37 Comments

Happy Gunners vs Unhappy Hammers.

Arsenal go in search of three more points when they host West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium in a Premier League clash this afternoon; with the Hammers yet to get off the mark after being well beaten by Newcastle in their opener.

Good day one and all.

Mikel Arteta will be a reasonably happy man with the Gunners for carrying their positive momentum at the end of last season into 2020/21. He would be particularly pleased with summer recruits Willian and Gabriel Magalhães, who were both imperious on debut in an overall good team performance at Craven Cottage last Saturday.

Of course, the caveat will be “yeah, but it was only Fulham”. Well, there’s no doubt that sterner tests await and only time will tell whether Gabriel is going to give us that defensive solidity we’ve missed in recent years. But also, we can only play what is in front of us and this fixture today is another we are expected to do well in; considering we’ve beaten the Hammers in 10 of their last 11 visits to the Emirates.

David Moyes’ side bounced back from their opening day disappointment with a 3-0 win over Charlton Athletic in an EFL Cup tie in midweek. However, that would have done very little to get a fickle fanbase onside.

West Ham always seem like they are just a few bad results away from total mayhem. And with a tough fixture run against six sides that finished in last season’s top eight in their upcoming six games… if they don’t find their bearings soon, it could be a long and arduous season on the horizon.

Be that as it may, Moyes has been here before and really pulled it out of the bag at the closing stages of last season to avoid relegation. However, the Gunners are in good nick, so we can expect a very subdued approach from the visitors, who will take whatever points they can get in the next six matches.

Team news

Arsenal got no new injuries concerns from their last match. Granit Xhaka who had a bit of a scare after suffering a knock is available, so is David Luiz who sat out the opener due to neck spams.

With the new arrivals we now got a good balance to rotate players, though with a week’s rest and still so early in the season that is unlikely to happen. Which only adds to the problem of having such a big squad as it will impact the playing time of several big names.

The big news this week was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang extending his Emirates stay. Getting this done was Mikel’s number one priority heading into the off-season and with “da ting” now signed… great things is expected of our captain who has scored eight goals in his last six matches in all competitions.

Predictions

The Gunners are still on an unbeaten league run at the Emirates in 2020 and based on the current contrasting forms of these two sides, I cannot see that run ending today.

Not going to predict a score but will say that we can expect more magic from our wide men who are looking sharp. COYG!

— @LaboGoon

37 comments on “Happy Gunners vs Unhappy Hammers.

  1. Thank you Labo. Hopefully this teams I pressive fire power will be on display today. Auba seems a popular player, hope they approach the game buoyed by him signing

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well Written @Labo as per usual.

    Didn’t realize we are unbeaten in 2020 at home in the PL; thought we lost one or two
    That’s a nice stat to maintain especially since it can only add points to the tally

    Expect us to win. The squad is getting a more positive vibe which cannot be quantified by just talent. personally always felt we have quite some great players and there was just something a little off as per mood with the team… more motivated by fear of losing than desire to win as is the case now.

    Wish MA had succeeded AW but it is what it is and maybe the UE years will better help us appreciate both AW and MA more so it will all work out for good

    Wish Ozil will start but I think there may be a timeline related to that… transfer window or what exactly? i cant put my finger on it.

    I am feeling it may have to do with the China market re his comments about the regime there… who knows

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We usually have a very good record at the Ems, with our Achilles heel in recent our form on the road.

    Things went sideways during the first half of last season though. In December alone we lost three league games at home. Credit to Mikel and the boys for turning that around.

    Last season was one of two halves and if we can maintain to good run thus far under Mikel, and take the good form on the road with us there’s no reason to believe we wouldn’t be amongst those fighting it out for a top-four place.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. so with David Luiz fit again will he come straight back into the starting team, if so who drops out, will it be Holding, or will Tierney move to left back with AMN missing out

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Arsenal U18 v Tottenham: Graczyk; Laing, Awe, Kirk, Ogungbo; Patino, Bandeira; Flores, Hutchinson, Taylor-Hart; Plange.

    Subs: Ejeheri, Foran, Edwards, Henry-Francis, Vigar

    Tottenham take the lead through a penalty from Scarlett

    Like

  6. Jeorge Bird
    @jeorgebird
    HT. Tottenham 1 Arsenal 0.

    Like

  7. You watch u23’s last night Ed?

    Fancy it could be an iffy season for them this year, especially if couple more go on loan.

