WEST HAM UNITED
The Boleyn Ground, London
Saturday, October 6, 12:30 p.m. EST
The Gunners face West Ham United later today and expect some good fight from the Hammers. Arsenal travel to Upton park on the back of a convincing home victory over Olympiakos on Wednesday, however defeat to Chelsea last weekend is what Arsenal will be looking to overcome. It is back to back London derbies for Arsenal and Wenger will not be happy to lost points in consecutive games.
Sam Allardyce Vs Arsene Wenger
Perhaps what spices up the match is the the touchline rivalry between both the coaches. The match will rekindle the rivalry that goes back during the times when Arsenal were fighting for the title and Allardyce was managing Bolton Wanderers. Wenger often criticised Allardyce for his physical approach to the game and this time around the Hammers boss has asked his team to focus on Arsenal’s game and it is clear that the big Sam will put out his strongest line-up to test the Gunners, who are known to be fragile when playing against physical oppositions. An if Carroll plays upfront, Arsenal definitely need Mertesacker in the heart of their defense to stop the towering center forward.
Things you should know:
- Arsenal have lost just one of their last 11 Premier League away games (W6 D4 L1).
- Wenger does not have a good away record against Sam Allardyce, winning only two games out of the nine games played.
- There have been four penalties awarded in the last four Premier League meetings between West Ham and Arsenal.
- Arsenal’s record against West Ham has been impressive, Gunners have won six and lost none of the last eight Premier League encounters against the Hammers.
- The Hammers were the last Premier League side to win at Highbury and the first team to win at the Emirates Stadium.
- West Ham have lost just one of their last 16 league games at Upton Park (W8 D7 L1).
- Arsenal have only had fewer points after six games of a Premier League season in two of the previous 20 seasons, seven in 2011-12 and five in 1994-95.
- Only one team in Premier League history has had fewer than 10 points after six games and gone on to win the title – Man Utd 2002-03.
- Gervinho has scored three goals from just three shots on target in the Premier League this season.
- West Ham scored the most goals from set plays in the 2011-12 Championship, while the last three league goals Arsenal have conceded have come from dead ball situations.
- West Ham picked up eight yellow cards in their last match (v QPR), an all-time Premier League record
West Ham: WLDDW
Possible Line -ups and Prediction:
Arsenal : Mannone(GK) – Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs – Arteta, Cazorla, Coquelin – Gervinho, Giroud, Podolski.
West Ham United : Jaaskelainen (GK) – Demel, Collins, Reid, McCartney; Diame, Noble, Vaz Te, Nolan, Jarvis; Cole.
The main battle is in the midfield today, if the Gunners can keep the ball in their feet without giving away cheap possession to West Ham then it will be difficult for the Hammers to move the ball forward and if Arsenal manage to stop Cole or Carroll then the Gunners can come back with the 3 points. It will probably not be a very high quality game or a truly enjoyable one but avoiding basic mistakes could avert frustration at the final whistle.
Prediction: 1-2 win to the Gunners