WEST HAM PREVIEW – MANAGING COMPLACENCY TEMPTATION

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Well good morning my darlings. I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all the lovely messages about my friend and the kind donations you made yesterday to the family. The Arsenal community has many faces, one of them is the outpouring of kindness about the important things.

One thing that did occur to me is that this site doesn’t do enough for good causes. We’ll be looking to address that over the coming months and I’d like it to be geared around suicide prevention and mental health. Any suggestions will be very much welcome in the comments, I’ve already had CALM sent my way.

Now, let’s pivot to something a little more joyous.

Arsenal might have found a new anthem.

This song entered the culture yesterday as a new Arsenal anthem. I love it. It speaks to local pride, the lyrics are simple, and it seems there’s a 100% YES from fans that we should make this our own. Massive congrats to Louis Dunford. They say every successful musician needs a song in an advert, a film placement, or an anthem for a team. Good work.

The internet is magic.

Mikel Arteta was in a game face kind of mood in the press conference. He wouldn’t be drawn in by any press questions that suggested this game would be easy. He knows we were utterly shite at The Olympic Stadium last season for the first 30 minutes, David Luiz didn’t fancy it, we were beasted, we went 3-0 down. The fightback was a sign of things to come for the team culture, it was the game we found out who this quiet Norwegian kid called Martin Odegaard was, and we exited with a point.

Arsenal players need to remember what West Ham is capable of. They are not in the semi-finals of a European comp because they are mugs. The David Moyes comeback tour with West Ham has been built on resistance and tactical nous. If we go into the Sunday game thinking we can take the 3 points without a fight, we’re going to be in big trouble.

Injury-wise, we’re in good shape. Bukayo Saka is available after recovering well from a knock in the United game. That is huge, he is in imperious form, he’s grown some MAN teeth this season and he looks ready for the next level.

Tomiyasu is now ready to play. Art De Roche asked a question about breaking the lines with his left peg, the response was intriguing.

‘Well, when we follow the player and we identify him as one of the candidates, obviously it one of the things that I came across and it gives you a lot of solutions. Not only because he can use both feet, but he can play right centre-back, left centre-back, he can play left-back so that gives you enormous variability and it’s the way they’ve been raised and coached since a really young age, that’s what he says so for him, left and right is the same.’

Was this question aimed at seeing if Mikel might be thinking about Tomi at left-back to give us more solidity and balance for a Spurs game that likely won’t see Nuno Tavares? I think it was.

Tomi at left-back… would you do it?

Arteta does have the chance to do something interesting tactically.

Things we know:

  • West Ham will rest all their main players because they are chasing a Euro final and CL football
  • Their squad is generally quite old, there might be a bit of self-preservation, even with the B team
  • I suspect whatever side is put out will come for us, I don’t think they’ll sit back, they have to put on a show for the home fans, even if they do lose
  • Their players will be emotionally and physically drained
  • Moyes won’t have had much time to analyse Arsenal

The mission should be to hit them hard and fast. Score the first goal and it’s going to be very hard for them to get back into the game. The nightmare is if they score first and sit into a dirty deep block.

Arteta will understand this dynamic and might opt for something sexy. Might we see two strikers? Gabi and Eddie more central? Odegaard pushing up higher? West Ham having to pivot tactics because we bring something new to the party might be sharp, especially as they’ll not have a centre-back partnership of note.

Whatever happens, the boys will know that we have to cause problems, take our chances, and leave with 3 points. Leicester is likely going to get thumped by Conte, Kane likes it against them. Spurs haven’t had an answer to Harry Kane getting marked out of the game, but let’s be real, Brendan isn’t going to have a starting 11 capable of doing anything about the England striker and I struggle to believe there won’t be a forceful reaction to ZERO shots on target in two games.

My two ideals for the end of this season are for us to head into the Spurs game not needing a win because we beat West Ham and Leeds… and I’d rather the decider not rest on Everton’s fate. It just had too much juicy bullshit narrative written over it.

Before I leave you, there’s a great podcast on Sky Sports with Mikel, he talks about managing players, and the plan for the summer. He was asked whether we were going to make VVD and Alisson moves this summer, he said, ‘we are not in a position to do that.’

Things to note from that:

  • We’re not at the cherry-on-top phase of the project, we don’t even have Champions League football sewn-up
  • He’s telling you very clearly that there’s finite cash to spend this summer, so don’t expect a mega blowout
  • Liverpool under Klopp took until 17/18 to go massively beyond a £50m net spend. The two prior seasons to the blowout, they had a positive net spend.

Arteta says we can’t do what Liverpool did in that one window, but what we can do is build out a sustainable approach to our transfer business. That means coaching our players to better, bringing through elite kids from the academy, and doing something crazy: sell players for actual cash instead of giving them away.

The plan is to attack Liverpool and City for the league within 3 years.

