West Ham Preview: no Diaby – no Diame, Frimpong & Jack reunited, Ox & Pod to start, Theo or OG?
Tonight’s game against the Hammer is a massive one and an absolute must-win for Arsenal. We have no time to dwell in melancholy over last Sunday’s dismal first half display and loss, as today’s derby will be a big challenge for us once again. The Hammers have nothing to lose and surely will make it a physical contest again.
When Arsenal encountered West Ham earlier this season – also after losing against the Chavs by 2-1 – we probably played our best game of the season. It was the last match before a two-week international break, and all was looking well for us after we beaten the Hammers with an energetic, physical and clinical performance. Late goals by Theo and Cazorla clinched the game for us, but my best memory belongs to Giroud’s powerful equaliser, five minutes before the break.
We know that West Ham are not an exact copy of Fat Sam’s previous teams: they still like to play football on the ground and at times play some attractive stuff. However, no Sammi Allerdici team will be denied height and physical strength, and once again we have to be wary of high balls being pumped into the box. Let’s hope the BFG will have fitted some coils in his shoes tonight, as he will need to jump a few times I reckon.
No Diaby – No Diame
We lack height in the team, and it looks like Diaby will not get a start tonight. This is what Arsene had to say about the lanky Frenchman: “Diaby is one of the guys I will have to check. You could see he was not completely physically fresh from the start on Sunday and he did dig deep to do what he did. He has played four games on the trot after being out for three months, so I will have to check him.”
Having watched our game against the Chavs again, I noticed how Diaby was our weakest link in midfield throughout most of the game, and it would be best to give him a rest.
The big question is whether our midfield will play against Mohamed Diame tonight. By the time we kick-off he might even be a Gunner! Apparently, he has a buy-out clause of only £3.5m and we could do with a beast of a DM right now. He appears to be unhappy with the way his buy-out clause is being handled and is now threatening to report his club to FIFA.
I am not sure Diame is the sort of character Arsene will want at the club, but let’s hope he won’t be playing against us tonight anyway.
Frimpong and Wilshere to be reunited?
With Coquelin and Arteta out injured, it looks like we might see the return of our own DM-Beast: the raw, energetic and passionate Frimpong. He was on the bench against the Chavs and I reckon he will play; and Jack will move out of the hole into the lynchpin role next to Frimmers tonight.
Jack and Emmanuel have played together a lot in the past, albeit at a lower level, and I reckon they will get the best out of each other tonight. There will be no lack of passion or drive, but the obvious risk is that either of them will go too far tonight and end up with a sending off.
Ox and Pod to start – Theo or Giroud, or both?
Apparently both Ox and Pod are available again, and we could do with some fresh pairs of legs tonight. However, if we are to play both Ox and Pod, it will mean Arsene has to either leave Giroud or Theo on the bench, or he will have to play 4-4-2, with Giroud and Theo starting together again, and Cazorla getting a well-earned rest.
I have no doubt Giroud will start tonight: we need his height in attack, and especially during set-pieces against us. I also feel that Arsene will need to play Theo again tonight; he is after all our top-scorer. Therefore, I reckon Ox will not get a start but Podolski will.
Let’s hope we’ll start strongly and keep it up for 90 minutes and for no further injuries (especially in midfield). A win tonight brings us close to the top-four and will give us some much needed momentum.
Come on boys: show us what you are made off and what it means to you to play for the mighty Arsenal! And not for 45 minutes but for 95 minutes ffs!
Written by: Total Arsenal.