West Ham v Arsenal Preview: Another Must-Win London Derby

A must-win London derby to keep our title hopes alive (16/04/23) – West Ham game preview 

At the time of this preview West Ham is sitting 3 points and 3 places above the relegation trio, with a superior goal difference and game in hand – which could give them the comfort not to make this a live-or-die game and focus on their unexpectedly successful Conference League campaign (and their future fixtures against Bournemouth, Leeds and Leicester). However in a few hours there will be no game in hand any more, and their attractive goal difference could also become past tense.  

Nevertheless, I expect a comfortable Arsenal victory of 0:2, without memorable display from either teams. West Ham will not make this game a final, and neither will we; but the difference in the average performance and the individual abilities will decide the game in Arsenal’s favor. 

The only player I expect a sizeable resistance is Rice. He is not just the only word-class player in West Ham’s squad, but Declan might be also playing against his possible future teammates, and the last thing he wants is to put up a display discouraging Arteta or the supporters from the current genuine interest. 

Lucas Paquetá, Jarrod Bowen and Tomás Soucek are the other decent players, but I’m not sure how deeply they will be motivated. And even so, a capable midfield will not guarantee scoring goals or preventing goals on the other end, hence my confidence in the victory. I have an unfortunate tendency to underappreciate classical British strikers, but Danny Ings does not give me the fidgets, Antonio is already 33 and Scamacca is still injured, so my money is on a clean sheet – but I’ve made the same mistake about Crystal Palace and Leeds, so nothing is guaranteed.  

West Ham is one of the few teams where no player is in the positive in both xG and xA (hasn’t scored and assisted more than the quality of the chances would have suggested), and the few ‘greens’ are really low. Their highest scoring player, Jarrod Bowen is wasting chances like Giroud on steroids. And their manager, David Moyes is albeit experienced, he is not the master of this trade; Jason Statham wouldn’t call him Mustard. 

From our team I expect the ‘usual’ best available line-up, but a reserved overall display and performance. That doesn’t mean that Odegaard, Saka or Martinelli will likely play bad, only compared to their best selves. The 2 players whom I expect the extra miles are Gabriel Jesus – who really wants to demonstrate that he is back at his best, and the 11 games (before the World Cup) without scoring is well in the past – and Tierney, who needs to show that he is at least on par with Zinchenko, or maybe even better, albeit being a different type of left back. 

West Ham conceded as many goals from outside the penalty area (6) as they from their 6-yard box, so I would encourage our players to shoot from distance. The task is on Xhaka and Partey – both expected to start – but Odegaard could surprise Fabianski, too. 

Current form supports both teams. Arsenal has the best away record in the PL, but West Ham lost a single home game in 2023 (against Newcastle). History also shows Arsenal dominance: 23W, 5D, 2L in 30 games and 8W, 1D, 1L from the last 10 encounters. There draw was a memorable 3:3 at the London Stadium where West Ham players scored 5 goals, but the highlight of this fixture is our 1:5 victory, where Alexis Sanchez scored one of the finest hattricks in modern football, and maybe the second best after Bergkamp’s heroics against Leicester City. While statistics imply many goals, as the last 3 meetings in the London Stadium saw the net bulged 13 times, I’m less convinced of this trend being continued. 

Today’s referee is David Coote. He specializes on Arsenal away games. J This is mixed news as despite we won our visit to Fulham and Brentford 0:3 each (the score-lines were set by the 49th minutes both games) we were surprisingly defeated at Goodison Park by Everton. Coote is not a card machine, but awards a penalty or a marching order if absolutely necessary. 

There are plenty of signs to be optimistic about the game, but my enthusiasm is limited to the outcome, but less so about the expected display of performance. But 3 points are 3 points, and the goal difference ship has been sailed, so let’s conclude an injury-free victory today


By Peter Barany

121 thoughts on “West Ham v Arsenal Preview: Another Must-Win London Derby

  • Arsenal XI: Ramsdale, White, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Odegaard, Xhaka, Saka, Martinelli, Jesus

    Subs: Turner, Kiwior, Walters, Smith Rowe, Jorginho, Vieira, Nelson, Trossard, Nketiah

    West Ham United XI: Fabianski, Coufal, Zouma, Kehrer, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Bowen, Paqueta, Benrahma, Antonio

    Subs: Areola, Anang, Johnson, Emerson, Downes, Fornals, Lanzini, Cornet, Ings

    Zinchenko out injured and Tierney starts.

