Now that last is from Simon Hughes, and it continues the newspaper’s theme that there is not even a fraction of a possibility that there is anything wrong with having a very tiny number of referees, an organisation that won’t reveal how it gets its figure of 98% accuracy for referees, and statistics that show that the distribution of yellow cards is both odd, and influential.
So the injury and missing list goes like this…
- Jack Wilshire
- Tomas Rosicky
- David Ospina ? (Not mentioned in dispatches)
- Alexis Sánchez (Some papers suggesting he will be on the bench, one even suggesting he will play – I can’t see that.)
- Danny Welbeck
This compares with the list for the club formally known as West Ham United
- Enner Valencia
- Andy Carroll (of course)
- Carl Jenkinson (not allowed out)
- Winston Reid (not sure)
- Joey O’Brien (not sure)
- Pedro Obiang (not fully match fit)
State Aid United, as the club is now known, were tipped by some maniac drifter who wandered into a newspaper office, to break into the top four last season after they won two matches in a row.
In fact they ended up 12th, and missed relegation by 12 points.
Anyway onto the team…
Monreal Koscielny Mertesacker Bellerín
Ramsey Özil Oxlade-Chamberlain
Walcott or Giroud
Some of Martínez or Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Gabriel, Arteta, Walcott of Giroud, Flamini, Chambers, Campbell, Zelalem, Iwobi
As for those jolly if meaningless statistics
- Arsenal are undefeated in 35 of their last 37 home matches in the Premier League.
- West Ham have failed to score in their last four away matches in the Premier League.
- West Ham have failed to win their last 12 away matches in the Premier League.
- There have been two goals or less scored in West Ham’s last four away games in the Premier League.
- The last 10 games between the two clubs have been won by Arsenal.
What’s more Arsenal have lost their opening Premier League game just once in the last 14 seasons (W9, D4) – and that was very much a referee assisted 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa in 2013, after which we picked quite a bit. West Ham United however have lost nine times on the opening weekend of a Premier League season – more than any other club. Quite a record, and one to extend I think.
However, we don’t win that often at the start, just one victory in the past five years, against Crystal Palace last season.
Having secured third we didn’t do much at the end of last season leading to the rather odd statistic that we have failed to score in three of the last four home league games.
Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in five league games against West Ham – which could give us a clue as to who starts.
They are also without a win in 12 Premier League away games since 2 December 2014.In recent years we have had…
- 14 March 2015: Arsenal 3 West Ham 0
- 28 December 2014: West Ham 1 Arsenal 2
- 14 April 2014: Arsenal 3 West Ham 1
- 26 December 2013: West Ham 1 Arsenal 3
- 23 Jan 2013: Arsenal 5 West Ham 1
- 6 October 2012: West Ham 1 Arsenal 3
So what state are the State Aid club in, apart from being miffed that the BBC rumbled that they won’t even be paying the match day staff as part of the deal of being donated the unwanted Olympic Stadium?
As we know, Arsenal have completed a pre-season in which they won every public game for only the second time in their entire history.
State Aid Utd’s pre-season outside of Europe was… two wins, two draws, two defeats, although to be fair the team they put out against Colchester wasn’t really the first team.
- 11 July: Peterborough 3 State Aid 3
- 18 July: Southend 2 State Aid 3
- 21 July: Colchester 1 State Aid 0
- 25 July: Charlton 0 State Aid 0
- 28 July: Norwich 0 State Aid 1
- 2 August: State Aid 1 Werder Bremen 2
But additionally they played some Europa League games, having qualified through the fair play rules and so under the rules changed their name to Fair Play Utd.
- 2 July: Fair Play United 3 Lusitanos 0
- 9 July: Lusitanos 0 Fair Play 1 (Diafra Sakho sent off for Fair Play)
- 16 July: Fair Play 1 Birkirkara 0
- 23 July: FC Birkirkara 1 Fair Play 0 (3-5 pens): Tomkins sent off
- 30 July: Fair Play United 2 Astra Giurgiu 2 (Slaven Bilic, Fair Play’s manager, sent to the stands; James Collins sent off.)
- 6 August: Astra Giurgiu 2 Fair Play Utd 1
So having become Fair Play Utd they were forced to change their name again – hence State Aid Utd, and they have played a lot of games, and done a lot of travelling.
Thus we might expect quite a feisty match as they try to redeem themselves from losing in the Europa qualifiers, and from all the talk about their being in receipt of illicit State Aid, thanks to Mayor Boris, and the reluctance of other clubs to refer them to the European Commission.
That puts the pressure on the referee, who as we have seen in the referee preview, gives decisions which would have been more correct if he had awarded each incident on a toss of a coin.
This therefore could be troublesome. But if Arsenal can just get a couple of early goals that should settle the referee down a bit.
5-1 to the Arsenal methinks.
Right, off we go to the Ems once more.