now!Arsenal more than just Fabregas

Up front will be Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie, the latter of which will be returning from a well-earned two-week rest. With Adebayor in great form and van Persie fresh West Ham will have a great deal of trouble keeping one or both of them off the scoresheet. I would say good luck to West Ham, but I don’t think it’s going to help them despite the suggestion from Dave Evans of the Newham Recorder that West Ham supporters believe that they are Arsenal’s bogey team.

“There is no reason why Alan Curbishley shouldn’t send out his side to attack Arsenal. I think West Ham fans are thinking that they are perhaps a bogey side for Arsenal. I think Nigel Reo-Coker marked [Fabregas ]out of the game [last season] and they got a late winner. If they can do that again to Fabregas there’s no reason why they shouldn’t get the result.”

I find that comment amusing for a few reasons. Firstly, if Alan Curbishley is silly enough to come at Arsenal all guns blazing then they are going home with a three-goal loss and zero points. That is not the way to play Arsenal and it never will be and if that’s what they choose to do then they will regret it. Secondly, Nigel Reo-Coker is now an Aston Villa player and I don’t believe West Ham have anyone in midfield who could do as good a marking job as he did in the corresponding fixture last season. Finally, while Fabregas may be in the best form of his career simply marking him out of the game will not be enough. There is still Adebayor, van Persie, Clichy, Flamini (the list goes on…) who have the ability to break open the game at any moment and make the difference.

For that reason I think Arsenal will continue their unbeaten streak and win the match. While I think West Ham is a very strong side who will cause the Arsenal defence some problems, I think Wenger’s boys are in such good form and have so much going for them at the moment that they will do the job. Flamini hasn’t scored a goal yet this season and it’s about time he does, so I’m going for a 2-0 Arsenal win and the Frenchman to grab his first of the campaign.

Just as a side note, one of the first posts I ever wrote for this blog was about Arsenal’s 1-0 loss at home last season to West Ham. It was one of the most frustrating games I have ever watched as an Arsenal supporter and if it happens again their will be trouble. If you can’t remember why it was so frustrating, just click here.

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal’s clash with West Ham by leaving a comment.


18 thoughts on “West Ham are NOT Arsenal’s bogey team

  1. Gilberto should start in the middle with Toure. Eboue has to come in on the right, Walcott as he showed agains Derby is not ready to be playin in the Premier league until he can start making the right decisions in the final 3rd. His build up is great but his final ball and shooting are just ridiculous. If the boys play the way they’ve been, we should leave with at least a point if not 3. It is the toughest game of the season so far tho.

  2. It will be interesting to see who gets that right midfield position. For all we know it could well be Hleb, if he gets fit. Denilson, Walcott and Eboue all started against Derby so they’re all as tired/fresh as each other – I guess it will come down to Wenger’s decision. There is also the possibility of Eduardo slipping in on the left and Diaby moving to the right, but I think that is unlikely. I agree, a very tough game coming up.

  3. Yes, one goo dthing to note, last year with all the shots we had against West ham and didnt score, that one game sumed up the season for us. Our boys had games like that the whole season, we dominated games and didnt score the goals. BUT this year, it seems that it has changed, and those shots that may have not gone in last year are starting to go in this year. Last year that Diaby, Derby goal probably woulda came back off the post and out, but this year it was a great goal.

  4. Dead right. Exactly the reason why I think we’re going to win. That was the most FRUSTRATING game I have ever watched – along with the 0-0 with CSKA and another 0-0 a few seasons ago against Fulham. Grr!

  5. I think the boys have stoped trying to “walk it in” and are startin to fancy their chances from range. And why not, they’re going in. 3-1 or 3-0 to the gunners. I think it will be nice to score at least three and show Freddie how ambitious we are. While he takes up his position on the sidelines again.

  6. basically all this season, i wanted a ruthless arsenal and so far we are blady ruthless and this is the difference from last season. our team are fighting for each other and we becoming clinical as well. confidence means everything and we had all the confidence in the world when we went 49 unbeaten then after that we didnt do much.
    so i think west ham fluked two wins over us last season and they know they did.

  7. Isn’t Senderos still suspended?

    If so then Gilberto will have to partner Kolo at the back, also I would play Eboue on the right and Dudu on the left with Ade and RVP up front. Despite how well the Flamster has been playing lately I wouldn’t be surprised to see Diarra start alongside Fabby to add a bit more muscle to the team. You can mark Fabby out the game if you want to but that will only create even more space for Clichy and Sagne to get down the wings for Ade and RVP, silly silly Hammers. 🙂

  8. To my knowledge Senderos only received a one match ban. He is available. Please let me know if this is incorrect. I don’t think Eduardo should EVER start in the midfield. We need him fresh in case one of the other strikers isn’t firing.

  9. Arsenal team has made a most impressive and stylish start to the season,in all competitions,on this note I think Arsenal will beat West Ham.(Arsenal 4 – West Ham 1)
    Adebayor-Van Persie.
    Fabianski-Denilson-walcott-Eboue-Senderos-Eduardo and Bendtner.
    (Arsenal 4- West Ham 1)

  10. I think they will be attacking from the word go as Bellamy and co are expected to do. Diaby/Edouardo, Van Persie and Adebayor will respond accordingly. This is an encounter designed for multiple scores of 4-5 goals. Diaby and Edouardo are guaranteed to get on scoresheet and one to of them to score more than once.

  11. Team against West Ham:
    Van Persie-Adebayor.
    Fabianski-Denilson-walcott-Senderos and Bendtner.
    Score HT : 0-1 Arsenal leading
    FT : 1-1 Mistake from Almunia

    But I hope the score line will be 0-2 to Arsenal. RvP & Eboue the scorers.

  12. eduardo is injured you guys and hleb is fit so i doubt whether eboue would start! but i believe with the way the team is going we’ll take all three points! and i dont believe westham is the toughest game of the season so far because blackburn and portsmouth are better than westham!

  13. I think instead of laoning ou of Djouruou We could have loaned out Senderos.He could have got the confidence he desperately needs

  14. I think instead of loanning out Djouruou We could have loaned out Senderos.He could have got the confidence he desperately needs

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