    Saliba looked good for most part, but two or three low balls into feet intercepted, one leading to goal, and given it was him and strong in air Ballard was surprised a few crosses caused us trouble (though possibly keeper played part in that)

    Not sure why McGuinness not even on bench. With new guys not feeling Lewis or Huddersfield guy will get close to first team. Salah produces some nice moments of skill but like others this year fades in an out.

    Cottrell’s a lovely player. Balogun meanwhile again caught eye moaning too much at teammates.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Gotta say gets right up my nose when our most prominent youth blogger always talks about u23’s and manager as though they function like normal senior team, where manager works with largely same group, tasked with building cohesive team.

    Seems madness not to understand how different Bould’s role is from that.

    Combine that with the long-standing habit of always trying to give impression of being at game or getting info in direct fashion, even when all he often has is a few paltry scraps of information, sourced from good old fashioned internet searching, and, yeah, pretty annoying fellow.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. rich I think the reason why McGuinness was not involved in the U23 game last night was due to him training with the first team yesterday.

    as for the reaction to Bould and the U23’s not winning, there does seem to be a campaign to get Bould the sack, the last of the old guard if you like, and those undertaking this campaign totally ignore, as you say, the fact he is working with a different group of players weekly, his best U23’s are either with the first team – Nketiah, Willock, Nelson, Guednouzi, Saka, – out injured like Martinelli, or out on loan like John-Jules who scored today for Doncaster, Medley, Coyle.
    Also they ignore that his role is to develop players for the first team, or for sale, and the thing many of these cunts harp on about – playing lads out of position – is for the development of their game. How they hell do they think Saka for example got so good at playing different positions, it didn’t start in the first team, same with Nelson, Willock and even Nketiah was used in the reserves as a wide forward and not his main role as a striker

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Trae Coyle got what proved to be the winner today for Gillingham, 3-2 away to Wigan, Medley was an unused sub.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tyreece John-Jules with a great goal for Doncaster

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh dear!
    Plenty of time to go yet, but the PGMOL will be at the ready to step in at OT If they have to

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Need to up it by several gears. Poor effort so far: no sense of urgency. Fairly typical of the last few seasons when playing against a side the players think are beneath them. In many ways the first real test, given how average Fulham were last week and how easy it was for the palyers to buy into the high octame cup and shield games recently.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Where is everybody? Has the site died?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Fair dos. It wasn’t great tbh. Both our goals were good. Always going to be interesting whwn we had to make thngs happen. Felt, as i often do,that because our players felt they wer better they played at 90%. And 90% x 11 sees a massive drop off. Think that issue more important than the the lack of a creative genius. Mind you hard to see how Mesut wouldn’t improve things a lot in a game like today. I don’t often do this, but I’m never confident when Holding and Kolasinac play.
    Chelsea are often rubbish against West Ham so interesting that Willian played as if he’d never played before. He is much beter than he showed today..
    Think Arsene made a massive error letting Szczesny go: Leno fills our defenders with terror.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Saka’s pass for Ceballos worthy of a winning goal

    Liverpool will be familiar with the Gunners of late and they might have their new CM too, this trip to Anfield is going to be a tough fixture perhaps the hardest test of 2020 so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. not sure how anyone still thinks we don’t need Ozil, even as a sub

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Re Liverpool’s new CM. He is 29, when Aaron left Arsenal he was 27

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Labo, I love Aaron,but I think he played a good bit farther forward. They are both World class for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Mikel Arteta was delighted to hear the full-time whistle on Saturday night.

    Our head coach punched the air as his side continued their 100 per cent record in this season’s Premier League, despite the efforts of a resolute West Ham United side.

