- Arsenal v West Ham – why the main issue tonight is not Eddie
- Arsenal v West Ham. The referee and recent games between the two.
- Arsenal v West Ham: what the pundits predicted for WHU and what happened
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).
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…
|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
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;
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.
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