  • More classical 4-2-3-1 line-up for us, with Kieran LB
    Their XI looks balanced to me, you wonder how they can be so near the bottom these lads
    GJ9 on a good day might turn Zouma-Kehrer into clueless whirling dervishes, though

  • Like a sharp knife into melted butter
    Might be why they are where they are after all
    “Coup de grâce” quick please, lads

  • With these boys you just have to ask …
    Peach of an assist from Marti, very professional volley from the skipper
    May I be so bold as to ask you to spare a thought for our goal-difference, lads?

  • It all went a bit too fast for me but we sure needed to press our advantage as it presented itself. Racing into a 2 goal lead was just what the Doctor ordered; then we just needed to have a stranglehold on things and never give them a sniff.

    We rather took our feet off the pedal with GJ9 coming so deep (yeah, I know it keeps Zouma and his CP partner confused) a little too often, thus sending a wrong signal that we are satisfied and wished to ride it out.

    Instead of looking weary when we are the team that had nothing to do midweek, we have to come out and start the second half the way we did the first… and keep at it till we are well out of sight. Everyone just looked too slow.

  • On their penalty, it was handball against Declan Rice; why the VAR has not given that, I’d never know. Again, Gabriel went to ground but was pulling out of the tackle, to be fair. But, it was a penalty.

  • Saka should be next. He is terribly wasteful, regardless of the missed penalty.
    We need Nelson, who is the supersub personified this season.

  • Dream start, nghtmare ending, or “It is not far from the Capitoline Hill to the Tarpeian rock”
    These boys really want Etihad 23 to look like Anfield 89, don’t they?
    Those last 60 minutes didn’t deserve more than a draw, anyway …

  • I will try not to say anything that offends someone. Watching the game in the last few mins with no urgency or a shot on goal in anger, looks like the team were in a hurry to take a point and go home.
    We looked like a team that played midweek and look exhausted. I really don’t know what do say about this game. Two games in a row we have thrown away saying it again thrown away a 2 goal lead.

  • Well it’s still in our hands to win the league. Win or draw at City and win all of the other games and we are the Champions. Long shot but still possible.

  • You didn’t miss much, GN5; just the introduction of a rash of subs, Jorginho for Jesus, Trossard for Partey, Vieira for Tierney, Nelson for Martinelli and Nketiah for Odegaard.

    Only persons who showed urgency in the final minutes were Nelson, Vieira and Jorginho. I hope Trossard isn’t affected by his bench role; he has to learn it is a team.

  • Now we don’t have to think about protecting our advantage so much as, we need to go to ManCity and take their title from them.

    Not fear or worry, but ambition and aggression. I’m more comfortable this way.

  • Just seen Ateta statement. He said that we didn’t go for goals and just kept the ball for the sake of it. He also mentioned flicks and tricks without intent to score goals. Precisely what I felt after the second goal

  • I’ve seen the game live, so I’m kind of aware that we didn’t go for goals and just kept the ball for the sake of it. I’m more interested in WHY did the lads switch off after 12-15 minutes, and why didn’t Arteta tell them – at half time the latest – that this is dangerous, counter-intuitive and overall wrong?

    (By the way after Xhaka from last week this Sunday’s culprit is Holding. Who is approximately as responsible for the decline as Granit was against Liverpool.)

  • “Sad eyed lady from the lowlands” may be more appropriate, LG.

    I’m back in hospital after a resurgence of the infection after my burst appendix. Still managed to see the game. Just like last week, should have won, could have lost, but we will keep our eyes on the prize and appreciate how strong a position we are still in.

    PB, what sort of mushrooms are you putting in your goulash, mate?

  • I think we can safely say that VAR is not going to help us in any shape or form during the run-in becauseif Declan Rice isn’t controlling that ball with arm leading up to the non-penalty then I’m a Dutchman, just call me Allez Van Der Kev…

  • Reading through Jeorge Birds regular weekend report on our loanee players pretty much fills me with disappointment as I can’t see many of them remaining at Arsenal next season, in fact I can see as many as 20 of them departing..

  • I didn’t find the replay and the angle sufficient to come to an undisputed conclusion, but if this indeed was a clear handball that should be an(other) career-ending mistake.

