Arsenal v West Ham Preview: Ozil benched, Laca to Start, How Will Jack Feel?

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This is a match Pellegrini of West Ham United would set his team out not to lose. They have lost their first two matches of the season and are playing at away where they made 15pts last season.

Emery would set his team out to win. They have also lost their first two matches of the season and are playing at home where they made 47pts last season.

Emery would want an expansive game but he knows Pellegrini would want to keep it tight. The first goal could be crucial so expect Emery to instruct his team to start with a controlled aggression.

Understandably Emery should still be in the mood to chop and change as he continues his search for the best combinations to fit his ideas. But as a must-win-game for him, that urge would be tempered by a measure of conservatism. This is not the match to stray too far into uncharted territory.

I expect him to start with the same back five that he used against Chelsea. Many thanks to Aubamayang’s leaked list, we now know that Papastathopoulus isn’t that slow.

For the double pivot, Guendouzi for sure retains his place. Xhaka was substituted at half time in the Chelsea match probably because he was on a yellow coupled with the fact that the pace of that match was too frenetic for his more measured style. West Ham are not coming with that kind of intensity so expect Xhaka to start again. Or would Emery start Ramsey instead as he might see his box runs as suited against a West Ham team that would be reluctant to throw men forward. As for Torreira, Emery seems to be giving him time to adjust to his new environment but there again he would desire to have his full backs push up high for width and the terrier sitting in front of the central defenders.

It would be head scratching deciding who to select for the front four.  Big reputation would be vying with current form in a new system (albeit only two games yet). With West Ham likely to defend deep, would Lacazette be more effective than Aubamayang in the tiny spaces the opponent’s compactness would leave?  Or does Emery start the two of them at the expense of one attacking midfielder?

Attacking midfield would be his biggest headache. He has in Ramsey and Welbeck excellent pressers of the ball, Ozil and Mkhitaryan the creative pair but never quite up to speed when without the ball and Iwobi who played so well against Chelsea and who is his best ball carrier.

Who starts, who drops? We can imagine how he would keep turning these questions over and over in his mind, viewing them from different angles, seeking the best balance, consulting and discussing with assistant Carcedo, and finding himself revisiting decisions as the perfectionist in him keeps conjuring up myriad scenarios. Time constraint finally would bail him out of this torment as he literally is compelled to submit that last moment’s list of starters and subs. I suppose many of us go through such rituals buying something as simple as a tie or a scarf.

It is fascinating trying to figure out the possible lines of Emery’s thinking and here is my prediction (long shot) of what his line up would be:-


Bellerin.  Mustafi.  Sokratis.    Monreal.

——–Guendouzi.      Ramsey———-

    Mkhitaryan      Ozil.      Iwobi


BENCH:- Leno, Lichsteiner, Holding, Xhaka, Torreirai, Welbeck, Lacaztette.

The project is to get 3 pts and we will get it. It has rained, it’s now time for sunshine. There would be one strange sight, Jack not in our colours. I would cringe were Shkodran Mustafi to leave him in a crumpled heap on the ground in a fair but crunching tackle. Him and us are for ever, this Arsenal legend that never was.


By PE.

50 thoughts on “Arsenal v West Ham Preview: Ozil benched, Laca to Start, How Will Jack Feel?

  • Diolch as the Welsh say, PE. Thank you for another fine preview – you are getting really good at this! 🙂

    Don’t like the line up one bit but who knows what the gaffer will do. My line up for tomorrow:

    Licht – Sok – Mus – Nacho
    Mkhi – – – Ozil – – – – Auba
    ——- Laca —————–

    Predicted score: who knows but a win will be sweet. Okay then 6-2 to the Arsenal.

  • Good stuff PE. It’s wild guess time really as we try to work out what patterns there are in the new managers selection policy. How much is experimentations, how much testing players out, and how much tactical? How much does he favour consistency?

    My punt would have the same back 5 as you. But starting with the same pivot. I think Xhaka will thrive in the space and time he is likely to get tomorrow. I’m not as big a fan of his as TA, but I do think these are games where he can pull the strings for us. I’d be minded to bench him more in games where we don’t see much ball. I think he has what it takes, but needs coaching to help him anticipate better so he’s not always hurried. Guendi is performing and full of confidence and energy; I’m all for letting that run, albeit with the exoectation that he may slip back as the season progresses.