We’ll do that by:

  • Keeping our best players
  • Spending the money we do have with absolute precision
  • Getting into the Champions League and staying there
  • Striking when the moment is HOT

Getting to the top in a league like this one takes 5 years minimum, we might get there in 6 (the amount of time Ralf R said you need), you could chalk that up to a strategic fuck up, a novice management group, or the worst non-war mitigating circumstance in sporting history.

No one will care if we continue progressing the way we are, just look at these real puuurdy graphs.

Right, on that note, jump into our podcast preview of the West Ham game and slide into man-like-Matt-Kandela’s DMs because he’ll be at the away game this weekend.


249 Responses to “WEST HAM PREVIEW – MANAGING COMPLACENCY TEMPTATION”

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  1. Un

    Odegaard is one of the best creators in the world already and still has gears t go through
    Bergkamp didn’t arrive until he was 25 (as a striker) and didn’t become the lead creator until after 28/29 at arsenal.

  2. LoveSausage

    Ode sometimes looks a bit inefficient against low blocks. I’ve been occasionally frustrated that he takes too many touches. But he’s not necessarily the problem. We haven’t had a mobile #9 all season. Plus, we often play a very slow and horizontal brand of football. You need collective speed and verticality to unlock low blocks. Ode isn’t and will never be a quick player. But if he had more such players around him, he’d be more efficient.

  3. Un

    Love sausage
    Put efficient movers and finishers in front of him as he’s leading the assist charts this year

  4. Havyn

    I’ve noticed a lot of mistakes in the play of Gabriel recently which have often led to goals. He’s still young and learning but I think Saliba is good enough to break into Gabriel/Whyte partnership

  5. Nigel Tufnel

    On Xhaka….

    I guess he is a real career genius to have been playing exclusively for teams and managers (at least 5) that have him starting every single game without fail.
    He must have Epstein type blackmail photos on all of them.

    There’s also Mourinhos comments about what he as a manager, observes about Xhaka, and what he does for the team… that he said fans don’t see (including me). I suspect there’s a lot in that.

    I know the Xhaka haters will say he didn’t offer real money for Xhaka, but I assume Roma had other budget priorities.

    The comments he made complimenting Xhaka were without agenda, so I tend to believe them.

    My regular comment… I still look forward to a Xhaka upgrade, but I appreciate him more than most, and am happy to admit that even the worst manager knows a LOT more about real football than any of blog experts like us.

  6. Naija+soccer

    One great positive about Xhaka though is that he’s for the most part injury-free. For an Arsenal fan, that’s a necessity. Too bad he’s limited in other areas. Can you imagine what an injury-free Cazorla could have done for Arsenal ?

  7. Habesha Gooner

    Well Leicester won’t do us any favors. We have to do it the hard way by only relying on ourselves. Games against Leeds, Newcastle, and Everton to come after this besides the NLD. If we win every other game with out spurs, we will still make it. But Everton fighting for their lives and Newcastle at home will be tough.

  8. Un

    Havyn

    Glad I’m not the only one. I’m not convinced at all by Gabriel and never have been. He could prove me wrong as there’s enough in his game to work out the kinks in his concentration.
    Not sure about Lakonga either personally. Still not seeing why he’s rated so highly by others.

  9. Un

    Can you imagine what an injury-free Cazorla could have done for Arsenal ?

    Naija

    We’d have won the league in 2016

  10. Leftside

    I expect West Ham to go as full strength as possible which is fine. We know we have to beat them, an under strength side would probably see us show up not expecting a tricky game.

  11. China1

    Anything other than a defeat for Leicester could be massive for us.

    Come on Leicester, even a point would be brilliant for us.

  12. China1

    I’d actually be curious to see stats on the more injury free players in the PL

    I think it’s safe to say xhaka would be in the top 10 over the last 5 years. He is literally always available

  13. Un

    Dissenter

    Mane and that rat faced shit bag Fernandes get away with it too. Not English.
    Some players are just lucky I guess.

  14. Un

    Dissenter

    Also, Italian and Spanish teams have been world class at it for years. And the Argentinians.

  15. Naija+soccer

    Leicester lost this game before it even started. That line-up is quite underwhelming. Where’s Ndidi, Maddison, shrewbury-hall(spell check?), Vardy, Barnes.

  16. Habesha Gooner

    Leicester truly are done as a club that competes for Europe. Vardy will retire in a few seasons. And their best players are itching to go up a level. We need to take Youri Tielemans though. We would have a beast of a midfield with him, Partey and Odegaard. Maddison will also want out. The last one that will be left will be fofana. Great talent but he just signed a new contract and he will stay for a while. It is funny how they bend over for Kane every time.

  17. Samesong

    Everton are really fighting for their lives. I reckon they win this by a small margin

    They need to sort out their final ball. Chelsea were kept up by fireworks by an Everton fan last night lol

  18. Freddie Ljungberg

    I’m here Don, did you miss me?:)

    Haven’t seen CC around for a while, Marko and Ish still around sometimes though.

