Thursday, September 27, 2007

West Ham vs. Arsenal: Match Preview

Arsenal are set to play an exciting match on Saturday as they take on West Ham, the only team ever to beat Arsenal at the Emirates. West Ham are something of a bogey team for the Gunners, having won their last 4 Premiership meetings, and Arsenal will not be happy if they lose to recently departed Freddy Ljungberb. However, Arsene Wenger's boys will be heavy favorites to win this match, especially considering form that sees them undefeated in 17 games (since the loss to West Ham last season). Both teams have been performing well recently though, as Arsenal are in first, and West Ham not too far behind in seventh.

Arsene Wenger has told that Alex Hleb may or may not be ready in time for Saturday. In other injury news, Emmanuel Eboue returned from injury against Newcastle, but probably won't feature on Saturday, as he is not match fit. Alex Song has also been added to the injury list, although he probably wouldn't have featured anyway. The other injured players are all still out, although Wenger did put something of a time frame on their returns.

Edit: Hleb is now fit but Eduardo is injured and Theo Walcott is set to be rested

“William Gallas is maybe a week or 10 days away,” said Wenger. “But I would not like to set a time on it really. As for Rosicky you can probably fix the date for Sunderland [next Sunday]. Jens Lehmann will be another week.”

Arsenal come off of the 5-0 defeat of Derby County last weekend and a 2-0 win over Newcastle in the Carling Cup on Tuesday. They will therefore be high in confidence - especially Emmanuel Adebayor and Cesc Fabregas, who have each scored 6 goals this season. Fabregas has scored a goal in each of his last 4 Premier League games and Adebayor recorded a hat-trick in the win over Derby.

Other starters will most likely include Bacary Sagna, Philippe Senderos, Kolo Toure, and Gael Clichy in the back line. It will be interesting to see who Wenger opts to play in the midfield, although Fabregas, Gilberto, Flamini, and Diaby are the most likely candidates if Hleb doesn't manage to return in time. Up front Arsene will most likely start Adebayor and van Persie, although Eduardo and Theo Walcott are also possibilities. Maybe we'll even see Nicklas Bendtner come off the bench.

Whoever we start, we should certainly be playing for a win, even against a bogey team. Craig Bellamy and Dean Ashton have been on decent form for the Hammers this season, but our defense shouldn't have too much trouble handling them if there are no errors from Senderos. We should get another clean sheet, and I expect a few goals from our side as well. I don't want to be too optimistic by predicting 3-0, so I'll go ahead and say that we should win 2-0, to stay at the top of the table.

Match Review