    In front of them well I’d bench Mkhi for this one. Ozil has had his warning with an early sub. Rambo too being dropped from the start against the chavs. Both start for me. Iwobi probably gets another run after a decent show last time. But Danny could equally be given a try out. A single striker though. And I’m wondering whether Laca might be due a try as a starter? A long shot I know given his sloppy give away in the last game. But he’s too good to always be on the bench and I don’t think this is likely to be a game to start them both – we need more stability behind them before we start going for it in attack.

    Anyway, the selection will be almost as fascinating as anything else. It will be sad to see Jack in claret. But I wish him well. He will get a great reception and I hope he keeps his head and avoids cards or injury. He doesn’t need to spoil the show with a goal mind!

  • So:

    Bells,Musti, Sok, Nacho
    Guendi, Xhaka
    Ozil, Rambo, Iwobi

    Some long shots in there I know!

  • Nice preview Pony. I liked Mkhitaryans comments this week. Confident. I like the way he has looked overall, even though not perfect, but since he’s played 90 twice already, maybe we can use some depth? I’d rather start him so as not to take West ham lightly, and consider taking him off later. Ozil, I believe, will adjust to the new regime, he’s just too good not to.

    I also predicted before the season that Mezut might get early showers regularly, as Mouhrinho used to do for him. You all know I like Torreira, Guendouzi, Ramsey ahead of Xhaka, but you and AB are right that this is a better team matchup for Granits style… I wish Emery and TA realized that Man city and Chelsea were not. A little dig on you, T… lol. Enjoy the game, and stop hatin on the kid Magic Matteo.

  • Thanks, TA,

    Your line up could be the gaffer’s. I’d be surprised though if he omits Guendouzi in this his must-win-match. I expect Torreira to come in latter. Coaches like to reward a good performances that’s why I expect Iwobi to start again.

    West Ham is a good game for Xhaka but I’d rather Xhaka or Douzi instead of Xhaka and Douzi. They are a bit too similar.

  • AB, … again your line up could be it. Rambo at #10 and Ozil at wide right had failed but then it was against City. So Emery might want to try it out again. He might find Ramsey irresistible for his high press needs.

    Mkhi has his down sides but nobody cuts the ball back better than him. Well weighed accurate cut backs. Remember his 1st match for us and the 3 assists.

  • Jnyc, …… I think so too about the early showers for Ozil. He seems a pure artist not able to dig deep for that reserve of raw energy which the last 25 minutes of play demand.

    For me, Xhata should be taken out of the firing line against intense pressing teams like City. Liv, Tot and Chels but he can be brilliant with most of the others.

  • Fine Preview, PE. While the historical stats show arsenal have only lost once to WHU in 22 games in all competitions (W 17, D 4), Pellegrini has a good record against Emery (P10, W 4, D3, L3). Hopefully, that counts for nothing in this must-win encounter for us.
    Manager’s (especially new gaffers) give players a chance to prove themselves and reward previously good performance with another start, so expect to see both Guendouzi and Xhaka start in this one. I won’t be surprised if Ozil is dropped though, just to help him get his head sorted, and Ramsey starts as a 10; the manager may want to try new things and will be given that latitude in forward areas (while the back 5 will remain consistent). Front 3 will be Iwobi, Auba and Mkhitaryan (who was our most effective player at Chelsea, from Adrian Clarke’s analysis of the game).

    So, my picks (Emery may think differently, mind) will be:


    Bellerin. Mustafi. Sokratis. Monreal.

    Guendouzi. Xhaka.


    Mkhitaryan. Auba. Iwobi

    Ozil to come from the bench later, just to see how he reacts. Laca and Torreira to come on later for Iwobi and Xhaka, respectively.

  • Emery on Guendouzi: “Last year he was in Ligue 2 but when the club spoke with me about him, the club had worked and watched him, we agreed and when he arrived here – not the first day, which is very difficult – but after two weeks we spoke and said ‘his performance is a very big surprise’ but also in each training and match we need him to show this progress consistently.”.

    Does this say the club had been watching the lad even before Emery came in? Was he a Mslintat or Wenger find, then? Whatever the case, a great find. Hope he does some magic today and keep Jack in the shade.

  • There are reports that Ozil is out with illness. For me Laca comes in to give:-

    Bel, Musti, Sokratis, Nacho.
    ——-Douzi, Ramsey.
    —–Mhki, Iwobi, Auba.