    Arteta spoke to the media after the game. Here’s a full transcript of what he had to say:

    on our performance…
    I think we were a little bit lucky in certain moments, but we found a way in the end to win it and that’s the mentality I want from the team, to always believe that we can do it until the last moment, even when we have difficult games where suffer and make it very difficult for ourselves in certain positions. But in the end it’s three points and that’s what we’re here for. We will take some big notes because there are a lot of things to improve.

    on the quality of Eddie Nketiah’s goal…
    Yeah, I think both goals were really, really good. We created some really good movements in some phases of the game, but we weren’t consistent enough and I still think that’s where we have a long way to go. We made things really hard for ourselves in the first 15 or 20 minutes with the amount of balls that we gave to the opposition without any pressure and that obviously creates uncertainty to sustain any attacks well enough. We let the opponent run which is exactly what they wanted to do, but apart from that, the way the guys kept fighting and kept going and how happy they are today because they finished the match exhausted, mentally as well. I am really glad for them.

    on whether Arsenal could be title contenders…
    No, I think we are very far from where we want to be, but I think if you ask any manager in the Premier League if they are happy with the way everything is going now for the team, it is probably no because we had a super mini pre-season and we are still adapting some things and some players are still not 100 per cent fit either. But it’s great to start winning and to have six points already and to find ways to keep winning.

    on whether it was one of our poorest performances on the ball since he took over…
    Yes, certainly in the first 15 minutes and it’s very strange because we were talking with the staff today that they had their best week in terms of decision making, quality and execution with the ball by far since I joined the club, but then in the first 15 minutes they gave the ball to the wrong colour too often. We need to improve on that and we know that we still have a lot of work to do here, but at least they kept trying and nobody tried to hide. They can make mistakes but I am not going to allow them to hide. In the end you get rewarded.

    on what it will do for Nketiah’s confidence…
    It’s so important for him and for the team as well. It’s a clear message for everybody on the bench, that they have a clear mission when they come on. Whether it’s one minute or 45 minutes, they come on to help the team and today Eddie was massively important. He did his job really well.

    on whether he wants to offer Lacazette an extension…
    He’s a player I’m really happy with. I think we’ve shown him a lot of faith since I arrived here. But we cannot start any speculation. We know that any player who is under two years of their contract is always going to be talked about.

    on whether they’re in talks over a new contract at the moment…
    At the moment, we haven’t started any negotiations. We have a lot of things still to do in this market and at the moment we are focusing on those things.

    on whether he’s had to change mentality to win games like this…
    I had a sense after about 55 or 65 minutes that we were dropping. I could see the team were a little bit giving up because it was difficult, they were suffering and they were being a threat in two or three moments. I tried to lift them up and suddenly they clicked. I saw a different team in the last 20 minutes, with more belief, much better focus and determination in what we were trying to do. At the end we won the game. We’re going to have games like that. With the amount of games we have to play in this calendar year, it’s going to happen. The most important thing is to find a way to win.

    on whether that was a tactical change…
    I think it was two things but at the end of the day they have to go and execute it. I believe that we finished the game more strongly.

    on Kieran Tierney…
    Kieran is fine. He had a little muscular discomfort in the last few days. He tried today and worked in the warm-up but he wasn’t feeling comfortable today.

    on Kieran Tierney injury…
    Well, we could not control it. We believed that he was going to be fit but during the warm-up, in the last 10 minutes, he said he wasn’t feeling OK. We had to make a decision. We were prepared just in case and Kola came on and had a good game.

    on finding the balance between team spirit and tactics…
    I think there has to be a balance there. It’s how you keep the team alive all the time, on their toes and with the right spirit. It’s something that you have to look at every day and try to fit it in the right way, to try and sustain it because it’s so easy to lose. Then obviously, the tactical discipline, the understanding of what the game requires in each moment to make the right decisions. Again, it’s vital and the standard that we have in the Premier League I think it’s key as well but I think they are both really important.

    on Eddie and Dani combining for the goal after falling out…
    That’s the beauty of this sport, they were in the headlines last week for something that happened between them, it would have been negative. Today, they found a way to understand each other and create a winning goal.

    on if today shows why the club might be looking for central midfield options…
    No, I think they’ve been really good since I joined the club [Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos]. Not only then but also this season, he deserved to play again today but I just wanted to rotate. I thought it was a game where we were going to attack the spaces and the way they defended, we wanted to create some situations with Dani there but if we can strengthen the team then we’re going to try and do that. Until the market is gone, everything is still open.

    on central midfield being an area to look at before the end of the transfer window…
    Well, depending on what happens with some other players… As I say again, we are open to discussions, the market can surprise us. [Teams] can come for any of our players in different positions and we have to react, like it happened with Emi. So let’s see what happens.

