Hammers v Arsenal Preview/Line-up: Freddie’s Third Game in Charge

Arsenal v West Ham – December 9th, 2019

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West Ham Utd joined the Western League for the 1901 season while also continuing to play in the Southern Division 1. In 1907, West Ham was crowned the Western League Division 1B Champions, and then defeated 1A champions Fulham 1–0 to become the Western League Overall Champions. The club continued to play their games at the Memorial Grounds in Plaistow (funded by Arnold Hills) but moved to a pitch in the Upton Park area in the guise of the Boleyn Ground stadium in 1904.

West Ham’s first game in their new home was against fierce rivals Millwall (themselves an Ironworks team, albeit for a rival company) drawing a crowd of 10,000 and with West Ham running out 3–0 winners, and as the Daily Mirror wrote on 2 September 1904, “Favoured by the weather turning fine after heavy rains of the morning, West Ham United began their season most auspiciously yesterday evening; when they beat Millwall by 3 goals to 0 on their new enclosure at Upton Park.”

In 1919, still under King’s leadership, West Ham gained entrance to the Football League Second Division, their first game being a 1–1 draw with Lincoln City, and were promoted to Division One in 1923, also making it to the first ever FA Cup Final to be held at the old Wembley stadium. Their opponents were Bolton Wanderers. This was also known as the White Horse Final, so named because an estimated 200,000 people came to see the match; spilling out on to the pitch, which had to be cleared prior to kick-off, by “Billie,” a giant white horse (actually grey) being ridden by PC George Scorey. The Cup Final match itself ended 2–0 to Bolton. The team enjoyed mixed success in Division 1 but retained their status for ten years and reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1933.

West Ham supporters are famous for their rendition of the chorus of their team’s anthem, “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” introduced to the club by former manager Charlie Paynter in the late 1920s. A Pears soap commercial featuring the curly haired child in the Millais’ “Bubbles” was well known at the time. The child resembled a player, Billy J. “Bubbles” Murray, from local schoolboy team, Park School, where the headmaster was Cornelius Beal. Beal was known locally for his music and rhyme and wrote special words to the tune of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” whenever any player was having a good game.

The 1975 FA Cup version – which contains the original lyrics, and features vocals from the team’s then-current players – is always played before home games, with the home crowd joining in and carrying the song on after the music stops at the verse line “Fortune’s always hiding”. Bubbles were published as a waltz whereas during the game the crowd sing it in common time.

When the players come onto the pitch, and at other times of celebration, as the song I’m forever blowing bubbles is being sung, around 60 bubble machines produce copious bubbles that rise high into the stadium.

On 22 May 2018, the club appointed former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini as the new manager on a three-year deal contract. In his first season in charge, the Hammers finished 10th, once again suffering from inconsistent form. 

West Ham have been very inconsistent at home this season they have a record of –

W2, L4, D1, GF10, GA14, GD -4. They have not won at home since September 22nd when they beat Manchester United 2-0. 

Arsenal v West Ham EPL Away Games
  Played W D L GF GA GD
1 24-Nov-93   1   0 0 0
2 25-Sep-94 1     2 0 2
3 24-Feb-96 1     1 0 1
4 29-Jan-97 1     2 1 1
5 02-Mar-98   1   0 0 0
6 06-Feb-99 1     4 0 4
7 03-Oct-99     1 1 2 -1
8 21-Oct-00 1     2 1 1
9 15-Dec-01   1   1 1 0
10 24-Aug-02   1   2 2 0
11 24-Sep-05   1   0 0 0
12 05-Nov-06     1 0 1 -1
13 29-Sep-07 1     1 0 1
14 26-Oct-08 1     2 0 2
15 25-Oct-09   1   2 2 0
16 15-Jan-11 1     3 0 3
17 06-Oct-12 1     3 1 2
18 26-Dec-13 1     3 1 2
19 28-Dec-14 1     2 1 1
20 09-Apr-16   1   3 3 0
21 03-Dec-16 1     5 1 4
22 13-Dec-17   1   0 0 0
23 12-Jan-19     1 0 1 -1
Total : 12 8 3 39 18 21


Arsenal v West Ham EPL ALL Games
Division I Total   9 14 15 58 70 -7
EPL Total   12 8 3 39 18 21
Total : 21 22 18 97 88 14

 Our Premier League record away to West Ham has been positive but we have not beaten them since December 16th, 2016.