    Now that Xhaka hasn’t been a total liability Ish just has less reason to post I guess)

    looking forward to the game today, 3 points a must… we need that CL spot to keep building the team up.

  19. Avi

    You just know the bottler Rodger is throwing the game when you read he’s made 8 changes against the spuds, wanker.

  20. Samesong

    The only thing that hamper us today is being nervous and going into our shells again. London stadium a intimating place for the youngsters.

  21. Johng

    If Chelsea lose today it maybe brings them back into sight
    Big big game today but don’t think Moyes will be going all Brendan on us

  22. Rich

    It’s difficult to cheer on any Mourinho teams, but I really hope Roma stuff Leicester on Thursday..

  23. Samesong

    Can’t rely on Leceister to beat spurs at home that’s laughable.We have to win our games and that’s that. I will never ever cheer on a Mourinho side.

  24. Nelson

    Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Holding, Magalhaes, Tavares, Elneny, Xhaka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Saka, Nketiah.

    Subs: Leno, Lacazette, Smith Rowe, Cedric, Pepe, Lokonga, Kirk, Salah-Eddine, Swanson.

  25. Dissenter

    Moyes knows you need good form to take to Frankfurt on Thusday
    There’s also sufficient rest period between now and Thursday

    Westham can easily beat Frankfurt away. Their loss on Thursday doesn’t mean as much because there’s no way goal rule.

  26. Rich

    Wonder if it’s 3 at the back:

    ……………….Ramsdale
    ……..Tomi Holding Gabriel
    Saka Elneny Xhaka Tavares
    …..Odegaard ……Martinelli
    ……………….Nketiah

  27. David.D

    Fucking worried now.
    West ham really going for it with strong line up.
    Rice bowen fornals lanzini and benrahma ffs.
    Compared to the team fucking Rogers has put out against spurs.
    Cunt.

  28. Positive pete

    Surprise,surprise.Not such a weak spammers side at all.Typical Moyes.wants our scalp.If they (Ham)pick up an injury or two will serve him right.

  29. Positive pete

    Still .They played on Thursday.Hopefully 🤞Will tire to our advantage.More worried about Mike Dean to tell you the truth.

  30. Dunchirado

    Based on past experience, I don’t see Arsenal win this Match.
    Moye really going for it, And games that Arsenal fans
    usually say things like “we should definitely beat them”
    or “we’re on form so we should win” are the games
    that really make me nervous.

  31. Samesong

    The key is just to not lose game. A win here will be perfect. I would take a draw tbh. If we can score early. Or not concede first half. We have a good chance.

  32. Dissenter

    All our games are very diffiult
    Leeds will be fighting for their premier league existence
    Everton will be fighting for their premier league existence
    Newcastle have been excellent at home under the new regimen
    Spurs away

    We have to win today

  33. David.D

    I’m really worried.
    Nor sure we are winning this.
    Not the easiest of places to win and now he has named that team even tougher.
    So hope we are switched on and we can get the first goal.
    Scoring first for us is massive.

  34. Samesong

    All our games are very difficult

    Diss totally agree. And with difficult comes immense pressure. Seeing that clip of Oden walking into changing room I don’t know if it was nerves or sheer focus.

  35. Avi

    Wtf they’re playing full strength team almost. Really surprised.

    Of course with the Sp**s luck Leicester field a B team for a Mickey Mouse competition while West Ham risking it all for no reason.

    I hope they get knocked out of the EL for this.

  36. TheLegendaryDB10

    I think we can beat West Ham but we must not underestimate them. West Ham are not going to roll over.

    And I agree with the idea of scoring first. We do that, we can rattle West Ham and give us a chance and taking control early on.

  37. Chris

    Was tellling myself Spurs would win today so not real surprise. A draw today for us wouldn’t be a complete disaster, as long as we best Leeds and Liverpool beat spurs.

  38. LoveSausage

    We haven’t tested their back line at all so far. Xhaka has been OK so far but Big Mo is back to his customary sideways and back passing. Eddie needs to get his head in the game and start participating in the buildup.

  39. Mark

    No complacency in sight today, fear is back tho.
    but far too much back and sideways passing. Holding, elneny, Xhaka hardly carry the ball and pass forwards, just out to one flank then the other. Lack confidence and balls.
    I can see us losing this. 🤬

  40. JOEL

    If Tommy can play at left back…as suggested by Arteta…then Tavares has to be hooked once again….He’s been abysmal in every sense…He keeps giving the ball away …Although for the most part his passes have been successful as they’ve been backwards to a team mate standing no more than three feet away…His defending has been naive at best…despite Xhaka continuously trying to tell him what to do…Went missing before Coufal’s cross into the box for Bowen’s equalizer….He frankly isn’t good enough to play at this level and sadly reminds me of Andre Santos…