  • Eris ….. we are all coming up with different line ups each looking like it. The differences, I think, are not only because we have not figured out Emery fully but also because their are tough competitions for places almost everywhere.
    Bells v Lichst.
    Kos would soon be back to put the heat on Musti and Sokr.
    Nacho V Kola (by Dec?).
    Douzi, Xhaka, Torreira, Rambo for the pivot (here any No. can win).
    #10 between Ozil, Rambo, Iwobi, Mkki, Laca.
    Wide left between Iwobi, Welbz, Auba, Laca.
    Wide right Mkhi, Ozil, Iwobi, Welbz, Auba, Laca.
    #9 straight fight between Auba and Laca
    Plus Nelson and co on the wings.

    With these Emery would never be able to swear on his next starters.

  • — and Elneny also for the pivot. Elneny would be excellent against intense pressing teams. His ball circulation is wonderful.

  • Ozil not involved – by all accounts he’s ill….

    Ramsey, Guendouzi, Xhaka midfield.
    Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang up front.
    Usual defence.

  • Confirmed :-

    Bel, Musti, Sokr, Nacho
    Xhaka, Douzi
    Mkhi, Ramsey, Iwobi

  • Eris–
    Humor me once more– yes? From the perspective of Arsenal keeping a database tracking all potential prospects, all ages, reaching back 6-plus years. Through advantage of more thorough data, identifying those as having top-flight ability before other top clubs.

    IMO, three players in the squad presently, uncovered in the past 24 months (between ages 18-20) in this fashion: Holding, Mavropanos, Guendouzi.

    Not a Wenger or Mislintat ‘find’. Guendouzi was ‘in the system’. Probably for years. When his tracked levels of performance rose to points flagged by analysis– the club signed him.

    Apologies for revisiting the heresy! 😉

  • Man City draw at Wolves, Wolves’ goal apparently wasn’t kosher, VAR anyone?

    But from what I’ve heard Man City worked the referee.
    Guardiola and big players, all massive personalities, that equates to favouritism by intimidated officials….

  • Kev–
    VAR likely overturns that score by Wolves. That ball appeared headed. Tough for an official to have discerned contact otherwise– at any distance.

    The City perspective on influencing the ref? One of entitlement now.


  • JW, not using VAR this season, at least for the Premier, is a terrible indictment on the PR guys and their ‘greatest show on earth’ spin that we constantly hear, officiated by some of the worst referees on earth. Frankly I find it embarrassing that the wealthiest league is running scared of VAR.

  • Eris good job, I think you got the complete starting 11. That’s not easy to do lately. JW, I would love for the news to come out in the future that Matteo was a Wenger find ! That would really mess with the heads of Wenger haters for years to come ..
    I reminded a friend, that the best thing that happened this summer was Adli turning us down to stay at PSG. That’s when we went for Guendouzi instead.

  • jw … your probably quoting my comfirmed line up breaking news. Missed Laca for Xhaka in my revised prediction after Ozil’s illness news.

  • We started well, but the game has since evened out with WHU having dangerous situations as well. I think the first goal will be crucial.

  • Can’t say a lot.. Arnautovic did it again.. Damn I hated this guy.. He should be our player instead..
    Lucky we have Monreal..

  • J–
    AW haters are just haters. Looking for the next thing to hate on.
    Also foreseeing recycling for the acronym ‘AKB’.

    Arsene Knew Better. 🙄


  • Henry–
    Would that our attackers show the same composure as Nacho front of goal!


  • Yes JW1..
    I said before.. don’t underestimated West Ham.. We almost lost.. Arnautovic is a beast.. If he is a bit taller, he will be the same as Ibra.. Hehehe..

    Back to the laptop..
    I think Iwobi must changed.. Lacazette will play.. And we need Torreira for Xhaka..

  • The first half offered up the defensive play of the season thus far for Granit Xhaka.
    Unfortunately, it was Aaron Ramsey he the dispossessed of the ball.


  • Great composure by Nacho; he’s been doing a lot of good things today and so has Xhaka. I feel our boys are over-thinking things and not playing instinctively. WHU should be under the crush for most of this game but if we can get the next goal, maybe we can go on to score another late on.

    Not sure why Lichtsteiner shouldn’t be playing a game like this with a big guy like Antonio on their left side; Bellerin is being bullied though going forward, he’s been a threat.

    Laca and Torreira to come on later; not sure who for at this time. Iwobi, for sure (by the 65th minute, or so).

  • What’s missing is a metronome. Interpreting intensity maybe a bit too much. As Emery said they should know when to change the rhythm. It would come particular if they begin to get wins.

  • Henry– Arnautovic not quite the finesse of Ibra– but certainly a nasty streak a la Diego Costa.

