Arsenal v Hammers Preview/ Line-up: Mari and/or Sok, Nelson or Pepe, Laca or Eddie?

Arsenal v West Ham United – March 7th, 2020

See the source image

The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United. They moved to the Boleyn Ground in 1904, which remained their home ground for more than a century. The team initially competed in the Southern League and Western League before joining the Football League in 1919. They were promoted to the top flight in 1923, when they were also losing finalists in the first FA Cup Final held at Wembley. In 1940, the club won the inaugural Football League War Cup.

West Ham has been winners of the FA Cup three times; in 1964, 1975 and 1980, and has also been runners-up twice; in 1923 and 2006. The club have reached two major European finals, winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965 and finishing runners-up in the same competition in 1976. West Ham also won the Intertoto Cup in 1999. They are one of eight clubs never to have fallen below the second tier of English football, spending 62 of 94 league seasons in the top flight, up to and including the 2019–20 season. The club’s highest league position to date came in 1985–86, when they achieved third place in the then First Division.

The club promotes the popular idea of West Ham being “The Academy of Football”, with the moniker adorning the ground’s new stadium façade. The comment predominantly refers to the club’s youth development system which was established by manager Ted Fenton during the 1950s, that has seen a number of international players emerge through the ranks. Most notably, the club contributed three players to the World Cup-winning England side of 1966, including club icon Bobby Moore, as well as Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst who between them scored all of England’s goals in the eventual 4–2 victory. Other academy players that have gone on to play for England have included Trevor Brooking, Alvin Martin, Tony Cottee and Paul Ince.

Since the late 1990s, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Glen Johnson began their careers at West Ham and all went on to play for much bigger clubs. Most recently, the likes of first teamers Mark Noble and James Tomkins, as well as Welsh international Jack Collison, have emerged through the Academy. Frustratingly for fans and managers alike, the club has struggled to retain many of these players due to (predominantly) financial reasons.

West Ham, during the 2007–08 season, had an average of 6.61 English players in the starting line up, higher than any other Premier League which cemented their status as one of the few Premier League clubs left that were recognised to be bringing through young English talents and were recognised as having “homegrown players.” Between 2000 and 2011, the club produced eight England players, as many as Manchester United and one fewer than Arsenal. Much of the success of The Academy has been attributed to Tony Carr, who was West Ham youth coach between 1973 and 2014.

Arsenal have won the last three home games against West Ham and eight out of the last nine, in all West Ham have only managed to win five away games at Arsenal in the Premier League.

Arsenal v West Ham EPL Home Games
Played W D L GF GA
1 30-Apr-94 1 0 2
2 05-Mar-95 1 0 1
3 16-Sep-95 1 1 0
4 17-Aug-96 1 2 0
5 24-Sep-97 1 4 0
6 26-Dec-98 1 1 0
7 02-May-00 1 2 1
8 03-Mar-01 1 3 0
9 24-Apr-02 1 2 0
10 19-Jan-03 1 3 1
11 01-Feb-06 1 2 3
12 07-Apr-07 1 0 1
13 01-Jan-08 1 2 0
14 31-Jan-09 1 0 0
15 20-Mar-10 1 2 0
16 30-Oct-10 1 1 0
17 23-Jan-13 1 5 1
18 15-Apr-14 1 3 1
19 14-Mar-15 1 3 0
20 09-Aug-15 1 0 2
21 05-Apr-17 1 3 0
22 22-Apr-18 1 4 1
23 25-Aug-18 1 3 1
24 07-Mar-20
Total : 17 1 5 46 15

Our overall home record is also very impressive with West Ham only winning thirteen out of sixty one games.

Arsenal v West Ham EPL ALL Games
Division1 Total 21 9 8 61 35
EPL Total 17 1 5 46 15
Total : 38 10 13 107 50

Assuming Manchester City cannot overturn their two year ban in Europe a win on Saturday will put us within two points of a Europa League spot in 2020/21.


TA’s Preferred Line-Up:

A big game for us as a win is required and the Hammers will be a step up from the Southern Stokers of last Monday. Our biggest challenges are better defending of set-pieces and create more opportunities. The latter Arteta and the team are working on but I feel we need more height in the team for the former. So I would include either Mari or Big Sok in the team, ideally both. It appears that Mustafi is fit to play and his inclusion would also be welcome.