Maybe a game away from our nervous home crowd is the tonic the team needs to gain a modicum of confidence; Freddie will need to work hard both behind the scenes and on the side-line.


TotalArsenal’s Preferred Line-Up

Don’t make too many changes, stick with the team and work hard on the basics. Win the battle in midfield and become hard to beat. Learn to pass the ball again and enjoy the football when attacking. The Hammers will leave space and the attackers to benefit from this are Auba, Saka and Mesut, and if in good form, Pepe.

40 thoughts on “Hammers v Arsenal Preview/Line-up: Freddie’s Third Game in Charge

  • I would like to feel optimistic but I don’t see the light in this abyss. WH won at Stamford Bridge, probably in the worst possible time for us. Freddie is a human being and with all these stories about our new permanent manager, it’s impossible that he is 100% focused on the game. The fact we haven’t either of two matches he’s been in charge (we haven’t even been in a winning position) doesn’t help.

    I see West Ham as a physical team with towering striker Haller and perrenial danger Antonio as their most dangerous players but with a few players that are good enough tehnically to make the difference (Lanzini, Felipe Anderson). Haller is partially responsible for our problems as he was the one who could have put Chavs out of EL last season giving us easier opponents in the final. Antonio has scored quite a few goals in big games and with our inability to defend either goalpost, we might get a further frustration via Hammers’ headers. Declan Rice is a player to watch though, possibly a type of a midfielder we’ve been craving for years.

    Prediction: 3-1 for The Hammers. Haller, Antonio and Rice to score for the hosts, Auba to score a consolation goal for us.

  • Thank you GN5. I recall going to WHU at Upton Park. Their fans threw bananas at Kevin Campbell and the toilets did not have wash-basins. It was always a risk wearing red and white as their fans were extremely violent.

    As to tonight: I pride myself on being a positive person … we will win.

    We have hardly any injuries with almost a full squad, have some fine players and Freddie has had a couple of weeks to organise. What is hardly mentioned is the elevation of BFG as Freddie’s assistant. This is a man steeped in defensive knowhow plus he is a fine communicator hence our defence will improve.

  • We might see a draw here. The lads had an away draw and almost drew in their home game so we might see something better tonight.

  • On one hand, the game seems manageable. WH is inconsistent at the London Stadium, while the home fans in the Emirates are more of a burden recently than the 12th player. The team morale (at least the mood at trainings) is good, and – some – players are eager to prove themselves.
    On the other hand this game is by far the hardest from Ljungberg’s first 3, and if we managed to earn only 1 point against Norwich (away) and BHA (home) – after losing at home against the same Frankfurt that we managed to hammer in Germany – then we cannot take 3 points for granted against Carlisle United U21 either.

  • Thanks GN5. You did it again: wrote about something I didn’t know about. I was always wondering what the bubbles things was all about and now I know.

    It is hard to know what to expect. FL has only been in charge for 10 days and how can he turn the players into a team with a winning system in such a short period? I agree with Erik re the possible impact of BFG and I would imagine that our defence and midfielders will play with better instructions. Yet it is so early and a systemic change cannot really be achieved overnight. Let’s who he will select and how he will set up the team. I like to see progress and the result is less important at this stage.

