Arsenal v WHAM: the team and who predicted it right…

The actual team is


Bellerin Gabriel Holding Tierney

Xhaka Ceballos Saka

Willian Lacazette Aubameyang


Talk sprout led the way approaching the game with their prediction of


Holding Gabriel Tierney

Bellerin Elneny Ceballos Maitland Niles

Willian Lacazette Aubameyang

It is the first prediction from any of the so-called professionals that has actually managed to include Elneny in the squad, let alone the team.  A rare first for the talkies.

The Guardian comes up with an almost identical line up but they have Xhaka (who has been playing his part next to Elneny exceptionally well) instead of Ceballos.  However there are doubts about Xhaka’s fitness for this match, as they admit.

And here’s a rare positive note from the Guardian “based on the win at Fulham [aside from the injury concern], the rest of his team picks itself.”


Holding Gabriel Tierney

Bellerin Elneny Xhaka Maitland Niles

Willian Lacazette Aubameyang

The Guardian also obliges us with a subs selection list:

Macey, Saliba, David Luiz, Soares, Kolasinac, Torreira, Ceballos, Guendouzi, Willock, Nelson, Pépé, Saka, Özil, Nketiah.   Obviously we can’t pick all of them but it pretty well sums up the rest of the active squad who are not injured.

Sky Sports lead with the story that “David Luiz is fit for Saturday’s Premier League visit of London rivals West Ham.”  But they then fail to make any sort of team prediction (or at least that was the case when I looked).

The Standard does its usual “confirmed team news” without ever explaining what on earth the word “confirmed” means in these circumstances.  But they still can’t bring themselves to include Elneny in the team


Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;

Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles;

Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang

INews also has that line up.

The BBC don’t do line up predictions but they do find some fun facts from time to time and for this game they have the fact that Arsenal have won only three of their past nine season-opening home league games having drawn one and lost the other five.  Quite a nasty record.

Worse, we have won the opening two league fixtures only once in the last 10 campaigns.

And another nasty one they have found (and they do love finding nasty runs about Arsenal): Aubameyang has scored just one league goal in five matches against WHAM.

And a quirky one: Mikel Arteta scored 27 goals in 174 Premier League appearances for Everton, all under David Moyes.

Still they do have a negative one for West Ham as well… it seems they could fail to win either of their opening two league fixtures for a fourth successive campaign, although they have not won their opening away league fixture since beating Arsenal in 2015-16 season.

One final one from the BBC, “David Moyes has never won at Arsenal in any competition, drawing four and losing 15 of his 19 visits.”

The Daily Mirror says, “The chances of [Arteta] tinkering too much are low, with continuity a benchmark of his management.  However, there could be a spot for Eddie Nketiah in the starting XI – who enjoyed a breakthrough campaign after Arteta took charge.”

That is written as if the Mirror is the arbiter of what is right or wrong with an Arsenal manager – that the manager is so stupid there is a possibility that he might “tinker too much” something that of course the Mirror, knowing everything, can warn him not to do.  Interestingly they fail to provide a line up prediction.

The Sun doesn’t do a predicted line up, but it does have this most curious prediction:

  • Mesut Özil, Lucas Torreira, and Matteo Guendouzi are all likely to be on the bench.

It will be interesting to see if that comes to pass.

Moving on, Football Critic comes up with the same line up as Talk Sport, and it is finally down to those hilarious people at The Transfer Tavern to evolve with the only real variation that we have to the dominant selection.  They go for…


Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;

Maitland-Niles; Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka;

Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang

Saka will certainly be expecting a start sometime, after all his heroics last season, so they might be right.  It all depends how feeble West Ham actually are this evening.

Finally, just a word of Holding.  Thisisfutbol have a report which says, “According to a report by The Sun earlier this week, David Moyes was eyeing a loan move for the centre-back and the club was willing to pay a £5m loan fee.   However, another report by The Sun just a day later claimed that the player would turn down any loan move away from the Emirates Stadium.  It was stated that Holding is keen to nail down a starting spot in Mikel Arteta’s side.”

Now you know.

The match officials

Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt & Simon Bennett
Fourth Official: Darren England
VAR: Chris Kavanagh
Assistant VAR: Neil Davies

17 Replies to “Arsenal v WHAM: the team and who predicted it right…”

  1. West Ham may not have won against Arsenal but PGMOL Taylor has gifted a few games to our opponents.

    VAR is also looking at space invaders in case there is an unusual happening.

    Our very own Alan Smith is commenting with a usual bias for any Arsenal opponent.

  2. On french TV, all afternoon, they keep talking about Mr Bielsa as if it were the second coming of Christ.
    I mean, ok, he seems like a great football strategist or guru, then on the other hand his trophy cabinet does not overflow from what I see.
    And it is not like the clubs he managed and players he coached are all lauding him.
    But in each and every game, they keep talking about him
    And about a 3 pieces docu-series they will broadcast.
    And on and on the story how Guardiola went to visit him at home in Argentina.
    And how he tranformed Leeds into a galactic team after a quarter century of nothingness.
    The only thing missing is sainthood declared by the argentinian pope… ;=)

    Maybe The famous Jerusalem song ought to be re-written… just sing along…

    And did those feet in covid times,
    Walk upon Englands football greens
    And was the holy coach of Leeds,
    On Premier League pastures seen!