In midfield we have to do without, under Arteta peripheral, Torreira for the rest of the season, so it will be a choice between the ball magnets of Guendouzi or Ceballos. Both have qualities and are to many pleasing on the eye when running forward with the ball, but the complete package they are not as yet. It may well be that AMN will join the battle for this (or Xhaka’s) position any time soon.

Up-front there is good competition for the CF and RW positions. Nelson had an excellent game against Portsmouth but WH is a different challenge, no doubt. Still, I prefer the one who is most natural with the ball and is able to not just produce penetrating attacks but also hold on to the ball ocassionally, as to win us some time and create space for others. So the highest positioned man at Trafalgar Square it is for me.

I am still a fan of Laca but Eddie just has the momentum at the moment, and his anticipation and positioning in the box is superior to the hard working Frenchman.


41 thoughts on “Arsenal v Hammers Preview/ Line-up: Mari and/or Sok, Nelson or Pepe, Laca or Eddie?

  • N5 … top marks. Topmost historical Acadeny (WH) I suppose.

    TA .. I like your Sok at right back seeing that our structure doesn’t allow Bels to get forward regularly. But even better, imo, is a back-3 that would improve our set piece defending and attacking and also liberate Saka and Bels.

    My preference:


  • Thanks for the post GN5, I hope you are well.

    I wonder if the injury to Torrieira will provide more opportunities to AMN…?

  • Interesting listening to Swiss Ramble on the Arsecast, seems as if we’ve got bugger all to spend this summer, especially if we fail to get back into europe.

    Total, we might see Elneny back at Arsenal next season, replacing Ceballos, maybe Arteta can find something extra from our Egyptian?
    Apparently he was a very popular figure around the club…

    What about Mkhitarayan, Arteta has said recently that he likes the player, now that could be bluff because Roma aren’t keen on paying a reasonable transfer fee for him or he might feel that he can be useful to us next season, especially if we haven’t got a lot to spend and contracts for Saka and possibly Martinelli need to be addressed.

  • You are being very sharp these days, Kevski, with some fine and to the point questions!

    I have always liked Elneny and reckon he is a good squad player to have. With Mkhi I am less sure. He seems a mood player but maybe Arteta can make him more consistent. Expect him to be sold indeed.

    I think the club will sell a few players to allow the youngsters to come through and buy one or two quality players, but I believe the squad is v good except maybe for midfield where we could do with a bit more depth/quality.

  • hahaha copied this from the AA site:
    Apparently there has been numerous requests to use the Tottenham’s trophy cabinet as place to self isolate against the current threat of Coronavirus.”

  • Hahahahaha! Great bit of banter there from AA, TA. The expected drive, with the arrival of Mourinho, has not happened and they have been knocked out of the cups (don’t fancy their chances against Leipzig in the second leg), one after the other.

  • Back on topic, that’s a fine preview GN5; hats off to you for the sheer extent of information provided. West ham is a club that deserves all the respect for their history and being renowned for being an “academy of football”, of which we witnessed in the last 20 years, or so. This review suggests they have always been a source of some fine young players.

    Today, like most EPL sides, they have relied on a mix of foreign players, ready made English players and a smattering of Academy graduates. The current side have benefitted from the arrival of Moyes as they have improved in the fight they put into it; nothing pleases him more than to give Arsenal a game so, I expect a good game. I also hope Arteta and the lads will find a way to navigate that challenge to give us the much needed 3 points.

  • It’s Liverpool 0 – 1 Bournemouth at Anfield. However, I don’t expect it to remain so for too much longer. Liverpool may be a bit too much for the cherries, jitters or not.

  • Leno, Sok, Luiz, Mari, Saka, Xhaka, Ceba, Ozil, Pepe, Nket, Auba.
    Mart, Bell, Guen, Will, Nel, Martineli, Laca

  • 14.15
    mustafi must’ve had a problem
    rob, ainsley, snubbed again – rashford’s f….d up rob’s career; hope rob’ll give him the keane-haaland treatment, next time they come across each other
    come on, lads!!
    this team selection makes sense of course; hector doesn’t seem to be able to make it back to his former level, i do wonder what his and rob’s rehab protocols have consisted in …
    eddie deserves to play – i feel for brave soldier laca, though

  • TA … good call Sok for Bells. Apart that Bells not been great Sok is a welcomed extra in our dead ball contests. I don’t mind Nketiah. He is a hard working lad and a goal poacher too. Can we make it 3 in a row? I very much think so.