  • Oh no…another match… 😮

    Just catching up, and, indeed, I was curious (too) why PE didn’t respond to comments from the previous post, including both of mine (Yes, JW, after several coronas at lunch, I AM the Cockie Monster…No, no, of course, I’m not. While I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as “sober,” my flights of fancy don’t take me down the same sorts of, er, wormholes, as Le Coq)… Hey Mr. Monster, it’s good to see you round these parts–and out from behind the sofa… I hope all is well…or at least better than, you know, the football…

    Speaking of Coronas at lunch, I’ve got a busy day ahead (a door and window installation are “scheduled,” if there’s is such a concept) here today, but, I still think there should be opportunity to head back to the same restaurant and see if the match is on the “free” Sky channel. I’ve got some beers (Caguamas, i.e., liters, regular ones–the 355ml, and Coronitas, the little fellas) in the fridge…and Felipe knows that mi casa es su casa, as they say…

    Thanks, as always, to GN5 for the historical background, and WHU supporters have always seemed like a pretty tough crowd (especially if they’re not resigned to a beating from the “bigger” clubs). I remember watching (in an Arsenal pub on the Holloway Road) this same fixture (at Upton Park, in 2006) and RvP, while taking a corner, getting hit by a thrown coin (hopefully not with the sharpened edges, as I’ve heard are sometimes used) and our own Arsene Wenger getting into a shoving match with his over-celebrating counterpart (Alan Pardew) when the Hammers scored late-on to take the full points (from what was probably a reasonably deserved and hard fought nil-nil)… http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/eng_prem/6129384.stm

    Since moving into the Olympic Stadium, with fans somewhat removed from the action by the presence of the running track, WHU has not had a good home record, something which continues this season, as GN5’s stats depict. This could be a good thing for (extremely beleaguered) Arsenal. With the 12th man (our support) less of a factor and the 13th man (the opponents’ support) only blowing bubbles eight (running) lanes removed…we “might” have a bit of a chance.

    Frankly, I think Emery’s assessment (perhaps?…or maybe with instructions from above to freeze out the midfielders on–or wanting–high wages, Ozil and Ramsey, that is…) of the squad he inherited, which led to playing, in essence (and in my opinion…) WITHOUT a midfield…tonight…COULD be the way to notch a win. We need one desperately, of course, and, if we drop Xhaka back almost in line with the CBs it becomes a bit of a 5-4-1 sort of formation… Or maybe we just play old-style 442 (with Laca up front with PE, instead of Saka and maybe Pepe in for Willock, from the opening kick-off this time, instead of at the beginning of the 2nd half). The latter is my best guess at Freddie’s formation (and line-up) for this one. It looks like this:

    Bellerin–CB–CB–FB (Freddie seems to favor Kola for the first hour…)
    Pepe(Willock)–Xhaka–LT11–Ozil (or maybe Saka…)

    For better or worse, I don’t believe we have the players to really try and play through the middle of the park (Ozil having been given essentially zero time to make a relationship with Pepe, which could be the start of such things…) so, moving it wide and bombing in crosses while Lacazette runs at one post and PEA at the other, I fear, is our best bet. Dennis forbid, however, their keeper grabbing it and getting them going the other way… Fortunately, it won’t be Fabianski in goal, who surely would show us his (Leno-esque?) shot stopping abilities. Lanzini is also out injured which could slow their (technically superior, I fear…) countering/midfield play… I agree with Admir though about Antonio (and others) running hard at us and putting away their chances against ANY of our defensive combinations… We might not want to concede SOOOOO many shots… Do that, get some bounces, etc., etc. and you never know…

    Anyhow, IF the game is on, and I’m able to watch it, I think we might just sneak something, turn this ship around and finally register “rock-bottom” (as last Friday, 6 December, 2019 vs Brighton)…

    Go on then… 😉

    That’s about as optimistic as I can get… Enjoy…

  • TA .. thanks for the concern. Am fine. Just caught in a short assignment that gave no space.

    N5 …. you’ve made me richer.

    By the law of averages alone we are overdue for a win. Freddie should not succumb to too much chopping and changing. That’s the hall mark of novices. But he has to keep tweaking and for me it remains Xhaka or Guendz and Auba or Laca.

    My team:

    Musti. Chamb. Luiz. Tierney.

