Arsenal vs West Ham preview: Selection headache for Arsene, plus favourite line-up
Written by Chris on October 29, 2010 19:30
After easing past Newcastle United in the Carling Cup, Arsenal are back in action in the English Premier League in what will hopefully be an easy game against bottom-of-the-table West Ham United.
We approach tomorrow’s game knowing that there’s plenty of solutions for our manager to opt for especially in midfield and in the offensive department. It is of course the last game Jack Wilshere will miss through suspension as we welcome back Laurent Koscielny who was superb against the Magpies on Wednesday.
A question raised this week on our website was who would you start with if all our players were fit. It’s funny to think of Arsenal with all players available and in fact Kieran Gibbs is out for weeks just to make sure this pattern is not followed although it would be fair to say that we’re not that far away from having a full squad to choose from.
The advantage of this – besides the obvious reasons of course – is that pressure is put on players who are not performing as one would expect.
Two players who have been under the microscope for us this season are Andrey Arshavin and Gael Clichy and the Russian should be particularly concerned now that Theo Walcott is back and scoring goals. Martin Keown believes he will be the one to lose his place when Robin returns from injury and I can’t say I disagree. Andrey can be extremely important for us, as he demonstrated against Manchester City when we took the lead, but as it is for every player, consistency is the key.
Gael Clichy is no longer under this sort of pressure now that Kieran is out of the picture but I still hope he steps it up especially when he has to deal with high balls, an area he’s extremely weak at.
To conclude, it seems Manuel Almunia’s future at Arsenal is more and more uncertain. What started as an elbow injury is turning into a nightmare for the Spaniard who will find it extremely hard to retain his place in the regular team once fit with Wojciech Szczęsny’s performance on Wednesday surely not helping his cause.
As always, my favourite line-up is below. Remember you can submit your own at Arsenal Interactive and then share it on Twitter and Facebook.
West Ham United
Avram Grant’s players made it a habit to concede at least three goals when they play. A quick look at their results so far and you’ll notice how they conceded three – or more – in five games if we are to include the pre-season friendly against Burton Albion. And that’s no good when you’re about to face the goal-machine that is Arsenal.
Former Gunner Matthew Upson is set to miss the game with a hamstring injury with striker Frederic Piquionne doubtful with a leg problem.
It’s too early to say whether Wojciech is ready to be our regular goalkeeper. Remember in fact how Lukasz had a brilliant game in the Carling Cup against Newcastle a couple of seasons ago but then we all know what happened as he was involved more and more in the regular team.
Lukasz is doing well, exceptionally well and I hope he can keep it up. To complete the defensive department, Laurent – as I said – is back and will surely start alongside Sebastien with Gael on the left and Emmanuel on the right. Bacary was supposed to be rested on Wednesday but was forced into action and although Eboue also played the full 90 minutes, I would give him the nod as I believe there will be plenty of going forward in the game.
In midfield, the Cesc-Alex-Denilson trio should start with Samir on the left and Theo on the right supporting Marouane. I believe Theo deserves to start after his mid-week brace and I would use Nicklas only in the second half ahead of the Champions League against FC Shakhtar.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes seven teams can win the title this season, including struggling Liverpool and Aston Villa.
It looks unlikely that Liverpool will win it but you can’t rule them completely out because mathematically the gap is not massive and they have a quality squad.
Overall it is very tight at the top and two conclusions come out of that. The consistency will be rewarded in the end and that everybody can drop points against everybody.
Even if you look at the teams that are in the second half of the table at the moment they are not far and, if they have a run of two or three good games, they can aspire to be in Europe.
I believe that the League is very difficult and you have to be focused for every single game or you will drop points. But realistically seven teams could win the League.
West Ham’s Avram Grant was full of praise for Arsenal and the way they dominated against Chelsea and eased past Manchester City. He described the Gunners as one of the best teams in Europe but added how his players will approach the game believing they can win.
It is always a problem to play against Arsenal at the Emirates. They lost to Chelsea but dominated 80% of the game, against Manchester City they played very good.
Arsenal are one of the best in Europe so it is difficult.
But we are trying to build a winning mentality. You need to have the desire to win every game.
The Gunning Hawk Coverage
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And of course, don’t forget you’re still in time to pick your preferred team for this game. And when the final whistle blows, don’t forget to rate the players, comment on their performances and share your personal ratings with your friends. All this and more, available at http://www.arsenal-interactive.com.