Match Preview: West Ham vs Arsenal

This weekend was the wedding of one of my cousin's and the first out of our generation on my mum's side. I have to say, it was an amazing experience to see the people you love do something as big as get married and the time spent with family was absolutely amazing, considering how rare it becomes now adays.

Big news this weekend for Sp*rs sees their manager sacked and Harry Redknapp (someone I previously liked) taking over as their new manager. Another highlight out of the chapter of "how to mess up a football club and waste money" by Mr. D. Levy. It's amazing how they treat their managers, it's amazing how the want of sucess means they waste money, time, energy and managers to acheive something which ultimately they never achieve. Calm and consistency will give you the base to work with.

Thank God, things are different down at the 'Grove.

Onto today's game, it's the first of a double whammy of London derbies. Today we take a West Ham team desperate for the three points, but with our bad start to the season, we're also in desperate need of the three points.

Today we've got Toure and Gallas back in the squad and after the crazy performance of Fenerbahce, it would be a welcomed return to the central of defence. Arsene has been speaking about our defensive performance in Turkey...

“I do not deny we did not look very sound defensively in our last game.

“Ideally you want to be fantastic going forwards and fantastic defending. But sometimes you have a price to pay. When you incite your team to go forwards, like we did against Fenerbahce, then you will also be a bit vulnerable defensively as well. If you encourage your team to never get out of their position, it is easier to be sound defensively.”

So let’s take a look at the squad and first XI today:

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Eboue
Right Back
Toure
Centre Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
 
Walcott
Right Wing
Denilson
Midfielder
Cesc
Midfielder
Nasri
Left Wing
 
  Adebayor
Striker
 Van Persie
Support Striker

With Fabianski, Song, Silvestre, Diaby, Vela, Ramsey, Bendtner on the bench.

Our squad is at one of it’s strongest with the return of Diaby and our central defenders, and looking at the bench, you can see that we have quality in all areas…

Arsene’s hoping we can kick on after the Hull defeat and we’ve shown glimpses of ability recently – Arsene said:

“It is always a good atmosphere when you play against West Ham. The supporters always get behind their team when you go there. It is always committed and interesting. But we have created a momentum after the Hull game. We beat Porto and Fenerbahce in a convincing way, had a draw with Sunderland then beat Everton. We just want to keep that going now.”

Come on you Gooners!!]]>

  • http://deleted Dan

    Gutted about the Spurs news. Just before they play us too, bastards. I have a horrible feeling about that game! Mind, i always do when we play the scum.

  • http://deleted Dan

    Bendtner has been given the nod. Hope he has a great game, we need him to step up to scare Ade into playing. Better yet he could just steal his place :D

  • http://deleted Dan

    So it looks like Ade went with the first option. Man of the Match after only playing 20 or so minutes. That will do i suppose.

  • Debs

    I sorta take back my words against Ade! lol. I guess being on the bench woke him up :)

  • http://deleted Dan

    Well we don’t know he has turned the corner yet, but it was great to see him laughing again. Lets hope hes in for a good run of form eh

  • Paresh

    < ![CDATA[This was an important win as it was a real opportunity to make up some of the lost ground on Chelsea and Manchester United.

    West Ham were up for it and did not look to put men behind the ball and try and defend in numbers. They broke with pace every time they won the ball pushing their midfielders forward to support Carlton Cole. They were therefore dangerous throughout the game.

    Nevertheless three points and a clean sheet puts us in a nice position at this juncture in the League. Let’s hope that we do the same against Spurs on Wednesday night.

    Almunia

    What a fantastic goalkeeper he is turning out to be. He personifies calmness and self confidence. He has developed the knack of making significant saves at very important points during the game to keep us from going behind thus providing the basis on which to move forward for the victory.

    He did it on several occasions in Turkey and he did it again against West Ham where he saved Bellamy’s shot when he raced through onto a one on one against him with the score at 0-0. 8

    Clichy

    Was steady tonight but just that. His runs down the wing were nowhere to be found. This was puzzling and it looks like he was on orders to refrain from doing so maybe in order to counter Bellamy’s runs. 6

    Eboue

    Again he too was not that willing to make runs down the wing and his passing was not up to scratch. Maybe Wenger was worried about the lack of pace from his two central defenders. 6

    Gallas

    He came back to action well and full of energy. He took up good defensive positions and covered for Silvestre’s rustiness. Looked to be out of pace when Bellamy raced through on goal though. 7

    Silvestre

    I am still cringing from remembering some of the howlers he made during the game in Turkey. He improved a lot tonight but was still below what I would consider match fit. On the one occasion when pace was needed he was found wanting and it took a save from Almunia to keep us into the game.

    I still think playing these two (Gallas and Silvestre) in the centre of the defence is too risky as they both lack pace and therefore cannot cover for each other. Toure should hopefully return on Wednesday against the Spurs. 6

    Nasri

    Looked to be below his best in Turkey and seems to have carried this indifferent form against West Ham. He did not go past his marker once, I don’t think, preferring to come onside all the time. This coupled with Clichy’s reluctance to go forward meant that we lacked width and penetration on the left hand side. Wenger has a decision to make whether to start him against Spurs. 5

    Walcott
    The opposite can be said for this little devil, He, along with RVP-were the only real danger for West Ham.

    His runs and penetration down the right wing were really unplayable.

    I held my head in my hands when Wenger took him off in the second half as it was from him that I looked to find an assist or a goal.