  • Are-you home, or in hospital, Stu? Infections are bitches, they can bite back when you think they’d gone away. I hope you’re in good, reliable, medical hands.
    “He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
    Into the underworld” … not appropriate enough for you, mate??
    Just jokin’ … Let’s cheer up, April, 26th will be a great Cup Final day. I love Cup Finals, I’m more a Cup guy than a League guy, give me the Brady (late-Wenger too – don’t crucify me, mates) years any time.
    Most of them will go indeed, Kev. I have a feeling the writing was on the wall for the 2021-2022 U18s the day their 0-3 loss away at Colchester in the Youth Cup put the club to shame.
    Jack alluded to it after our current bunch knocked the Cityzen kids out, when he said how great it was to have a generation of boys who are happy to come back down playing for the U18s, such as Walters, Cozier-Duberry, Lewis-Skelly …
    Jury’s out only for NCuffy, Charlie P., Folarin of course (I didn’t comment, but read with attention everything you wrote, guys). I wish a thought were spared for Ainsley (RB/RWB, not midfielder), and … Tavares too. I didn’t want to bother you with too many reports on Ligue 1, but he has improved in Marseilles. Succeeding down there also means he can handle the pressure. The OM fans may quickly turn into rabid hyenas – the atmosphere in a packed Vélodrome is matched only by La Bombonera.
    I write this, even though as a general rule I’m not particularly fond of this style of player, but his energy levels are outstanding. He could play the Zinch role, only completely differently (physical dominance/out-of-textbook inspirations vs. vision/technique/classicism, Mel Gibson vs. any of the RSC greats in Hamlet).
    This loanout stuff has gone mad, anyway. I hope none of our U18 wonderkids will be next season. Rather than risking being injured, as so many of them have been in lower leagues, or benched by an incompetent old-timer, like Charlie P. in Blackpool, I’d rather they trained with the first-team on a daily basis, played PL2 games, the Carabao, had a few PL_FACup cameos … and aimed at the Youth League. It is a great competition, which I watch every time I get an opportunity to do so. The technical level is excellent, very often the pace of the games is amazing, but most of all I see a successful run in it as the ideal way to build team spirit, love for the badge (I know how quaint I sound, I don’t care), confidence. I love watching youth football, but I’m sick and tired of admiring all kinds of youngsters from other Leagues.
    Hale End must rule o’er Europe, you read it here first.

  • I agree, LG. Mel was a superb Hamlet. And talk about “sinking”, do ya’all remember this…

  • The step up from U21 to Premier League is like pole vaulting the Grand Canyon, it’s why I won’t kill Arteta for not using the youngsters more LeG, most of our youngsters have been given a great education at Arsenal and most of them will enjoy a decent career and a very good living out of the game, but not at Arsenal and probably not in the EPL.
    Some will be late developers where the ‘penny will drop’ when they’re 25 or 26, like Miguel Azeez, a player who has all the talents except maybe between his ears, that is the most difficult muscle to coach.
    Some players look absolute world beaters in the U18’s and U21’s, but can’t take that step up to senior football, we have a few of those, they go out on loan and then spend most of it on the bench of Oviedo or Den Bosch or Wigan.
    We’ve seen the drop-off when some of our squad players get a run in the team due to injuries, it’s stark, so risking youngsters is even more fraught with disasters.

    Get well soon Stu.

  • Signing new players is not an exact science, it’s full of risks, so it’s not surprising at all when a big signing doesn’t quite work out, like say Nicolas Pepe or Nuno Tavares or even Albert Lokonga.

    You give them time to settle of course, it’s what supporters do as patience is the watchword while they adapt and especially if they’ve come from abroad.

    They sometimes can give you an early glimpse at what they’re capable of and that’s really exciting as you can see the potential of what they can bring to the table but that glimpse can also be brief, so you wait for another look behind the curtain and hope that the next time you see it that it can be sustained.

    But sometimes that early glimpse is all you’re going to get as the bang average becomes more of the norm and as your anticipation changes into apathy you see your early confidence in that new signing developing into a top player for the squad slowly evaporate.

    And so I give you Vieira, the newer version of course and a player who doesn’t anymore excite the fans when he’s coming on from the subs bench as it’s usually a last throw of the dice rather than a game changer and that rarely turns up a six

    The fans both at the stadium and online shrug as if to say ‘what good is he?’ And some moan about not using ESR, a sentiment that I can well understand especially if you need a goal.