  • HT … read your stuff from the last post. I have a feeling you can sketch my face and not be much off the mark except that your image would have a lot less wrinkles that the real. You? You give a lot of attention to things so inspite of your dissecting knife you must be a damn generous man.🙏

  • thanks GN5, precious information as usual, you made it again
    as for the line-up; i’m afraid at the moment , whatever it might be, our main concern is our lads’ confidence, which unai has meticulously shattered
    having said that, i keep believing the 3-4-1-2 he experienced for his last two games in charge were the right call
    in this back three of ours, i wish freddie had the guts to give a chance to the rob-calum partnership, which i would complete with … kieran, who played quite often left CB for celtic-scotland, and successfully so; i hope i’ve seen the end of the papa-luiz partnership
    the reason why i’d pick kieran there, is i’d find very hard to bench kola, who’s had the “never say die” attitude we need so much at the moment, and who, as a left-back, has immensely improved lately imo
    in the engine room, i hope lucas-granit will be paired again; the brighton mess was surely not on them
    i’d keep the mesut-laca-auba front three; in a struggling team aubazette’s stats are amazing, and we need alex’s hod-up play, one of the very best in the league – as for pépé, he’s shown he could shine his light on us as an “impact player” at the moment, let’s give him a chance to build his confidence back that way
    which would give us:
    lacazette -aubameyang
    the talent’s there, it wouldn’t hurt if fortune smiled to the lads, even fleetingly.
    whatever may happen tonight, abusing them won’t help; as for me at 9.45 tonight, i’ll still be standing by them

  • “…so, moving it wide and bombing in crosses while Lacazette runs at one post and PEA at the other, I fear, is our best bet.”

    May well be our best bet HT– but I’d be starting Tierney over Kolasinac. Kieran’s crosses come from varied angles and are much like taken corners– with so much more accuracy than Sead’s worm-burning tries. There’s so many more possibilities to defend having Tierney on the left.


  • Oh! Didn’t want miss– thanks to GN5 for yet another fine time capsule.
    Appreciate it sir. 🥇


  • J-Dub, that’s why I put “FB” meaning either/or… Not having watched (very m)any matches, I can’t really comment which left-back to play at the moment…

    I have to say that I like LeGall’s thinking re: 3 at the rear, which gets both of the (would be) left backs in from the kickoff. Is Holding fit? I can’t recall him playing for quite awhile…Did he go in Emery’s last match (vs Frankfurt)…and did the team lay down that evening just to be done with him?…

    OK, into the ocean then to try and see if the game is on… Laterz…

  • I like it a lot. We need to see Tor and Xhaka quite deep to protect the defence and Marti and Pepe to support Ozil in transitioning the ball from midfield to attack. There is lots of mobility up-front and Ozil can work with this as long as the attackers are willing to come and pass the ball with him rather than wait for a pass high up field.

  • Key is not to expect either Xhaka or Torreira, or both(!), to do loads of B2B stuff as that takes us out of our shape time and again. Discipline, shape, hard work and good passing will get us a win.

    C O M E O N Y O U R I P R O A R I N G G U N N E R S ! ! ! ! ! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

  • That’s a good selection. Hope they don’t insist on passing out from the back all the time.

  • Looks like it’s AMN on, in place of Bellerin. Perhaps to counter Antonio who frightens me….

    I just heard Bellerin had a hammy and Kolasinac has been added to the 18.

  • Well, it didn’t work out for me (again)… I’m gonna have to get my own TV (and pay beyond the basic)…Or improve my internet… One day, sooner or later… Maybe some EL games might be on the regular service (next midweek, I guess)…

    So…any sort of description of the game would be much appreciated…

    The ocean was very nice, however… 😉 …

  • Yeah– no. Sorry HT. I’m stuck actually working at work. 😶
    But am heartened by the lineup selected. And, just glanced and saw we were still 0-0 at 30′.

    Go Gunners!