    Eris– Antonio not only bullying Hector but outrunning him at times. Not seeing Xhaka from your perch. Couple more brain-farts today from Mustafi– including his going to a knee freeing Arnautovic for the return pass to shoot for the goal.


  • Lacazette came on and helped to change the game for us. Good win and happy for Welbeck (completely forgot about him). 3-1 makes for a good scoreline.

    Xhaka was one of our best players today, on defensive and offensive actions. He kept things ticking over and covered well for Bellerin, countless times. Every player has moments of brain farts but overall, he justified playing the full game.

    The City Juggernaut was slowed down by the champions of the Championship (versus the champions of the EPL). That makes for better reading of the league table, even if it means Liverpool win and go top.

  • Though the choice and timing of Danny into the game– was as important as Laca’s introduction. Big hat-tip to Sokratis! Maintaining defensive position– putting a body on Yarmalenko– on the ball that came back across goal– there for the tap-in; avoiding a 2-2 leveling.


  • I’m glad the commentator mentioned what i was thinking at the exact moment.. why commit so many forward on our corners when nursing a one goal lead? One lucky bounce or opponent pass and we look like the same old Arsenal. I hope the coaches remember that play.
    ….. Although I wanted him sold, Welbeck is an excellent late sub for defense, athleticism and even a goal threat. I was happy to see him come on. …
    One thing for sure, most of us here have been very right about Xhaka. He can start plenty of games against teams like this, where he has time on the ball. He’s really a liability against fast pressing teams….. Torreira, known for defense, showed great passing vision and touch as well.

    West Ham just don’t look any different than previous seasons.

  • Couple interesting bits:
    Four red cards in 3 matches today.
    Arsenal (thus far) picking up points on every other club but Leicester.
    (I admit to horrible timing. As I typed the last point, Salah scored for Pool. As earlier, soon as I tuned in to Wolves 1-0 City, Laporte headed-in to equalize.)
    Finally, Welbeck scored with the instep of his boot.


  • Xhaka stays on, Torreira joins on 56 minutes….. and we score twice, do not concede anymore and win the game. There you go Johnnie. Xhaka-Torreira in the DM double is obviously the future, and yes against all teams – also the high pressing ones. Time will get you to see it. 🙂

  • Tons to analyse from this game and our defence and defending are obviously a massive work in progress, but that was an important win to build further on. Luckily, Emery gets two full weeks to work with the non-internationals.

  • For me it is a scrappy 3 points and we could have even lost.
    Our midfield up until Torreira came on was virtually not helping the defense one bit.
    2 of Hammers chances were flashed past the post, and we were shaky at the back all afternoon.
    The second half we had a better midfield, and Torreira was everywhere. It is him that settled our nerves and plugged the holes.

    Happy with the win and the chances taken, but the way we won it needs more work. Good progress nevertheless.

  • Njk. agreed … they did have too many chances. Still not right defensively, and I don’t mean Mustafi and Sokratis. Like you, I think the problem is much more complicated.

  • Phew 3 points . Wasn’t able to see the match until the early hours in the Uk and it’s very difficult to form an opinion on a radio commentary.

    Just a couple of throw away lines.

    1. Refreshing to see Emery using his subs well. If you are not performing off you come, reputations or not. I thought he did well yesterday in this respect.

    2. Maybe a little harsh, but was Cech s little slow in getting down for their goal?

    3. Bellerin looked very good going forward, but still looks a bit of a mess at the back to me.

    4,is Ozil really Ill?

  • Retsubster, let’s just take it that Ozil is sick. He should be back next week.

    Jnyc, yes. It is a mixture of defensive and midfield awareness, and Torreira looks the person to plug the holes

    To both, maybe we should play Lichtsteiner in the next game. He has better awareness in defense and his stint in left back stopped Citeh from scoring more. So, a first start at RB.

  • Hi all..
    JK.. I had the same fear also, that we might losed again.. especially on first half..
    But We are a better team on second half..
    Lacazette prove that he is more dangerous as a CF than Aubameyang.. Still can’t understand why he always bench.. although Auba already said that he better play as a winger..
    Salah/Ronaldo/Messi all are wingers.. and they all the top scorer.. So I think if Auba play as a LW he may score a lot.. hehehe..

    The good thing.. that Emery didn’t wait till 70″ to changed his man.. like Wenger used to..
    And luckily all the subs did great job..

    So.. the bright side is that we still be improve a lot.. and we will win a lot also.. Hehehe..

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