    He’s been a Gunner almost a year and to me I’ve seen no sustained improvement from the waif like figure we saw last summer. He still performs on the periphery of games where even his dead-ball delivery, previously thought to be a strength, has diminished in effectiveness.

    If Arteta can manage to do the midfield business next summer that he wants to do and the club wants to do regardless of Todd Boehly and his largesse then Vieira could well be left at the station as the Arsenal Express pulls away.

  • Oh dear, so sorry to hear of your relapse Stuart. Infections can be very stubborn so being back in hospital is the best place for you. Stuart I’m not a deeply religious person but I will most certainly be praying for both a speedy and healthy recovery for you,

  • Here are last weekends results:-

    1st Kev with 3/6 plus most correct predictions = 7
    2nd GN5 with 2/6 plus one correct score = 4
    3rd Total, Start, Madhu and Le Gall with 1/6 = 1
    7th Eris & OX10 with 0/6 = 0

    OX10 I could not find any predictions from you – if I missed them please let me know and I will correct your season to date total.

    Season to date:-

    1st Kev with 129.80
    2nd Eris with 114.13
    3rd Madhu with 111.80
    4th OX10 with 107.13
    5th Stuart with 104.33
    6th GN5 with 91.33
    7th Le Gall with 86.80
    8th Total with 83.66

    Well done Kev great week and you have extended your lead – you’re leaving everybody in your dust my friend.

  • Hhere are next weekends selections including a ladies CL Semi Final.

    Fulham v Leeds United
    Brentford v Aston Villa *
    Crystal Palace v Everton
    AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United *
    Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur
    VfL Wolfsburg Ladies v Arsenal Ladies *

  • Fulham Leeds United H
    Brentford 1 Aston Villa 3
    Crystal Palace Everton H
    AFC Bournemouth 2 West Ham United 2
    Newcastle United Tottenham Hotspur H
    VfL Wolfsburg Ladies 2 Arsenal Ladies 1

  • Fulham v Leeds United H
    Brentford v Aston Villa * 2-1
    Crystal Palace v Everton H
    AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United * 1-1
    Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur H
    VfL Wolfsburg Ladies v Arsenal Ladies *1-1

  • Cheers GN5, Arsenal let me down I’m afraid, tbh I’d be happy to be bottom if we’d taken the 6 points from the Scousers and Hammers ☹️

  • Brilliant Kev, watch your lead mate here I come after you 😂
    Fulham v Leeds United H
    Brentford v Aston Villa * 1-2
    Crystal Palace v Everton H
    AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United * 1-2
    Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur H
    VfL Wolfsburg Ladies v Arsenal Ladies * 0-1

  • Sad to hear about your relapse, Stuart. Hopefully, in your case, 2nd time’s the charm. Get well soon, Padre.

    Thanks for the reporting, GN5. A very bad week for me, it would seem. Improvements needed.
    Well done, Kev. You are on a roll.

  • Stuart, I hope you make a full and speedy recovery.

    GN5, I posted these predictions under “Thats My Arsenal and I Love It” on April 12 at 14:37. I don’t think that they will change my standings, LOL.

    Aston Villa v Newcastle United * D 2-2
    Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion A
    Everton v Fulham. H
    Wolverhampton Wanderer v Brentford * A 1-2
    West Ham United v Arsenal. A
    VfL Wolfsburg v Bayer 04 Leverkusen * A 1-3

    I hope that it isn’t only me that’s seeing the post and I haven’t been struck with the same curse as Jync!

  • My predictions for this week:

    Fulham v Leeds United H
    Brentford v Aston Villa * A 1-3
    Crystal Palace v Everton. H
    AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United * D 2-2
    Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur. H
    VfL Wolfsburg Ladies v Arsenal Ladies * A 0-1

  • OX10 – Thank you for pointing out you prediction’s on April 12th. You got one prediction correct and I have added that to the spreadsheet.

  • So far this season has been a two person competition between Kev & OX10.

    Here are the weeks that we have either been in the lead or tied for the week.

    Kev 17 weeks – lead the last 7.
    OX10 16 weeks.
    Madhu, Eris, Total & GN5 1 week.

