David Moyes is the messiah, exclaimed the Hammers after they beat the reigning champions over the weekend. Arsenal were caught cold by the weather and Austin, before a late customary Giroud equalizer saved their blushes. Under these circumstances, as the snow starts settling down across London, the two London sides clash at the Olympic stadium tonight.
Per Mertesacker would have been wishing he was somewhere else other than St.Mary’s over the weekend and the same could be said for Alexis. Arsenal were lucky to come away with a point against Southampton, but then some may say the rub of the green had to turn towards us eventually, especially after what happened in the United game.
Arsenal are likely to revert to a back four to the benefit of us all, with Ramsey’s injury being cited the reason. Someone needs to catch hold of Bellerin, get him a haircut and tell him to keep his head firmly on the ground than in the air. He has been quite average this season and it does make you wonder if the head turned when his Catalonian cousins reached out to him. Monreal has been the only consistent player in the defence. For even the usually reliable Kos has had his moments (Why did he play that pass against United?) and Cech has been steady at best. Per will continue to play tonight and if he has another off day, Arnautovic and co will have a field day at the office.
The midfield selection will be interesting. Will Jack Wilshere finally start or will Arsene play it safe with either Coq/Elneny getting a game? For me I’d play Jack if he cannot sustain after 70 min, we know he not quite there yet, but I think he will be just fine albeit with a bit of over-enthusiasm.
Alexis/Lacazette and Mesut Ozil should continue to start, though the growing voices to start Giroud continue to be heard. West Ham will defend compact and a mobile forward line up has a better chance of breaking it than a direct approach one. Oliver has been excellent off the bench and very honestly, Giroud is now more an impact sub than a starting forward for us. If we are trying to please him by starting him, then it is a move to convince him to stay rather than a logical decision. I do not believe Arsene would do that.
West Ham will fancy their chances against a team who would want to play their game. The likes of Noble and co will literally be right on the feet of our midfielders and it would take a lot of effort to get away from that. Xhaka needs to be switched on throughout the game as that is what he lacks and our full backs need to remember they need to defend first and then join the attack.
Interesting to see the game plan of Moyes on this one, will he go with the momentum and ask his players to go for it against the Gunners and in doing so will it play into the hands of Arsenal? Will he rather be conservative, get a goal and sit back? Time shall tell though I expect the later to happen.
Overall it is a game that Arsenal must win and if they go with that attitude they shall. If you notice, the intensity shown in the Spurs game was not the same against United/Southampton and the results showed in contrasting ways. It is about time, Arsenal and Arsene realise that winning such games is mandatory to achieve what looks a race for the top four. If someone says league title, then all I have to say is Santa Clause is real, or at least he has more chance of being then us lifting the title.
Prediction- 1-3 Arsenal win.