  3. so now we have VAR who do NOT overturn an Arsenal goal with a doubt of offside…..
    Are they sick ?!?!

  4. Now that the Arsenal defence that I think will not be beaten by the Hammers in this match to score has been beaten resulting to an equalizing goal to Arsenal’s 25 minutes Lacazette’s 1 goal lead by West Ham’s Antonio. Terrible!

    As I am beginning to be worry if Arsenal will recover from the shock they suffered when the Hammers scored to cancelled out their one goal lead in the match.

    But what is now left for Arsenal to do in this match? Can they recover to score a couple of goals without conceding any again to beat the Hammers?

    That is the job Arteta and the Gunners playing in this match are employed by Arsenal to do. Therefore, they should all do their Job to beat the Hammers in this match unfailingly.

  5. a professional result. Not a great performance…boy we missed Tierney on the left. Kolasinac did his best but he doesn’t have the jump that Kieren gives us.

  6. Well, things change
    How many such games did we lose in the past 3 – 4 years ?
    Grit, good coaching, a young gun making the difference, and 3 more points.
    Guess we can all that a good evening

  7. A good result despite the Taylor officiating. This is considerably better than a draw and excellent considering Nkethia got a goal.

  8. Chris

    “How many such games did we lose in the past 3 – 4 years ? Grit, good coaching, a young gun making the difference, and 3 more points”.

    I agree with all that but I would add a bit of luck and a decent refereeing performance was even more crucial were.

    Sorry Menace I didn’t see a problem with the ref or VAR. That isn’t to say he didn’t make mistakes but I thought he was fair, and that’s all I ask.

  9. Strangely, on their goal I could see that the whole midfield were kind of jogging back unlike the rest of the game…as if halftime had already been called. Holding will get called out for napping on the ball played across but he was calling out to the midfielders to pick up the trailing attackers and allowed his man to cut across in front of him. Our defenders get enough stick on their own without them getting beat because midfielders don’t hustle back.

  10. Pretty difficult to watch- apart from the goals. Apart from the two goals- not impressed by pretty much anything or anyone of ours- we looked as if our players timing was out all over the place for- classic sign at this stage in the season of underprepared ness- especially passing apart from near the end when some gaps appeared. There seemed to be lots of stat analysis going around Arteta on when things weren’t working.

    I am not convinced that this was our best available team to beat West Ham we could have fielded- I thought Elneny was unlucky not to feature and he makes this team much more compact- to be fair, Ceballos improved a bit as the game went on. I t is not always about the individual- its often about what impact he has on the rest of the team. But a win is a win – even though it was a very unconvincing one

    One thing I say about all the sides Arsene Wenger put out- we were never ever underprepared. No I am not pining for his return- but his strengths were never properly appreciated- many people could not see beyond the relative weaknesses during his tenure.The answer is always to get rid rather than strengthen.
    We were unlucky regarding Tierney’s injury who is one of our most recently impressive players. After this performance-I am not looking forward to next weeks game.

  11. Let me say the reason that I think led to Arsenal to have underperformed in their PL match at home against West Ham tonight was because Arsenal have all along underestimated the team strength of the West Hammers to harm them in the match.

    Which the Gunners believe they won’t be harmed in the game by the Hammers but which almost cost Arsenal 2 dropped point in the match had Nketiah not come to the rescue to intervene to save Arsenal from embarrassment at the hands of the West Hammers who would have return back to the London Stadium with a point in the match in their bag had Nketiah not score the winning goal in the game that gave Arsenal all points in the match.

    But looking at the table on the BBC football website application, should Arsenal not still be on top of the League table on alphabetical order to Everton 2nd in the table as both club sides have 6 points each with the same +4 goals difference?

    But why did the BBC football table placed Arsenal 2nd to Everton 1st in their PL table chart of today’s night? The handiwork of Mark Lawrencson – Lanro, who and his guest got the 2-1 win by Arsenal over West Ham today correctly in Lanro’s week-two Premier League match predictions

  12. Verse 2

    And was the Argentine sublime
    Ere Seen near the pennine hills
    Passing down the kirkstall road
    On past the grimy armley mills

  13. Tony and everyone else here.
    I just ask you to rewatch the match carefully and tell me whether Ceballos is worthy a start. These are my observations:
    1. Turns and passes sideways/ backwards when strikers/ wingers make forward runs. I noticed this several times during the match.
    2. Hardly passes to Bellerin even if he is right in front of him in space. He rather turns or tries a more difficult and fruitless pass.

  14. @ Tony & Ncubez – Please do not forget that former Chelsea , Man Utd , England and Milan 80s great , the late , ‘ Square ball ‘ Ray Wilkins , who as the name suggests , was not wont to pass the ball too far forward !

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