    He should have been kept on as Diaby’s contribution was really neutral. 8

    Song

    Had a solid game in the middle of the field receiving and passing the ball around him. He needs to be a bit more forceful in contesting the ball and also be quicker with his passing so as to keep the tempo of the game up rather than slowing it down. 6

    Fabregas

    Looked tired and was not up to his top best. His passing was not as precise as say it was in Turkey but he still run the game for Arsenal. 6

    Van Persie

    Was dangerous throughout the game and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet. His shot from outside the box drew an excellent save from Green (who had to be at his best tonight) and his wonderful free kick rocked the post. It was from his pass to Adebayor (after he drew two players onto him as he shaped to shoot) that resulted in the first goal. 8

    Bendtner

    He was not in the game for the whole of the first half. He lacked concentration and could not connect with Van Persie well. It was as though they were both playing in isolation rather than in tandem as they should have been. He had one good shot saved by Green but his wonderful long through ball to Adebayor to send him clear for the second goal was something else. 6

    Adebayor

    He only played 25 minutes but what a contribution he made. I had my doubts when I saw the team sheet prior to the game with Bendtner and Van Persie in and Adebayor on the bench.

    He is such an important player for Arsenal as he is the target man through which nearly all our attacks go through especially when we want to switch our style of play by playing the long ball. This was missing against West Ham and with Nasri, Clichy and Eboue reluctant to venture on their respective wings left us with less options going forward. 9

    Man of the Match: Adebayor]]>

  • ramsen

    A great second half performance, so many positives to take. 1. We have found two important partnerships that work. Gallas and Silvestre with Gallas as a sweeper and Silvestre as the ball playing stopper worked brilliantly for us, and they really only had one clear cut chance in the game, that Bellamy chances in the first half. Gallas was brilliant, MOTM and great captains performance, Silvestre also did well, but is still adjusting to our set up. and The other was Song-Fabregas. Fabregas was influential, and back to his brilliant self this game. That is because he had Song always behind him. Song knew when to attack (once we were already winning) and where to pass, who to pass to and when to pass. He did brilliantly to stop probably 90% of enemy attacks. Terrific performance. 2. The opinions we have on the bench. It just shows how much how much strength we have to have someone coming off the bench to score twice. Great cameo from Adebayor, both goals were just like Henry, and so was teh one versus Fenerbahce. Diaby also did great when he was on the ball. We have a world class attack in our first team, but also a world class midfield on our bench! Our options up front. We have six strikers in Adebayor, van Persie, Eduardo, Bendtner, Diaby and Vela, and Diaby can also play midfield. 4 of the 6 played today, and it was great to see all the height in our box, there were only 3 players on the field that were under 6 foot after the subtitution! Sagna will be available for Spurs!

  • sammy

    < ![CDATA[After last weekend’s win over Everton I was exceptionally critical of Arsene Wenger’s managerial performance. I thought his decision to play Alex Song at right-back and Denilson in the middle from the start was a huge error and the major reason why Arsenal went into the break a goal behind. In the end the manager’s blushes were spared when an injury to Kolo Toure forced him into making the necessary changes and the team improved almost immediately, scoring three second-half goals before eventually running out comfortable winners.

    Despite this I was frustrated with Wenger and the decisions he had made and hoped to high heaven that he would make the defensive changes that I and most other Arsenal supporters believed were necessary to improve the side. It gives me great pleasure to say that Wenger did just that in the 2-0 win over West Ham last night and completely and utterly redeemed himself in the process.

    The manager had some big decisions to make and I thought he got them absolutely right. As a result he was rewarded with arguably the most complete Premiership performance the boys have put in this season. They might have smashed Newcastle 3-0 and Blackburn 4-0 but the satisfaction of this win came through solid defence and a relentless belief that we would get the right result. Despite Robert Green having a superb match and Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie both being denied by the woodwork our boys continue to knock on the door until it crashed down.

    As a fan I found this performance and result particularly satisfying. Virtually every player on the pitch contributed and perhaps most importantly, so did the manager. His decision to pull off Walcott and Nasri for Adebayor and Diaby seemed a little strange at the time given the Englishman’s apparent danger, in particular, but the switch to 4-3-3 confused the West Ham defence and broke the game apart. Adebayor was afforded more space than van Persie and Bendtner had been given all day and the team was rewarded as a result.

    To put the icing on the cake of a lovely team performance was a nice moment between Bendtner and Adebayor. After a lovely interchange of passing which saw Adebayor fire agonisingly wide the Danish man ran over to pick him up off the ground and pat him on the back. There’s no secret that the pair are hardly the best of friend but this moment as well as their combination for the final goal showed that they have not let previous troubles interfere with their willingness to work for the team.

    Apart from the West Ham game there were favourable results for Arsenal everywhere you looked over the weekend. Liverpool ended Chelsea’s 86-game unbeaten streak at home to go top while Everton held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park. It leaves Arsenal fourth, four points shy of Liverpool, one off Chelsea and four ahead of United. Not a bad place to be in such a close title race, in my opinion. What’s more, Tottenham got their first win of the season which means the pressure to beat us this week will be nowhere near as high as if they had failed to win again.]]>

  • debs

    just watching the highlights again and I’m actually impressed with the combination play between Ade and bentner, considering all the earlier skirmishes from last season! I think Ade Bentner is a better combination than Bentner Van Persie… Let’s see how the rest of the season pans out!

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  • JDD

    how can anyone considering dropping v.persie for bendtner he is are best striker