  • Pity, Laca doesn’t start but it is what it is and Arteta needs to send a message like that to cause everyone to be at their best, mostly. No sacred cows, kind of….

    It’s Moyes vs his former player; I expect Arteta to know that Moyes will go with physicality and not be afraid to go long to Antonio and Haller. Good thing we have Mari, Sol and Luiz (he needs to get his heading act together) at the back to counter the muscle Michael Antonio and Haller will bring.

    We need the 3 points.

  • Both line ups:

    Leno, Papastathopoulos, Luiz, Pablo Mari, Saka, Ceballos, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang, Nketiah

    Subs: Bellerin, Lacazette, Nelson, Martinez, Willock, Guendouzi, Martinelli

    West Ham
    Fabianski, Ngakia, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Noble, Bowen, Fornals, Antonio, Haller

    Subs: Balbuena, Zabaleta, Felipe Anderson, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Soucek, Randolph

  • Hi gueys (it’s sorta like “dudes” in my local language)… Once again, I rely upon received observation. Let’s be having you…or something… (Oh, I remember now… Go on then!!!)

    Good job with the line-ups, TA…and, of course, the preview GNCinco… I hope you’re feeling as best as is possible…

    I copy and paste my line-ups from the Guardian and two names scare me…and they’re both old ones… Martin Atkinson (at the whistle, and a fellow who could see red but couldn’t differentiate between Kieran Gibbs and AOC–not the politician–when it came to sending off a player…and that was like 5 years ago!!!) and LuLuFabi-handski, who every now and then could play a blinder. Given that we aren’t known for creating a ton (tonne?) of chances…I’ve got my concerns(kis)…

    At least I still have my flip flops on, though it’s cold this morning and I’m wearing jeans and a fleece jumper. I’ll pull off the ski hat before kickoff if only so there’s nothing extra to inspire Flappy-Hands…

    Full Line-ups:

    Arsenal: Leno, Papastathopoulos, Luiz, Pablo Mari, Saka, Ceballos, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang, Nketiah. Subs: Bellerin, Lacazette, Nelson, Martinez, Willock, Guendouzi, Martinelli.

    West Ham: Fabianski, Ngakia, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Noble, Bowen, Fornals, Antonio, Haller. Subs: Balbuena, Zabaleta, Felipe Anderson, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Soucek, Randolph.

    Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

  • Which one (of our CBs) is Sol, ‘Eris?…

    I think that fellow (Sol Campbell) started taller (with his lovely Pelon, as they say down here) than Sok (whom you surely meant) can reach at the peak of his leap, hair-added…

    Pablo, however, looks a different (taller) story…

  • OK, hats off (sunscreen on)… We have kicked off!!! (I’m pretty sure…)

  • All right then, we’ve made it to half time… Cheers for the live-blog ^^^^ 😮 …

    Any quick summaries? Maybe? Perhaps? I hate to take my cues from watchers I don’t (necessarily) trust…

    Vengan Compadres!!!

  • Sokratis, of course, 17ht; not that we couldn’t do with that Sol these days…

  • well these first halves of ours are turning into as many nightmares …
    without bukayo, we wouldn’t even reach up to burnley’s creativity level
    feel like watching the slow motion shadow of wengerball ghost
    four years from now, when the invincibles play a “20-year-celebration” jubilee game, it’ll be more intense than this parody
    ffs, lads, wake (us) up!!
    looks like granit might as well slip back by luiz’s side, so joe can bring momentum in midfield … but I keep thinking there’s something very wrong with our fitness level
    come on lads!! you’re breaking (at least) an old fan’s heart

  • Half time, not a great deal of excitement from us to write home about as the visitors have come up with the clearest chances to score: the early post glancer and that miss by Antonio from close range.
    Our style is presently a “keep possession-low risk taking-few chances created-score when the chance comes (usually after a few misses)” one. It does reduce the Shots against us but also results in the low chance creation we experience. It is cowardly but steadied the ship.
    Hopefully, we can unleash Laca and Martinelli late on to bring some verve to the performance. Pepe has attempted to waltz through a few legs a couple of times but gets upended at the nick of time; on the second occasion by his own teammate, Nketiah, who shot when he should have let Pepe in, being offside.

