Arsenal v West Ham is always a mouth-watering game and early form will count for nothing in a game where David Moyes’ side will want to finally get their campaign underway with a point or all three.
West Ham, in their previous Premier League outing against Newcastle, had periods that should have produced more and it’s that lack of killer instinct that is the major concern for the East Londoners. Newcastle spread the play and their speed caused somewhat flat-footed defence problems, every time the Geordies went forward.
For me, the exciting Allan Saint Maxim was the pick of the Newcastle players and he constantly turned West Ham inside out with his change of pace and direction. Imagine what Aubameyang can do.
If Arsenal are looking for danger, they need look no further than Andriy Yarmolenko, Felipe Anderson, and Tomas Soucek (if fit). The Hammers will be looking to chase and press and will defend in numbers, but the Arsenal v West Ham tie is simply a case of whether they can nullify the threat of Aubameyang, Lacazette, Willian, Saka, or Pepe.
Apart from a 1-0 win for the Hammers in the 2018/19 campaign, Arsenal have only lost two of their last nine contests, scoring 13 goals to West Ham’s 8 since the 2015/16 season. Conceding frequently appears to be the problem for the Hammers and it’s one that has seen them regularly involved in relegation dogfights.
Quite when West Ham will decide to spend big to cure an obvious problem is up for conjecture. Despite the stats, West Ham won’t be devoid of spirit and will try to put Arsenal on the back foot from the first whistle but their enthusiasm to take the game to the Gunners could prove to be their undoing.
I don’t expect many changes in personnel, but it will be interesting to see how the defense lines up in the light of a good performance from Gabriel and Holding. I suspect Holding has done enough to keep Willian Saliba out of the side and similarly Willian, who’s three assists changed the course of the Fulham vs Arsenal game, will probably keep Saka and Pepe on the bench.
Ceballos could displace Elneny, who gave a good account of himself against Fulham but from an attacking perspective, the Spaniard has a clear edge. Bellerin should get another run-out and Maitland-Niles looks likely to just fend off Saka, but it’s a straight toss between the pair for a starting position.
The Arsenal v West Ham will be a good scrap between two London sides looking to grab early points for different reasons but the pressure is on the Hammers. Arsenal should, on paper, win this contest by two clear goals but that’s not to say it will prove easy with the likes of Mark Noble trying to assert himself in the middle. The veteran West Ham man always gives value for money and will relish the Premier League contest against a reinvigorated Arsenal.
The Gunners should eventually grab the advantage and increase the early pressure on David Moyes, who could be an early candidate for the chop. It seems bizarre to be talking so early about Premier League managers in this context, but you have to hit the ground running from the first match and another successive loss will increase the heat on the Scot.
Aubameyang is just too hot to handle at the moment for this type of opposition and I don’t rule out a brace given the type of service that is currently available.
Preferred Team for the Arsenal v West Ham Game: Leno; Gabriel, Saliba, Tierney, Bellerin; Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka; Willian, Lacazette, and Aubameyang.
Predicted Team for the Arsenal v West Ham Game: Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Bellerin; Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Predicted Score: Arsenal win 2-0
Key Arsenal Figures: Leno, Aubameyang, and Willian