By Bulldog Drummond
Yes it is always rather nice to go along to the so-called “London Stadium” and think “I paid for this through the taxation I paid the state year after year.” It gives me that extra bit of ownership, although my experience there has been that the stewards never quite realise that I ought to be given some recognition for the part I played in paying for the stadium.
Should there not be a list of all the taxpayers for the period of the stadium’s building and conversion on a plaque outside the ground? OK it would be quite large – in fact it would go all the way around the ground, but at least it would note the sacrifice of the many taxpayers for the few who attend.
Indeed I have never been called “sir” or offered a glass of champagne upon entry, as can happen to shareholders of some companies. I always find that disappointing, and showing a certain lack of class.
Still, the predicted blip in West Ham’s performances since moving there has been shown. They were 7th in their final season at the Boleyn Ground, and slipped to 11th after that in their first year at the “London”, going out in the early knock out rounds (before the group stages) in the Europa.
At the moment of writing they are 18th in the league overall and 15th on home form.
|15||West Ham United||7||3||1||3||8||11||-3||10|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||8||1||5||2||8||12||-4||8|
Won three and lost three, is not the sort of fortress their directors had in mind, and although there was talk of it taking a while to settle into the most successful stadium migration in the history of football (as the always amusing WHU directors put it), things have not really picked up. Last season at home they won seven, drew four and lost eight. They scored 19 at home and let in a whopping 31, making them the fifth worst home team in the Premier League.
Will they ever get over the move to the “London Stadium”? Most clubs do in the end, although it can sometimes take years. Southampton, we fondly remember, went down to the third tier of football before crawling their way back up, after moving to their new wonderful stadium.
Arsenal were sixth last season on away form, and that is where we have slipped back this season although there have been improvements after our bad away form start.
On this basis West Ham at home have the edge with 10 points and a minus 3 goal difference, against eight points for Arsenal and a minus four goal difference. Mind you we have scored more goals away than they have scored at home but it is a small consolation. We do need to get the away form to improve.
We already know Aaron Ramsey and Shkodran Mustafi are our injuries, and Mr Wenger said, “It will be a tricky test because they were unlucky against City, they rebuilt some confidence against Chelsea, so it will certainly be a game against a more confident and more dangerous West Ham team.”
Everyone is talking about Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud getting a game and Mr Wenger made this point about Giroud…
“First of all he has played many games, much more than people speak about. He has played more minutes since the start of the season than Lacazette. That is not always well known. When you are at a big club you have many big strikers and nobody can guarantee that you will play. He is not a sub for me, he is a regular player, but I have plenty of good strikers and you cannot play all of them together.
“Every players who does not play wants to start in the Premier League, that is absolutely normal. When you have three games like we have this week in six days, there is an opportunity for them to start.”
As for the rumours of Giroud leaving Mr Wenger said, “Personally I want him to stay until the end of the season and then we will see.”
He could have said to the journalists, “Last summer you predicted that every member of the first team squad would leave, but most of them are still here. Your accuracy level at predictions is far worse than the accuracy of our shots, and you ought to remember that instead of doing that thing about players leaving all over again.”
But he was of course as polite as always.
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