Arsenal v West Ham: the teams, the mistakes, the predictions.

by Bulldog Drummond

This is one of those occasions where there is little agreement as to what team the manager should put out.  My constant pleading for the classic forward line of the latter half of last season has made no odds – but maybe that was because the manager was picking a team for each match, recognising the strength of the opposition.

But West Ham are a different case, not least because like Arsenal they have not got any points yet.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is one of the first players to have responded to the ceaseless, endless barrage of negativity that the players have been getting one after the other – with the pundits and journalists and bloggers and computer programs run by FootLond and the rest all churning out their negativity.

Perhaps these “experts” have been feeling that a) it is too early to attack the manager – which has been the mainstay of their approach for the past 15 years, – and so lacking any concept of positive thoughts about Arsenal they have turned on the players.  Henrikh is quoted as saying he ,”doesn’t know why people are criticising so much.”   He added “I’m the worst critic in my football game and I don’t need extra criticism.

“We have a new manager and are trying to adapt to his philosophy and also his demands.  It has been a tough start of course – we faced two good teams in Man City and Chelsea – but you don’t have any easy opponents in this league.

“We lost the first game and the second one as well. But that’s football. We just have to stay positive and continue working hard and the good results will come.  We don’t feel any pressure. We are not thinking that something is going wrong because we are moving in the right way even if we lost two games.  I don’t know why people are criticising so much. I’m not paying attention because I know if I’ve played bad or well.”

Well, Mick – if I may call you that – the central part of being a pundit writing about Arsenal is absolute total 100% negativity.   That’s how it goes.

My guess is that Lucas Torreira will start, and at last we will see Mkhitaryan – Lacazette – Aubamayang as the strike force.  Or at least that is what I want.

Mark Lawrenson writing on the BBC web site said, “I am almost thinking that for this season – as Unai Emery gets his feet under the table and imposes his style – Arsenal should not put pressure on themselves to finish in the top four.”  I am not sure what “almost thinking” is, but I rather fancy having a go at it, although I know some of my friends would most certainly accuse me of that already.

Lawrenson who likes to be called Lauro, so I am almost thinking I shall call him Lawrenson added, “West Ham seriously worry me. They were hopeless defensively in defeat by both Liverpool and Bournemouth. You can sign as many players as you want, but ultimately if you can’t defend in the Premier League, you are going to be in trouble.”

He predicts a 2-0 victory for Arsenal.

Jonathan Pearce for the BBC however is in his famous hilariously inaccurate mode.  On the BBC’s website Pearce says and I quote exactly, “Jonathan Pearce: No permanent Arsenal manager has ever lost his opening three games. It’s 54 years since the club lost its opening three. Unai Emery has to get a victory in this.”

Quite why these oddbod commentators don’t ask for help from the Arsenal History Society is beyond me.  It is there, it publishes vast amounts of data, and could sort his out in a trice.   But to help the dear old bodkins, here is the reality, rather than the fantasy.  In 1954/5 which is I think 64 years ago Arsenal lost the first three league games, 1-3 to Newcastle, 0-1 to Everton and 1-3 to WBA.

The manager was Tom Whittaker who was manager from 1947 to 1956 which is pretty permanent.  He is one of the four great managers who came together under Chapman: Chapman himself (2 league titles 1 FA Cup), Shaw (who took over when Chapman died, and won the league), Allison (2 league titles and 1 FA Cup) and Whittaker (2 league titles and 1 FA Cup).  Tom Whittaker played for Arsenal, was injured playing for England, and then became the club’s physio, the most famous “healer” in the country, and then the manager.

54 years ago was 1964 when Billy Wright (also a permanent manager) won one, drew one and lost one of the first three.

And so a team, I hear you cry.  Give me the team.

Well, given that I have been wrong in predicting both the first two matches I do so with much temerity and the writer’s equivalent of my hand over my mouth and try this…


Bellerin Mustafi  Sokratis Monreal

Torreia  Guendouzi

Mkhitaryan Ozil Aubamayang


Lurking on the beach I would give you

Iwobi (certain to come on for a forward) Leno, Holding,  Ramsey, Lichtsteiner, Xhaka, Mavropanos

My thinking is that West Ham have scored one and let in six.  If we can blast them with that forward lineup and get a goal or two then they will shake rattle and roll over.  And if it is not working we can bring on Iwobi.  Or come to that if it is working we can bring on Iwobi.

But do remember, rather like Jonathan Pearce, I get it wrong.  But I have the excuse that I don’t have one of the largest media corporations in the universe checking my work.  In fact no one checks my work.  And I don’t get paid for this.

We’re all off now to the Arsenal Stadium where a number of Untolders and our backroom staff (ha ha) will be meeting up prior to the game.  Always great when that happens.   Walter and co will have left home at 3am.  Now that is support.