    However given the current scores they can still be over taken by Eris, Madu or Stuart, so it’s a five person run in,

  • Fulham vs Leeds Unite.……….Home
    Brentford vs Aston Villa.…….Draw (2-2)
    C Palace vs Everton….,..……….Home.
    Bournemouth vs West Ham..Home (3-1)
    Newcastle vs Tottenham…….Home
    Wolfsburg L vs Arsenal L……..Draw (2-2

  • Yeah, he is, Kev. I saw some instagram videos to that effect. He also did some outdoor ball work. Hopefully, he gets a few minutes on Friday to get him tuned into the contest on the 26th of the month, since it would seem we are determined to have play that game.

  • Here are my predictions for next weekend’s selections:

    Fulham v Leeds United H
    Brentford v Aston Villa * A (1-2)
    Crystal Palace v Everton H
    AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United * D (2-2)
    Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur H
    VfL Wolfsburg Ladies v Arsenal Ladies * D (1-1)

  • Thanks for your thoughts, boys. Coming right.

    Well done Kev, what sort of motor do you have in that taxi, mate?
    Thanks GN5, appreciate your prayers. They are being heeded. God loves a Gooner, especially one with your pedigree.
    Fulham v Leeds .….H
    Brentford v Aston Villa.….2-2
    C Palace v Everton…..H
    Bournemouth vs West Ham.. 1-2
    Newcastle vs Tottenham…….D
    Wolfsburg L vs Arsenal L…… 1-0

  • Stu didn’t know you are a Padre. Urgently need your direct connection to the almighty for some devine intervention for Arsenals sake. May be you are the key for us to win the league. COYG

  • I think it’s a 2.8 litre Ford engine, it’s quite rapid but as most roads in London are now 20mph thanks to Mayor Khan our sociopathic leader, I cannot get anywhere faster than someone on an electric scooter Stu…

  • Well, Kev, perhaps you could keep to a respectable 20mph in GN5’s comp, to give the rest of us Sunday motorists a wee glimmer of hope?
    Never felt the liberty to pray for winning games, Madhu. Often tempted to do so tho’, mate. When Bukayu lined up that penalty on Sunday, I didn’t pray for him beforehand but did following his miss. “Encourage his heart, Lord, and protect him from the slings and arrows”.
    Like many on this blog, I love these lads who wear the shirt we all dreamed of wearing, especially those, like Bukayu who have grown up in the club.

  • 20mph all day-night long for a 2.8l sounds like torture to me, but what do I know? However, I’ll report you to my brother-in-law who’s a petrolhead, if ever there was one. Do you do all the fixing required yourself, Kev?
    The Buk will need our love indeed. For some reason – just a feeling, I sure hope I’m wrong – I fear this late miss might gnaw at him longer than the Euro one did. Back then he harnessed all of his power-energy-resolve … to get back on horseback straight away and ride like the wind. Will he be able to do it again as successfully in so little time, I don’t know – all the less so since should we end up this wonderful season as runners-up “only”, the dementors of Arsenal “fandom” will do everything they can to harass our young wizard into whatever Azkaban they think they guard.
    Sorry about the home-hospital question, Stu. I think the word “infection” blinded me, I have bad memories. I just hope:

  • LG, love ya, mate. Sorry I didn’t respond to your query. I was in and out (food is better at home). And the 7 minutes and 26 seconds of your prescription is kicking in wonderfully. I am walking down that avenue, and despite resisting any urge to put on that pretty summer red dress, the healing is well and truly underway… that backstreet jellyroll is doing its thang.

  • Stu, you only need a couple of poor weeks and it all goes to pot – it’s all about pacing yourself that’s why I’m keeping an eye on Eris, because he’s crafty… 😄

  • I’ve got you in my mirror as well Madhu – and OX10 😉

    LG, I rent my taxi from a garage in Stratford, East London not far from the Olympic Stadium, they do all the mechanical work, tyres, oil changes, light bulbs if need be, insurance, all I worry about is tyre pressures and wear, water & oil levels and derv, it’s cheaper to run your own taxi but more problematic and I like a quiet, carefree life.