    Copyright 2020 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

    Like

  21. some journos suggesting that there may be a surprise sale or two from AFC in the next two weeks, some of the guys who have played in our two opening EPL games, AMN, Bellerin, Elneny, Holding and even Lacazette who has scored in both games, are being hinted at as the most likely to go, along with some of those already seen as likely departures, Chambers, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Torreira
    Arteta did hint himself that there may be the sale of someone not mentioned in the media yet and that we might only see signings, other than Goalkeepers, if we sell some players first.

    On the goalkeeper signings, Arteta said one signing was close, Runnarson, and that Macey might leave, so we may see Runnarson as 3rd choice, and Raya come in as Martinez’s replacement.

    We are currently overstocked in non homegrown players, so if we do bring in more there has to be sales of non homegrown players or we end up having players we can’t register in the EPL squad, although they would still be able to play in all cup competitions

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Ed. (Back to that 5.34 before game). Yep. Suppose it’s comical to be covering the youth teams and not understand their nature and function.
    Keeps referring to the run without a win for Bould/u23’s which is mostly made up with games from last season. Daft.

    Interesting to see McGuinness training, might be a case of keeping him onside because not down for u23 game or maybe just replacing Saliba to make up numbers.

    His performance was good enough the other day to put him in contention for league cup though, I reckon.

    On that, I’d guess Willock, Reiss, Nketiah all in line to start. Otherwise, when are first two likely to play this season?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Shouldn’t comment without seeing game but highlights a little unnerving on keeper front. Or perhaps truth is I’m still just convinced Martinez better and its the old confirmation bias.
    Saw a tweet or two which resonated -‘Leno is an outstanding shot-stopper but he just doesn’t make me feel comfortable like Emi did’.- that one in particular.

    I’ll try not to go on about it all year!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Hard to know if it’s Covid weirdness but still all feels far more unsettled than normally would be at this stage of season.

    Goodness knows the reality of who could actually leave, permanently or on loan, but it feels like a lot, with even Bellerin and AMN still possibillities. I’ll guess there’ll be one permanent maybe two, and probably 2 or 3 loans.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Rich for the League cup game surely we see most if not all of the subs from yesterday, maybe not Macey, maybe the new guy will be signed in times to make his debut, or will Arteta stick with Leno in the cup too.

    So David Luiz, Willock, Elneny, Nketiah, Maitland-Niles and Pepe all likely to start, surely Cedric comes in at right back and Saliba for his debut at CB, so with a keeper that is 9 of the team right there.

    Keeper

    Cedric, Saliba, David Luiz, AMN
    Elneny, Willock
    Pepe, Nketiah,

    I’d say Saka and Ceballos will both start again, or if we go with 3 CB’s then Holding might play again.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. it will be interesting to see if either Guendouzi or Ozil are brought back into the squad for Leicester game in the cup on Wednesday, or if Arteta’s everyone has a clean slate is purely and utterly PR bullshit.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Lacazette has less than 2 years left on his contract and Arteta admitted yesterday that there has been no talks over a new contract, he is 29, so much for the new way of doing things where no player with transfer value would be allowed to go past 2 years left on contract without new deal being done or them being sold.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. No Nelson Ed? If not in starting line up I’d say writing really on wall- either for loan out or permanent. Arteta was effusive in praise for him at one point I thought

    Bit of fun trying to predict things but at moment I truly don’t have a clue. Settle on something- like Elneny starting midweek (so unlucky to play as he did first game and then drop out)- but really it depends on what situation is behind scenes in terms of players we are willing or actively looking to sell.

    I would stick neck out and say Cedric a cert though. Eddie and Joe close to that as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. League cup used to be strongly associated with us giving at least a few their first taste of action so still a chance I guess of that happening- Ballard, McGuinness, and Cottrell only contenders I can think of. Ballard would seem strong favourite as new international status probably puts distance between him and others, for time being.

    Suppose Olayinka and Balogun but latter perhaps ruled out completely by contract thing. I’d be very tempted to chuck him in. More than capable of scoring a goal and that would seem to strengthen our hand to me. One striker injury and we’ll look short this season.

