It’s another weekend of EPL football and this time it’s also another London derby at the Emirates Stadium between Arsenal FC vs West Ham United
After an unusually long 2019/2020 season, football returns to the Emirates in a London derby.
Arsenal is on a very fine form at the moment, beginning their 2020/2021 season with victories over Liverpool in the FA community shield and away to Fulham where they won 3-0 on the opening day of the season. In contrasting form lies West Ham United who lost at home on the opening day of the season to Newcastle United but responded with a 3-0 mid-week victory in the Carabao cup over Charlton Athletic.
ARSENAL TEAM NEWS
The Gunners’ convincing 3-0 away at Fulham was a perfect way to start the EPL after a relatively successful first season for Mikel Arteta, winning the F.A Cup and Community Shield within few months. The biggest takeaway from the match is how influential Willian and Gabriel Magalhães were towards the success of the team. Two assists for Willian, a goal and a clean sheet for Gabriel were all Arteta could ask for in their first match, however, it was an all-round display from the team that ensured a perfect Gameweek 1 for the Gunners.
The Gunners will be boosted by the return of David Luiz to full training, having sat out their opening day victory against Fulham due to a knee injury but the biggest boost for Mikel Arteta’s men will be the big news of the week when their talismanic skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finally signed a new 3-year deal that will keep him at the club until 2023.
Also, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez finally left the Gunners to sign for Aston Villa after failing to pin down the first-choice shot-stopper for the Gunners. On the treatment table still lies Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari, Sokratis, Smith Rowe, Calum Chambers, and Gabriel Martinelli. The rest of the players have had a full week of rest so we expect them to be firing on all cylinders.
WESTHAM TEAM NEWS
Westham ended the last campaign with confidence after Antonio’s blistering form post-Covid period, however, the Hammers lost their first game of the season against Newcastle in the game they dominated. Westham will be looking to avoid the relegation battle for the second year in a row as such it is expected that the game this weekend will be a tough one for Arsenal. Mid-week win over Charlton Athletic in the EFL cup might be the confidence the Hammers need to cause an upset at Arsenal.
Moyes’ approach to the game is in doubt, it is, however, likely that Westham best chances may come from set-piece considering Arsenal’s solid team. What is not in doubt is the great match coming up and the spectacle it promises to give to fans of both teams, this is despite the Gunners faithful absence on Saturday.
The Hammers will have Manuel Lanzini available for the trip to the Emirates after he overcame injury issues and is in contention to start. Felipe Anderson was on target in the mid-week Carabao cup against Charlton Athletic as well as Sebastian Haller, who was also on target. This gives David Moyes some selection headache.
Laca Laca Boom!
WHAT TO EXPECT
Arsenal’s quick transition is something the Hammers should be wary of, the pattern has been organized and fluid hence, Westham should always be careful when leaving their half. It is no gainsaying that Aubameyang is the best striker in EPL today and can produce something from nothing. This is one threat the hammers have to deal with. I wonder if they can.
Arsenal needs to pay attention to their defensive aerial duels, considerable improvement was apparent in the last match, however playing against an established Westham side needs more consistency especially, With the likes of Haller, Antonio, Diop among others, Arsenal really needs to be careful conceding set-piece attempts.
With Luiz still out, it is expected that Gabriel will be starting his second game in a row, although Mo Elneny had a fantastic outing at Fulham I would nevertheless choose Ceballos to start ahead of him. Hence the following is the predicted starting line-up.
on how we will approach West Ham...
Well they have many strengths and some weaknesses like we all have. I know David, the manager, really well and I know what he will be trying to do tomorrow to hurt us as well. It will be a tough game and I am expecting a difficult battle tomorrow.
~ Mikel Arteta
ARSENAL Possible Line-up: (3-4-3)
Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Ceballos, Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
WESTHAM Possible Line-up: (4-3-3)
Fabianski; Fredericks; Diop; Ogbonna; Cresswell; Soucek; Rice; Bowen; Noble; Anderson; Antonio
Arsenal have won 10 of their last 11 fixtures against the Hammers at the Emirates, with the most recent being a 1-0 victory. Prior to that, last season Arsenal won away to West Ham 3-1. The last time West Ham won away at the Emirates was back in 2015/2016 season when they won 2-0 on the opening day of the season. Hence, this fixture tends to go in favour of the Gunners going with their most recent record against the Hammers.
Our prediction: Arsenal 2 – 0 West Ham United
Match Preview by Patrick Alexander & Yomi Babalola