I think we’ll win 4-0.





43 Replies to “Arsenal v West Ham: the teams, the mistakes, the predictions.”

  1. The ever reliable source ‘reports’ has Özil as not having trained yesterday and unavailable today due to illness. Assuming that is correct I would expect Ramsey to start instead with Elneny on the bench. I would also expect Wellbeck on the bench instead of Mavropranos.

    Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and co all played last night as the U23s got back to winning ways against West Ham at the taxpayers stadium. Their results were loss (6-5 at City), draw (1-1) against Brighton and the referee on Monday and last nights 3-2 win so a steady improvement there but a worrying number of goals conceded.

    4 nil this afternoon not at all impossible. Two for Auba, one for Laca and one at the end off Danny’s backside.

  2. Mt Drummond, advice Mkhitaryan to stop playing from the comfort zone for Arsenal immediately. Which his statements quoted above implies to me. What he’s said to have talked above has amounted to lack of game winning mentality for Arsenal which appears to be habitating in him. Therefore, with no time wasted, let him start to embrace game winning mentality for Arsenal immediately and start playing to it regularly for the club. For, for this reason Arsenal are reportedly paying him £200k/w wages.

  3. In the game over in Wolves-land, at some point Atkinson stopped issuing fouls to Man$ity. Man$ity were behind 1-0. At least the last 4 fouls have all been against Wolves. Low and behold, Man$ity just scored to tie up the score. And shortly thereafter, Man$ity get issued 2 fouls.

    I’m just watching statistics on the game (once in a while), I’ve no idea what the commentary or video looks like.

  4. As for Ramsey, I advice he heeds to his manager’s active advice and instructions to him to stop start getting away from his contract extention negociation talk and leaves it to his agent to continue with it with the club. While on his own part, he should focus totally on his football at Arsenal to see how he can improved on his game for the club which at the moment is looking to be out of sort. For, it is when he remarkably improved on his game for Arsenal that Emery, his manager will recormend him to the Arsenal board to give him a remarkable wage increase which he’s reported to be agitating for before he’ll extend his contract at Arsenal.

  5. The edited version of my above comment reads below.

    As for Ramsey, I advice he heeds to his manager’s active advice and instructions to him to start getting away from his contract extention negociation talks and leaves it to his agent to continue with it with the club. While on his own part, he should focus totally on his football aspect at Arsenal to see how he can improved on his game for the club which at the moment is looking to be out of sort. For, it is when he remarkably improved on his game for Arsenal that Emery, his manager will recormend him to the Arsenal board to give him a remarkable wage increase which he’s reported to be agitating for before he’ll extend his contract at Arsenal.

  6. From Livescore

    Bellerin Mustafi Sokratis Monreal
    Guendouzi Xhaka
    Mkhy Ramsey Iwobi

    Beach: Elneny Lacazettte Torreira Lichtsteiner Holding Leno Wellbeck

  7. And finally for Ozil. For him to be getting sick nearly always for Arsenal doesn’t speak well of him and doesn’t give him a good image at Arsenal. Therefore, he has to find the solution to this his sickness and applies it to stop seeing him missing games for Arsenal often.

    I am not a doctor neither am I his physician. But if it is cold that is disturbing him, let him be wearing cold resistant cloths alwsys when gone to bed in the night and always put on cold resistant cap too during this raining season time and on to the winter period. And I think he should be okay if he tries this.

    For his positive game performance against Chelsea last weekend, though he missed a sitter in the match that would have given Arsenal a 2-3 lead at half time. But still, I think Emery will start Iwobi against West Ham today.

  8. Has Atkinson robbed Wolves of a valuable home win over Man City today? But I think teams in the PL will call off Man City dominance bluffing in the PL this season.

  9. The Guardian is reporting that Mesut has influenza.

    Whether it is a cold or flu, you catch neither of them by being cold. I have stood outside wearing shorts and a t-shirt when it was colder than -40C. The reason people more often catch colds and flus when it is cold outside, is that people tend to stay indoors then. Which means people are closer to each other. It also means that the length of time between when one person touches a surface and another person touches the same surface tends to go down. Less time, means larger chance that things that can make us sick are still viable to make us sick if they get inside us.

    People should cough or sneeze onto their arm or a handkerchief. You should avoid rubbing any part of your body which has mucus glands (eyes, nose, mouth), as those are places where things like cold and flu can enter easily. It is possible that eating things that give you bad breath (like garlic) will reduce how many times you get sick. This is probably because your bad breath is keeping people farther away.

    The ability of any person to fight off infections is a function of how much stress is in your life. More stress often leads to more sickness. Having a balanced diet can help in avoiding sickness. How often you get sick, can be related to which people are close to you in your life. If people near you are sick, it makes it easier for you to get sick.