    Would seem to, balance of probability, slightly increase chance of him signing up; and would surely increase chance of club paying bigger fee should he look good. Very intrigued by reality of that one behind scenes, but guess there’s little chance of ever knowing it- either he goes or stays is all we’ll ever find out.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Firstly I would like to apologize as I was one of the absentees from the sight Saturday and I would like to congratulate LG on another excellent preview.
    Now on the game, wow that was crap what a bad performance with even the usual 8 out 10 bankers not playing well.
    However as Arteta said we scored two very good goals that maybe we wouldn’t of done in the last few seasons.
    I like Sead he’s the sort of bloke you think would be great down the pub and is popular with fans because of his 100% efforts but sadly his time must surely up now.
    As noone had a good game it is difficult to criticize the keeper but on the one aspect we were saying Emi was far superior to him he had a mare yesterday. Flipping and flapping his hands in the air like he just didn’t care just after the sale of Martinez must have all Gooners worried for the season ahead. I hope he improves but it looks like we’ve made a massive mistake even if it is very early to judge.
    I really don’t understand the rules anymore as I thought Auba’s head was offside and the handball seems to change weekly.
    It it always easier to sell players who are playing but there are players who we will find it difficult getting in squad if they are not gone at the end of the window.
    It is brilliant to have two wins from two having played badly and knowing we can put in better performances in the more difficult fixtures coming up.

    Like

  31. the Ozil haters trying to make something out of him training with the reserves yesterday, something that is not unusual for those senior players not included in the first team match day squad. I would bet that he was not the only senior player to be in that training session, I would expect that all those not in the 19 for the WHU game were there too. Guendouzi, Torreira, Cedric, Sokratis, Chambers, Nelson, etc would all have been there,

    And even if others not involved is it not a great sign of his commitment to the club that he is doing extra training, I bet none of the haters have even considered that

    Liked by 1 person

  32. rich sdaly there are reports that Sheffield Utd have made progress in talks to sign Balogun on a permanent deal.

    some reports from Newcastle that after their failed bid to sign Holding they have now opened talks to sign Chambers, others clubs who were linked with Holding are now also being linked to a move for Chambers, with Leeds, West Ham, Fulham and Brighton all being linked. Maybe Southampton will be interested on their old boy after their performance today

    reports in Spain suggest that Torreira is in talks with Atletico Madrid

    Liked by 1 person

  33. as for Kolasinac’s performance, for me his confidence is shot, there is little sign of the marauding left wing back that won Schalke’s player of the year and got in the German league team of the year, the season we signed him up on a bosman, nor the man who bombed forward for us in the opening months of his time here. He now plays like he is confused as to what he should do, where he should move to, who he should be passing to, and any one who has played any sport to any reasonable level will know that once you have doubt, or hesitate in what you are doing or intend doing, your level drops, you make mistakes, and many times the chance is lost. The best advice I ever received from a coach when having a loss of form was that its better to go with your instinct, do what first comes to mind, don’t second guess yourself, that its better to make the wrong choice than to not make a choice at all, but whatever choice you make, do it with full commitment, so if nothing else its done at max speed. When I look at Kolasinac I see a player doubting himself

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Ramsey had a man of the match performance for Juventus tonight, it seems pirlo knows how to get the best out of him

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Just in the brief highlights Kola looked lost out there. Pretty rough on him how it’s panned out. Had a very specific role I believe in that great year he had at Schalke- a case of either by luck or judgement a role being found to bring strengths to fore and minimise weaknesses.

    Once here, I have vague memories of plenty of good days in the early part of his career, again I think in pretty specific role, which mostly suited him. Don’t think he’s a natural full back, or centre back, or even wing back unless team playing a certain way.

    For some time now it’s just looked really tough for him. Think Ed has covered the causes and symptoms well. I hope he can find a good home and recover form and confidence

    Liked by 1 person

  36. if reports are to be believed we will see the exit of Torreira, Sokratis, Chambers, Kolasinac and Mustafi this week or next, with possibly a couple of others too, Macey and Nelson rumored to be possible departures too, God knows what is going to happen with Guendouzi, it seems the whole host of Top Clubs who his agent expected to come in for him has not happened, with only the agents surprised, well them and some idiots in our fan base. Maitland-Niles is still of interest to several clubs, as is Holding.

    the signing of Runnarson should be announced shortly, it remains to be seen if we can get Raya from Brentford too.
    The Partey and Aouar rumors persist (going to be some amount of ire if we don;t sign at least one of them, and lots of egg on faces of the ITK’s,) as does links to Celtic’s French striker Edouard, but that is said to hinge on us selling Lacazette

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