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Saturday 14 March 2015

West Ham Preview..

Morning all, hope everyone is looking forward to the game.

I think this game against West Ham is important in terms of where the team are at at the moment. Leave me expand on that, looking at our results in all competitions this season we have only gone more than 5 games without a loss once, which was at the start of the season before that loss away at Dortmund (What a horrible match that was). Even when you look at out Premier League results, the start of the season was also our longest run in terms of not losing, with that being 6 games before Chelsea. The longest we have went since then at any point in the season without a loss is 4, which we are currently on now. So we are on a good run at the moment, and are looking for our 5th Premier League victory in a row. That's why I think this match is important besides the obvious need to stay ahead in the top 4 race and consolidate 3rd place with a view to 2nd; consistency. Let's hope the team can go out and get that win and keep the confidence levels up ahead of Tuesday night (We can always hope, can't we?) and do what we haven't done since the start of the season and win that 5th game in a row in the league. 

I have gone through the team news in the press conference post, with the gist being the team is pretty much the same from the united win besides the return of Mathieu Flamini, and the absence of Oxlade-Chamberlain, one in and one out, it's how it always is at Arsenal. i think the manager will make a few changes to the squad, with Walcott coming in and possibly a rest for Sanchez. We might also see Ramsey getting a start. So here's the team I think Wenger will pick;


Chambers Mertesacker Koscielny Monreal

                   Coquelin  Ramsey

  Walcott               Ozil             Welbeck

I think Chambers will get a start to help with the aerial battle and to give him some game time, with Bellerin more likely to be used against Monaco on Tuesday night. I also think Gibbs will play Tuesday over Monreal; simply for the added pace both these fullbacks bring.  I know the manager said that the mid week game will not affect his team selection but I don't think there's any chance that it won't; he really wants to get through and believes we can do it. I can see him bringing Ramsey in to give Cazorla a much needed rest, and Walcott coming in for Sanchez. Welbeck should keep his place; how can you drop him after scoring at Old Trafford? Then again the more I think about it, for him to leave both Cazorla and Sanchez on the bench would be strange, but it makes sense when looked at on an individual basis.

The only changes I would make to that squad, were it to be the starting lineup, would be to start either one of Gibbs or Bellerin, and since I think playing Chambers would be a wise option in terms of dealing with the aerial threat (which he looked really solid on Monday night when he came on), I would start Gibbs. Playing both Chambers and Monreal takes a bit of pace off the team so I would always have one of Gibbs/Bellerin. I used too many names in that paragraph there, but anyway we move on.

West Ham come into this game having spent the last while in Dubai hoping to gain from the benefit of warm weather training. The Hammers also haven't won in any of their last 7 league and cup games, while Arsenal are looking at their 8th home league win in a row for the first time since November 2005. Big Sam also has a few concerns over some of him players with Song facing a late fitness test to determine whether he plays. Ener Valencia is also out injured after he cut his foot on a broken tea cup. Yes, you read that right, what do you possibly say about that? The visitors will also be without Tomkins, Reid, Carroll, and Cole. While Jenkinson is ineligible. It's nice to be able to name a reasonably long injury list for the opponents isn't it?

I'm sure Allardyce will set his team up to get in our faces and give us no space on the ball; with one aim to nick a goal from a corner, the usual carry on from his teams. We also have to worry about the counter attacks, however, with Sakho filling in for Carroll and supplied by Stewart Downing, who has looked a decent player in the centre this season. Keep an eye out for their left back, if he plays, Cresswell, who likes to get forward a lot (probably less so today) and has a good cross on him.

Right lets have a look at some stats, as per Opta;

  • Theo Walcott has scored five goals and set up three more in his last four Premier League matches against West Ham United. 
  • West Ham have won none of the last 13 Premier League fixtures against Arsenal (W0 D2 L11), losing the last eight in a row. 
  • The Hammers have scored the first goal in four of the last five Premier League  meetings with Arsenal but the Gunners have come back to win on each occasion. 
  • Olivier Giroud has scored four goals in his four Premier League appearances against West Ham.
  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League London derbies at the Emirates, but West Ham were the first team ever to beat Arsenal at their new stadium back in April 2007.
  • The Hammers have won just one of their last seven Premier League London derbies away from home.
  • Sam Allardyce has never coached a winning team away at Arsenal in the Premier League, losing seven and drawing three of his 10.
  • Olivier Giroud has scored eight goals in his last 10 Premier League starts.
  • West Ham (15) have scored the most headed goals in the Premier League, while only two teams (Burnley 17 & Stoke 11) have conceded more than Arsenal (10, same as QPR).

Right so that's your lot for now, I'll be back after the game either today or tomorrow. What do you think the team should be? What's your score prediction? Let me know in the comments below.

Come on the Gunners!!

Follow me on Twitter @ Cosmic__Kid.

Subjectively, Cosmic Kid.

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