  • We go behind (again) from a corner, I’ve heard… Now WHU can REALLY play on the break…

    What is it with you and work…J-dub?…

  • Dangit. I should never have even glanced. Must have jinxed ’em.
    Work. Better than not having any. 😏

  • Unfortunate to be behind but that is our luck at the moment. We are playing out of the back and struggle to get things going. We really have unlearned how to pass the ball round and it is painful to watch at times. WH have very little intention to attack and let us have the ball, but we just cannot pass it round with any directness and are very prone to lose it as soon as we get into the WH half. Biggest issue is the lack of ability to pass the ball into midfield quickly – everybody is scared to misplace the ball, so we go wide or backwards. Mesut is offering himself but is so isolated at times. We have been stronger on our right flank where Pepe is trying to make things happen and not unsuccessfully so, but Auba is not making the right runs/ not in the game as yet (but not for lack of trying). We can still win this as WH are very poor, but we need luck and much better passing. Stick together more and move together with the ball… we are making it much too easy for the bubble-blowers!!

  • Poor defensively, poor going forward. Shouting “shoot!” at my TV like a mad man. Team intelligence is below zero and at this moment, we are a Championship level.

    A proven manager needed quickly. Before Thursday and not waiting for another European disgraceful night to happen.

  • We’ve still got 2 subs left, correct?… Sounds like Freddie bought in to Emery’s ideas…or lacks his own…or something… Overall, rather bleak…

  • I guess I can answer that myself…

    But, viewers… Please tell me who you would put on (and who needs to go)… Cheers…

  • Can we hold this lead?

    And if we can, will it be Freddie Forever?…Or maybe do we make Manny Pellegrini our guy…if he’s done at WHU?… 😀

    Sorry, getting ahead of myself…back to reading the ticker-tape…

  • Has Freddie used any subs?…

    I have to say: you lot aren’t a lot of help tonight…

  • Morning all from my bed. I missed the alarm!

    Anyway will watch the highlights later and 17ht thanks for the in depth commentary, before i comment further.

  • Hats off, TA. I’m eating my humble pie with a forgotten smile on my face.

    Freddie obviously did his homework in the second half. I had a feeling we switched from N to D as players realized taking shots is the only way to score.

    Martinelli is a gem. Pepe battled v West Ham butchers and Dean’s criteria until he was subbed. Well-taken goal and beautiful link-up with Auba for our third goal.

    This was seventh time in PL era that we have turned the game around v West Ham, fifth 3-1 victory after being a goal down and third 3-1 away from home (2012-13, 2013-14).

  • That feels gooooood. 17HT, you need to only watch the second half, but you must watch it this week.

    Cheers Admir, it was more of a battle cry but I did think WH were v poor and we only needed a goal to get our belief back. Like you said, Martinelli is a gem and Pepe announced himself today.

  • That’s the W we needed to start us off on another decent run. Only trouble is we are meeting City next; but that could be a blessing too as we will be underdogs and may play with little to lose.

    Martinelli is my main man for this game (as different from man of the match, which may have been Ozil or Pepe). That kid has heart; something a lot of our lads lack. Never stopped running, always tracking back and always backs himself to win every 50-50 situation. I hope that fire isn’t coached out of him. Thumbs up to Freddie for starting him…. something I have looked forward to and predicted Freddie would do.

    Like TA observed, I also thought we were too afraid to play it forward in the first half, for fear of losing the ball and being forced to defend. It takes a while for the confidence to return, considering how far down it had gone for us. A clean sheet will complete the cycle (or at least, exorcise some of our defenders’ demons) and slowly, we shall start to believe again.

    Happy for all the lads; all the back slapping and hugs by Ljungberg was an indication of the huge relief, all round. Torreira held him so tight, slapping him at the back for so long…. nice scenes.

  • See! See!
    I didn’t watch another minute—nor even glanced once more at the score!

    Everyone on the frontline with a goal. That– gentlemen? Is a good omen.
    Who’s next?! (Oh. City. 😔)
    So what. If United can skin ’em– maybe we can too!

    Now I get to have a cold Corona– and watch the match.


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