  10. Is there a publication ban on the game? LiveScore has no commentary, just statistics. Guardian and Daily Mail have almost nothing, talking more about other games than this one.


  11. All round a pretty lack lustre performance. Our defence still needs serious work doing on it and the attack is not functioning particularly well either. Every time they get the ball in our half I s**t myself, we still have a propensity for gifting the ball to the opposition in dangerous areas. We are lucky to go in at half time level, West Ham have missed two or three really good chances.

  12. Our defending looks even worse than it was last season, mostly because we don’t have Koscielny and players are often caught too high.

    We haven’t created much either – mostly we do it via right flank when Bellerin gets some space to make a cross.

    Aubameyang looks much better when he has Lacazette on the pitch.

    Ramsey looks like he is playing for himself. Alexis was crucified by the Arsenal fans for less.

    Iwobi looks promising.

    Guendouzi is still too raw to be a regular starter. Torreira should have started today next to Xhaka.

    Bellerin defends poorly but he’s been vital for our attack again.

    Our central defenders… No comment.

    West Ham look like a better team so far. I wouldn’t be surprised if we lose 2-1 unless some big changes are made at the break.

  13. This game still has 3 or more goals in it. We are giving up the ball in the midfield and not pressing well to get it back. We are giving them the chance to look up and run at our defence. Their through balls are killing us.

  14. I think something has changed about coverage. I went upstairs to watch the end of the half on TV, and seen PEA getting treatment. And yet, LiveScore is not indicating that any treatments have been made. PGMO/EPL caught wind of people looking at that statistic, and stopped the use of it?

    There used to be summaries of the possession listed every 5 minutes, that has now disappeared. Odd.


  15. What should Arsenal do in the 2nd half to overcome West Ham resistant in the game to beat them? Calm down to take control of the match reducing West Ham to struggle in the game.. And be compose in passing the ball to themselves not to over hit it pass themselves. If they do these, they’ll breakdown West Ham stubborn defending in the match.

  16. Torreira on for Guendouzi.

    Aurnotivic (sp?) is causing us no end of grief.

    In general, our play involves a lot of thinking and not enough read and react…new system – still learning it.

  17. 3 points…we’ll take it! West Ham had a lot of chances but we didn’t give up.

    More work to be done but it’s starting to come.

  18. WOO HOO , HOO ! Not at our best by a country mile , but the three points will do. A lot of poor touches and wayward passes.
    Up the Gunners !

  19. Can we imagine the Sky Sports TV commentator saying “shambolic defending” by West Ham when Welbeck slot in the Arsenal 3rd goal with ease. Whereas the West Hammers gave Arsenal a good run for their money in the game with a stubborn defending prior to their conceding Arsenal 3rd goal to Welbeck. And they were unlucky not to have scored before then as they opened up Arsenal defense several times after the own goal they conceded to the Gunners.

    Iwobi who was substituted was missing in the match for Arsenal today. But where is his consistency after he played very well for Arsenal last week away to Chelsea in the first half of the match? Auba’ and Lack didn’t score for the 3rd time running for Arsenal today since the beginning of this season. But Loca’s effort forced the ball into the back of the net off a West Ham defender into his own net.

    Arsenal defense is still looking to be a work in progress after I watched our defenders appearing to be porous in their defending against West Ham today. But the good thing for us in the match is Arsenal have collected their first points after playing 3 matches in the Pl this season.

    I predicted a 5-0 home win for Arsenal and Mr Drummond had predicted a 4-0 win for Arsenal on the UA website today. But at the end Arsenal won 3-1. Good.

  20. Lacazette and Torreira turned the game around, excellent decisions by Mr Emery.

    It has to be better but three points are 3 points. It’ll be better.

  21. With Walter in the house the result was never in doubt!

    The performance was, at best, uneven and there is still a stack of work to do on the defence. I trust that Mr Emery will be able to organise things better as time progresses.

  22. Everything feels better after a win. It’s nice to hear Walter was there to see it.

    That was a hard fought match and we won. You could see in the second half we were better and West Ham was fouling more, but luckily the ref gave us several free kicks.

    Cech was great again and the lads were backing each other up and doing their best to defend in numbers when West Ham attacked. There were a lot of misplaced passes on both sides so obviously that’s something the team will be working on.

    Ramsey was covered in sweat at the interview after his ninety minutes. What Bellerin said afterwards is clearly true; everyone is working hard to perform in the new style.

    I was very glad to read in one of Tony’s earlier articles that Miki was telling the press to lay off with the negativity. It is ridiculous! New manager, new style of play, some new players, Manchester City and Chelsea to start off. Not exactly easy!

