West Ham Preview: Another Reason to Believe in Arsenal
The spirits at the Emirates have been dampened in recent times.
Swansea came around in the league and went home with all three points (thanks to Michu) and Manchester City ended their atrocious run of results in Arsenal’s home ground with a 2 – 0 victory this month.
West Ham arrive in this ground languishing in 12th place and many Arsenal fans will hope that their team won’t put up another appalling first half performance.
Arsenal is a heavy favorite to secure a victory tonight against West Ham. Sports betting and poker site WilliamHill released the exact odds and payoff of this match. Currently Arsenal has 4/9 odds in winning the match while West Ham is a big underdog sitting with 6/1 odds.
Arsenal have been beaten by Manchester City and Chelsea in their most recent matches and may have wasted an opportunity to push for this season’s title. Betting experts’ opinions are mixed about the Gunners securing a UEFA Champions League qualification noting that they have tough competition against the likes of Everton, Tottenham, and Chelsea.
A win over West Ham can improve their betting odds and strengthen their chances in winning the Premier League title. Arsenal is an underdog with 300/1 odds in winning the Premier League. Head over to WilliamHill after the match to see the updates.
In recent times, the Gunners seem to prefer to wake in the second half with their backs against the wall and judging from the results against Man City and Chelsea, that isn’t really the best route to follow week-in week-out.
Arsenal’s gaffer, Arsene Wenger, has called on his players to bounce back but he’s deeply concerned about his team’s recent form. The manager conceded that his team has been too respectful against bigger sides and he’s still on the lookout for that special, special player.
Things may look very gloomy right about now, but a commanding performance as well as three absolutely vital points will put the Gunners within touching distance of that coveted Champions League spot.
One player that has been grabbing all the headlines recently is Arsenal’s highest earner, Theo Walcott. After finally signing da ting, Walcott has spoken about how he believes in his team, and it was one of the reasons why he put pen to paper (via the Sun),
“We’ve got to start clocking up points fast. We were out of the top four for quite a while last year as well and still managed to finish third, so we can’t start worrying about what Spurs are doing.
I signed my new contract because I believe this team is getting better and we don’t want to be standing still.”
It’s really awkward to see how things have panned out this season for Arsene Wenger and his men. It started with much promise and everybody was buzzing when the team had three clean sheets on the trot. So much for the influence of Steve Bould huh?
To team news, Arsenal is set to welcome Lukas Podolski back to the side and I’ll like to see how Wenger tweak his team. The boss has ruled out Francis Coquelin and he’s going to have a quick check before making a decision on whether to select Abou Diaby or not.
The lanky Frenchman has played so much football since his return from injury and I feel that it’s high time he gets some time in the dugout, allowing fresher players to stake their claim. We all know that Wenger has a thing for Diaby and it’s probably the reason why Arsenal hasn’t shopped for a holding midfielder in January.
Speaking of holding midfielders, the Lego-haired Spaniard, Mikel Arteta, could be back in the squad that will play Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup Fourth Round (via Goal.com). The pivote has been hugely missed and his influence on this team is second to none.
It would really be interesting to see how Mohamed Diame plays today. Arsenal has been heavily linked with the powerhouse (via Metro) and like Demba Ba, he’s also available for cheaps with a release clause of just £3.5m. Diame has been an ever-present figure for West Ham this season and I really hope that he puts up a show tonight.
Funnily enough, Demba Ba put up one hell of a show in Arsenal’s emphatic 7 – 3 victory but he still ended up in Chelsea.
I’d expect Wojciech Szczesny to continue in goal, even though it was Vito Mannone that was between the sticks when Arsenal visited Upton Park in October. The big Pole has had just two clean sheets in his last eight games and he could do with one right about now.
With Laurent Koscielny still suspended, I expect the same back line that played against Chelsea to play tonight but I’m hopeful to see a much-improved performance from Bacary Sagna. The French fullback comes up against the exciting Matt Jarvis so he can’t afford to let his guard down because Jarvis is an accomplished crosser of the ball.
There won’t be any Marouane Chamakh to attack Jarvis’ crosses but there’s a certain Andy Carroll in their ranks.
In midfield, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey will be the midfield triumvirate tonight. I know that Ramsey hasn’t been in anybody’s good books recently, but Diaby needs a rest.
In attack, Podolski will return to his favored left wing position with Olivier Giroud spearheading the attack and Theo Walcott doing his thing down the right. Walcott has stated that this is his best season yet and his amazing return of 15 goals has been heartwarming to say the least.
However, with his new status as Arsenal’s highest earner, he may to take more responsibility in getting the goals, with Giroud firing blanks lately.
Here’s to a great game tonight.
A victory will be another reason to believe in Arsenal.
You can download the Gooner Daily BlackBerry App to receive notifications on your Smart Phone when a post is published.
You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back
Feel free to visit Gooner Daily’s Facebook page and click on the like button.
You can also join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List to get notifications of new posts by email by clicking on the Follow button