Arsenal v West Ham: the Arsenal injuries, world cup damage and the team



by Bulldog Drummond

So here we are, three years on to the day since Mr Arteta took over.  On that day in 2019 the league table read (with Arsenal’s current position added as the final line by way of comparison).


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 17 16 1 0 42 14 28 49
2 Leicester City 18 12 3 3 41 14 27 39
3 Manchester City 18 12 2 4 50 20 30 38
4 Chelsea 18 10 2 6 33 25 8 32
5 Sheffield United 18 7 7 4 22 16 6 28
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 6 9 3 26 22 4 27
7 Tottenham Hotspur 18 7 5 6 32 26 6 26
8 Manchester United 18 6 7 5 26 22 4 25
9 Newcastle United 18 7 4 7 18 24 -6 25
10 Burnley 18 7 3 8 23 29 -6 24
11 Arsenal 18 5 8 5 24 27 -3 23
Today Arsenal 14 12 1 1 33 11 22 37


Sheffield United and Burnley are no longer in the PL and Wolverhampton look to be in a sorry state now, and we are 15 points better off than we were then having played four games fewer!

If Arsenal win tonight then this will equal the best Arsenal opening to a PL season in terms of winning the first seven Premier League home games.  Interestingly that record was NOT achieved in the unbeaten season when the first seven home games included draws against Portsmouth and Fulham(!)

We are also on a good streak of home games on Boxing Day, not losing one of these since being beaten 0-2 by Nottingham Forest in 1987.  That was an interesting season as it had a start somewhat similar to last season, over which the media made such a fuss…

Date Match Result Score Competition
15 Aug 1987 Arsenal v Liverpool L 1-2 League Division One
19 Aug 1987 Manchester United v Arsenal D 0-0 League Division One
22 Aug 1987 Queens Park Rangers v Arsenal L 2-0 League Division One


Anyway we were last at the top at Christmas in 2007 when the top seven read


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 18 13 4 1 36 15 21 43
2 Manchester United 18 13 3 2 32 9 23 42
3 Chelsea 18 11 4 3 25 10 15 37
4 Manchester City 18 10 4 4 25 20 5 34
5 Liverpool 17 9 6 2 31 11 20 33
6 Everton 18 9 3 6 32 18 14 30
7 Portsmouth 18 8 6 4 29 19 10 30


Interesting that 15 years ago the top five were all clubs we still associate with challenges at the top, but then we have Everton (currently 17th one point above the relegation positions) and Portsmouth who now sit 10th in League One.

Overall being top at Christmas is not really a clear indicator of anything much, in that the last five times we were top at Christmas we failed to win the league.  In the Unbeaten Season we were second at Christmas…  Today we have 37 points from 14 games (2.64 points a game), then we had 39 points from 17 games (2.29 points per game).  So thus far we are doing better than in the Unbeaten Season!  

On the playing front we all know that Gabriel Jesus is out.    And that Eddie Nketiah has 10 goals in his last 10 starts at home in all competitions (despite anything the media might be telling you).

William Saliba has been one of the great stars of this season and started all the league games thus far, but then was with France all the way through, but only played 27 minutes as a second-half substitute against Tunisia, so he might well be ok to play.

Takehiro Tomiyasu suffered from world cup havoc, missing Arsenal’s last three games before the WC but then playing three times for Japan, and then getting an injury.   He is said to be back running and in the squad, however.

Emile Smith Rowe is getting close to a return but it will be another week or two.    Arteta’s most recent comment is that he is training, has had a little setback but is ok.

Oleksandr Zinchenko has a return of the long-term calf injury and so didn’t play in the recent friendlies.  He might be ready, but if so will most likely be on the bench.

Reiss Nelson was injured against Juventus, and is said to be out for a while.

Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are both ready to play, despite being fully involved in the WC.

And so as a result of all that news 90 Min gives us this predicted lineup vs West Ham


White, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;

Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka;

Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.

They also kindly supply a bench lineup as well: Turner, Hein, Marquinhos, Elneny, Cedric, Tomiyasu, Zinchenko, Smith Rowe, Nwaneri.

Sports Mole offer a variation both in the backline and the way the front men will line up.


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney;

Xhaka, Partey;

Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli;


But just a final PS on the injuries.   Premier League injuries has Arsenal listed with six players out.  Of the other big seven teams, Chelsea have 11 players out, Liverpool have nine missing, Manchester City three, Manchester United seven, Newcastle United five and Tottenham Hotspur five.   So we have not come out of the World Cup the worst off, but nor have we escaped. 

Thus we are seeing PL teams drained of their best players.   But we still have to pay for the tickets.

15 Replies to “Arsenal v West Ham: the Arsenal injuries, world cup damage and the team”

  1. well no VAR on an unexistant offside and VAR not looking for the penalty….we are reverting back to business as usual with Arsenal refereeing….

  2. Bizarre…the commentators keep going on about the Arsenal goal being lucky. It seemed to be poor defending and a great pass.

  3. Well the proof has been given. We need another striker. it makes no sense that we need 3 different players to score 3 goals does it not ?

    And Oodegard has not scored…why is this guy still playing ?!?!

  4. Back to normal should we say ?
    We seem to have this knack of one-two punches in the space of a few minutes.
    Guess Mr Arteta’s half-time coaching was good.
    Wonder how many times this has alreday happened ?
    Merry Christmas to all Gunners around the world !

  5. An excellent second half which even today’s refereeing team couldn’t find much fault with. I need to see another replay for the not given early goal, looked OK from what I saw and the penalty wouldn’t have been given on an Arsenal player. Still if you play as we did in the second half a 3-1 scoreline was probably about right.

    Still early days but all the makings of a memorable season.


  6. We did put 3 goals to what the guys on TV were labelling the 3rd or 4th best defence of the PL… looking at the table, seems about right. Good day at the office.

  7. Glad it was all good for you Walter – I dropped the Arsenal team a note to say a win would be much appreciated by our Belgian friends, and they obliged! There are some tough fixtures coming up but we are certainly looking good.

  8. Great win.

    Despite Oliver’s intentions/desires/orders we still got a thoroughly deserved three points. Nonetheless the evidence is clear that we still have to be two goals better than the opposition to be in with a chance of 3 points.

    Been away for a while. Good to be back. Hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas and best wishes for a wonderful new year!

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