Arsenal v West Ham, covid outbreak and an important bit of transfer news

By Bulldog Drummond

Today’s Game: Arsenal v West Ham- the videos of past matches

We have the usual scurrilous scaremongering ahead of tonight’s game with the Mirror shouting

Arsenal latest Premier League club hit with Covid outbreak after positive tests in camp

under which the article says

“Arsenal have joined the growing number of Premier League clubs affected by Covid-19, although no players have tested positive for the virus as of Monday evening”

And they then add “No Arsenal player has tested positive for coronavirus since Saturday’s victory over Southampton”

So how do we equate that headline (“hit with Covid outbreak”) with the subsequent “no players have tested positive”?

Is it the groundstaff?  Or the gatekeepers?  Sadly, the Mirror fails to tell us.  In fact it is just scurrilous muck-raking and headline-grabbing gibberish for which the Mirror is justly famous.  It was written by Freddie Keighley described as their Digital Sports Reporter.  We are told, “Freddie specialises in Premier League and European football, covering matches, press conferences and the latest transfer news.”  

But not exactly an expert on the truth then.

Meanwhile, Premier League clubs have agreed on new measures to force all clubs – including those owned by families who also own a country –  to prove that the commercial deals they set up represent fair market value.

The decision was of course not unanimous. In October, Newcastle opposed the idea to set up the new rule and Manchester City, realising their long-running ploy had been rumbled, at last, abstained.  Thus the PL, noting that country owning families such as the family of Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman might want to promote themselves, have put a stop.  The vote passed the threshold of having a majority of  14 and will be in effect immediately with the Premier League now obliged to assess all new commercial deals.  I just wonder what will happen.

Meanwhile back with today’s game, it seems the BBC have been reading Untold – or maybe we just happened upon the same thought as them.  Either way, we’ve both noted that Arsenal’s home form is “the joint-best in the Premier League with six wins, a draw and a defeat so far.”

And they also note the downturn in WHAM’s form, saying, “The Hammers [that’s West Ham to you and me] “were nowhere near their best in the draw at Burnley on Sunday and, although they are still fourth, they have only won one of their past five games.”

So what else can be added by way of stats and the like?  One thing the BBC spotted and we missed is that Arsenal have never won five in a row at home since Mikel Arteta took over, although that’s not so unlikely since he has only managed 102 league games.   Still, he is slowly catching up with the win percentage that Unai Emery achieved, at which point, if the board follow previous logic, he’ll be sacked.

Equally, it seems we could “win four successive league games at the Emirates without conceding for the first time since May 2017.    The fourth victory in that sequence came against David Moyes’ Sunderland.”

In fact, that run of home wins was even more impressive than it sounds.  The four games without conceding in the league had within them a home cup win and a further home league win, each conceding just one goal.

Date Match Result Score Competition
05 Apr 2017 Arsenal v West Ham United W 3-0 Premier League
23 Apr 2017 Arsenal v Manchester City W 2-1 FA Cup
26 Apr 2017 Arsenal v Leicester City W 1-0 Premier League
07 May 2017 Arsenal v Manchester United W 2-0 Premier League
16 May 2017 Arsenal v Sunderland W 2-0 Premier League
21 May 2017 Arsenal v Everton W 3-1 Premier League

Of course, the BBC do get a bit silly sometimes as with “Arsenal have lost just two of their 36 Premier League home matches played on a Wednesday. One of those defeats was against West Ham in February 2006.”  Well, yes, I am not sure that tells us that much.

We could also do games against London teams… unbeaten in the last three.

Date Match Result Score Competition
13 Aug 2021 Brentford v Arsenal L 2-0 Premier League
22 Aug 2021 Arsenal v Chelsea L 0-2 Premier League
22 Sep 2021 Arsenal v AFC Wimbledon W 3-0 League Cup
26 Sep 2021 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 3-1 Premier League
18 Oct 2021 Arsenal v Crystal Palace D 2-2 Premier League

And how about “Alexandre Lacazette has scored a joint-career best five Premier League goals against West Ham, including goals in each of the last three meetings.”

As for WHAM, we know they have only won one of their last five games and their manager has consistently failed to beat Arsenal, no matter what team he is managing.  It has been 17 attempts thus far in the League.  Moyes is also only the fourth manager to manage 600 PL games.