@LaboGoon at the head of an orderly queue
Good day one and all.
Arsenal is travelling to the London Stadium this afternoon to take on West Ham United; after a mini break from Premier League action last weekend as the FA Cup took centerstage.
Ah… West Ham. That 3-1 win against them at the Ems in the reverse fixture started so many good things. Unai Emery’s first win as Arsenal coach. The first in the 22 game unbeaten run. Players previously jeered getting cheered as they seemingly were finally got coached. Gooners full of joy as they sing and danced, “yea, we got our Arsenal back, wooooo”.
But we know what they say about good things right…
Without getting into detail I’ll just say the last two days has been fun and we got our Arsenal twitter and blog-sphere back. Phew!
The Hammers is a bit of a conundrum. History tells they have won just once in the last 23 meetings (in all competitions) between these two teams, yet we never expect them to be pushovers. Which I think is an acknowledge of the quality they always had over the years, they just haven’t always play to their strengths. This is where Manuel Pellegrini is sage.
Following a slow start to the campaign the Hammers are showing reasonably fine form despite a lack of points to show for it. Their summer recruit Felipe Anderson has been one of their standout performers and Arnautovic can single handedly turn games for his team. Throw the experience of Samir Nasri in there and you got a trio that can have a real go at any team that appear to be defensively suspect, especially in front of their own fans.
The Gunners did well to get some confidence back by starting the year with back-to-back wins after a heavy defeat at Anfield, but we know we can’t stop now if we have serious designs on getting back a Champions League spot and the riches it brings, so we need to be leaving our hearts out there as we near the business end of the season. Unai had a few problems in recent weeks most notably defensive injuries, but has been handed a major boost as six players resumed full training and now for the first time this season he has a full compliment of defensive players, bar Rob Holding of course, to select from. Being without a PL away clean sheet all season and an away win in four games (2D 2L), hopefully the right corners will soon get turned.
I suspect Unai’s greatest section headache will be whether to start Ramsey, who has shown good form and confidence, and Özil who we will need battle read with matches against Chelsea, Mancity and Manutd on the horizon.
West Ham are playing good football and look easy on the eye, but they are not a soft touch so we will have to be on top of our game if we want to return to the Emirates with all the points.
This could be a very anxious game of football for both sets of fans as both teams won’t want today to be their first defeat of the new year. However, with both sides possessing players that pose an attacking threat, it would be a surprise to see either keeping a clean sheet and this game could keep up on the edge of seats till the final minutes.
All the makings of a lunchtime classic.