    We go again.

  • 17ht, no one does a live blog quite like you…..and jw1. Some of us prefer to keep an eye on things. 😉

  • 1-0 to the home side. Laca off a headed pass by Ozil…..and after an eternity of a wait on VAR (silly, really, because it was obvious on first VAR check). We would have to hang on now and hope for two, if we can get to break.

  • Leno makes a crucial save off Haller. Sok has misjudged the last touch off a ball he should be clearing. Now we have to face a corner kick. They come close again but Mari blocks. We have to stop these dangerous forays down the flanks.

  • Ozil taken off for Bellerin. Pragmatic Arteta, keeping what we’ve got. But, if Bellerin can get a run down the flank, he may just create a goal opportunity for us to get the second.

  • 5 minutes added time. Inexplicable as there were no serious wait times for injuries, or did I miss something?

  • Now, I get the Bellerin sub on. With Anderson coming on to that left side, Arteta probably figured Sok may not be able to cope with his quick feet and pace, so Bellerin comes on to do that job.

    Arsenal get the three points. Big one, if you ask me. Some of the bias in the commentary is so undisguised.

  • i think you missed the VAR time, eris – i think this added time wasn’t that generous, actually
    1-0 to The (boring) Arsenal
    clean sheet (i wish bernd’s staue’s were a work in progress already), three points … well, there are days when one shouldn’t complain too much about a trip down memory lane

  • OK, this one seems like it was a game of millimeters… Small shoes (for Ozil) being the difference, or something…

    Thanks for the comments… Y’all did much better in the 2nd half… 😀

    It’s possible I could be watching–and have some faster interweb–when that Man City match happens…though I’m more likely to be around when we play that next round of the FA cup. I bet they put that one (or it’s broadcast) behind a paywall, however…

    Question: should I make an effort with the City match or (based on how we played today…) should I maybe (prefer to) miss it? Arteta back at his old (or maybe his next?…) club seems motivation more for Pep’s boys than ours, maybe…

    Looking forward to folks (wringing?) the 8 positives from today’s game first, however…


  • Yes, LE GALL, I forgot the VAR check; guess I just wanted it to end quickly, naturally.

    17ht, maybe you shouldn’t jinx it . 😄

  • Still to watch highlights and then at some point the whole game, but very happy with the three points and for Laca to score the all important goal. More later. 🙂

  • 8 positives:

    1. Mari has had a brilliant game. Strong in tight spaces and a knack for long range passing.

    2. Mari and Xhaka on the left needs more work. They are the same, so they need to be at different parts of the pitch.

    3. Ceballos tried to make things work throughout the game, but the hammers defense was solid. Good individual game and the team around him needs to create chances better.

    4. Ozil had chances when the team is rallying around him. An ok performance from him but we were pegged back by a resilient Antonio which limited Ozil’s chances.

    5. Leno. My MoTM. Saved us from conceding at least 2 goals, and a well worked clean sheet.

    6. Auba. It is hard to find positives from our captain yesterday, but at least he tried his best to knock on the hammers defense.

    7. Sok and Luiz. Both had a torrid game once Antonio decided that Mari is not someone he can bully, but did well to stiffle Antonio and restrict him to pot shots.

    8. Overall we were restricted to defending, but during the explorations out from the back, we were largely poor before Laca came on due to Eddie. Eddie needs more time on the wings learning from the great strikers. The positioning is a little off and some 50-50 chances needed him to be a little stronger.

    9. The referee is still a prick in the a**.

  • Arsenal win 3 in a row for the first time this season– and since February 2019.
    We’re 5pts off 4th and 3pts off 5th.

    Many small things had to happen for Arsenal to come away with a win on the day.
    Playing as a team– combined those small things for a victory– when all else indicated otherwise.

    Arteta said best:
    “I’m really happy with the result because big teams find a way. When they don’t have the best day – which is obvious that it wasn’t our best day in terms of performance – they find a way to win it and you can build from there and learn and take the positives and the negatives in a much better way.”


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