    Good luck Gunners!

  23. I have just seen the highlights.

    Can anyone explain why Rambo was offside?

    When the first shot came in he may have been in an offisi8de position, but was not interfering with play, so when then the ball came back from Fab he is ok?

    Is the suggestion that he was offside when the original shot was made?

    He was not that close to fab and not in front of him, so how was he interfering with play?

  24. jjgsol
    Maybe his goal was not allowed because he benefited from being in an offside position in the previous phase of play even though not active at that point.
    Only a guess as I am not a qualified ref.

  25. MickHazel.

    Surely, once Fab had touched it, what happened before was irrelevant.

    Can one of our referee colleagues help us please?

  26. Being offside and taking advantage:

    (c) Gaining an advantage by being in that position
    If you play a ball that rebounds off an opponent or goal post if it is kicked by your own teammate it will be an offside. If the opponent does a back pass and you are in an offside position, it will not be deemed as an offside as it was not your own teammate that pushed the ball forward.


    I’ve been following some statistics other than points and goals. For Game Day 3, there is only the ManU vs Spuds match yet to play tomorrow.

    For the Caution League, we have: Wolves(65), Spuds(70*), Fulham(86), Chel$ea(88), ManU(101*), Liverpool!(120), Brighton(134), Huddersfield(152), Burnley(164), Arsenal(177), Leicester(186), Bournemouth(208), Cardiff(208), Man$ity(211), State Aid(223), Watford(233), CPalace(282), Newcastle(291), Everton(353) and Southampton(391). There are a few teams spending very little game time operating under caution, and a few spending a lot of game time operating under caution.

    Treatment data was easy to get, starting with Game Day 3 I have to manually scan commentary to find when there is a stoppage for treating a player. Lots of commentaries never mention the need to treat players. So, it you happen to see a treatment situation, please note it down and submit it.

    Treatment League (teams who had players needing treatment): Watford(0), Spuds(0*), Chel$ea(1), Huddersfield(1), Man$ity(1), CPalace(1), Burnley(2), Southampton(3), ManU(3*), Liverpool!(4), Leicester(4), Newcastle(6), State Aid(8), Bournemouth(8), Wolves(8), Arsenal(9), Brighton(9), Fulham(9), Cardiff(12) and Everton(14).

    I think at this point, there are 2 of these many treatment situations associated with some kind of card. On Game Day 3, WHam picked up a card in an incident where an Arsenal player needed treatment.

    The inverse treatment league (the team that is the opposition to the player needing treatment): Chelsea(0), Huddersfuield(-1), Fulham(-2), Wolves(-2), Burnley(-3), Liverpool!(-3), Arsenal(-3), Brighton(-4), Everton(-5), Leicester(-5), Watford(-5), State Aid(-7), Cardiff(-7), CPalace(-7), ManU(-7*), Spuds(-7*), Bournemouth(-8), Newcastle(-9), Man$ity(-10) and Southampton(-12).

    Finally, we have a Referee treatment league. If we pick on Mike Dean (who has overseen 9 treatments), the only referees scoring higher are: Michael Oliver(10), Lee Mason(11), Kevin Friend(13) and our champion of Craig Pawson(15).

    Craig Pawson is supposed to be the man in the middle for ManU vs Spuds.

  27. Thanks.

    Out of interest, is a save by the goalkeeper, which goes into his hands and then spills out, the same as a rebound?

    I would understand a rebound to mean just that, that the ball hits the opposing player, without any input from him, but where a goalie deliberately hits the ball with his hands or another part of his body in a deliberate way, is that a rebound?

    We have heard many times that a player is not offside because it has come off an opposing player. Surely that is a “rebound” and yet the player is no longer offside?

  28. Is the word not “played on”, which does not always include a deliberate touch of the ball, but can also mean an unintended touch, can it not?

  29. The idea of a rebound is that the ball hits the player and the player does not take control of the ball. Taking control isn’t necessarily stopping it. Hitting the ball on the volley would also being an example of taking control of the ball.

    If the ball spills out of he goalkeeper’s hands, the goalkeeper hasn’t taken control of the ball. Some goalkeepers may direct the ball to the ground, which means that the goalkeeper has intended to put the ball to the ground. The goalkeeper had control in order to do this.

    It is possible to come up with all kinds of strange situations. I think the place to start is look at intent. Did the other player (the one “hit” by the ball) intend to do something? Or had their body being in some kind of “motion” (including being still) that continued to the same script until the ball happened to hit the player somewhere?

    Maybe OMGArsenal will happen by to polish things? I suspect Walter is still travelling back to Belgium.

  30. That has to be one of the biggest grey area in the rules.

    This, when VAR is implemented, could lead to many hrs for pundits to discuss

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