  • Mine is a 14 plate so it’s 6 years more up to date than the one in the video but everything about both vehicles were pretty much the same and yes I’ve experienced the red cable wiggle to start my engine, it’s all part of its charm…

  • Superb video, I wish I had known it when I was still working.
    There was a “professional” section in my school, an understatement meaning that the kids in there weren’t “academic” – at all – and would end up in a “manual” profession (and making much more money than us teachers …).
    Anyway, they could be very … straightforward, these boys, which is why my female colleagues were terrorized at the thought of having to teach them, so that two of these classes were “mine”, the other two ones being looked after by my Welsh Liverpool fan of a colleague.
    Our job consisted in doing everything we could to improve their oral English, both their comprehension of it, as well as their expression in it.
    This clip would have been perfect. I could’ve divided the class in 5 groups, each having to 1) understand what “young Kev” explains in one of the 5 parts, then 2) report what they did understand to the whole class … The shot of the engine would have been very useful too, all of these kids would have been able to identify the parts, and how they’re related to one another … in French. The trick would have been to help them do it in English, and with “young Kev”‘s accent. But they’d have loved it … and would have asked me all sorts of questions I would have been unable to answer to right away.
    Funny how nimble these machines look. As I watched the lad driving, memories of the bumper cars of my childhood’s fairs came rushing back to my mind, so easy it looked for him to drive past all sorts of obstacles, or along the narrowest of alleyways.
    I usually don’t like talking shop to him when I contact my Klopp-enthralled colleague, but I think I’ll send this one to him anyway.

  • The video was in my area of London, I enjoyed listening to his accent. I still have traces of London in my voice and people instantly recognize that I’m English but the “raw” NORF LONDON has long gone.

    Kev one of my many cousins drove a black cab around London for nearly 50 years. Back in the day in order to get their license they were quizzed on the shortest way to get from “A” to “B”, in London, and they would fail if they did not know. At least that is what he told me?

  • Fulham v Leeds United H
    Brentford v Aston Villa * D (2-2)
    Crystal Palace v Everton H
    AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United * A (1-2)
    Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur H
    VfL Wolfsburg Ladies v Arsenal Ladies * A (1-2)

  • Lol, Kev. You are well on your way to being winner; no craft can stop you, it would seem. Nice video too.

  • GN5, The Public Carriage Office used to be situated in Penton Street, just off of Pentonville Road, it was run by the Metropolitan Police who were responsible for testing ‘Knowledge Boys’. I spent many hours at that place both as a Knowledge Boy and then a Cab Driver but I never lost my feelings of trepidation, it was a quietly run, efficient place, quite old fashioned but in a comforting way, it worked well and kept the standard high. Then it was handed over to Transport for London where it has lost its human face and become yet another overly bureaucratic, politically correct mess via online and the standards hav3 most certainly fallen. Pretty much like everything touched by Gov.UK…

  • Kev. as a young lad (12 year old) I used to help the milkman every morning and we delivered to the guard house at Pentonville Prison, at the time I lived on Oldershaw Road just off of Westbourne Road, it was classed as uninhabitable and demolished in the mid 70’s.

    It’s sad how good things from the past seem to deteriorate. I used to love the black cabs as they were an iconic part of London. In Canada the cabs were never quite the same level of quality or service – until Uber appeared. I recognize how tough it’s been for the cab business having Uber on the scene but for me it’s the perfect choice, lowest rates, newest and cleanest cabs and rarely late.

  • Arteta: Saliba not progressing quickly | Zinchenko doubtful.

    Mikel Arteta has ruled William Saliba out of Arsenal’s Friday Night Football clash with Southampton, saying the centre-back is making slow progress as he recovers from a back injury and hinting that he is still some way off match fitness.
    The Frenchman has missed Arsenal’s last four games after picking up the problem in their Europa League tie with Sporting Lisbon, and it appears increasingly unlikely he will be available to face Manchester City in next week’s crucial title clash.
    “Regarding William, we still have to wait a little bit more,” Arteta said at his press conference. “He’s not progressing as quick as we hoped. 
    “He is a bit delicate and we want to be very certain, when we push him, that he is ready to absorb the load and the rhythm we will take and at the moment that is not possible.
    Asked if he could be out for the rest of the season, Arteta said: “I don’t know. It’s a bit early. Probably next week we are going to have more certainty. 
    “There is some evolution. He is doing some activity. But he is not there yet to start to throw him on the pitch at the level the sessions demand to compete in this league.”
    Arsenal are also likely to be without Oleksandr Zinchenko against Southampton. The left-back missed the 2-2 draw with West Ham due to a muscular injury and has not yet returned to training.
    Arteta said: “We will see on that one as well. We are not certain. It’s a muscular injury and it needs some time to heal. We’re not there yet.”

  • Despite his youth I cannot deny that I’ve got some serious concerns about William Saliba in the long term, back injuries are unpredictable and problematic and have a tendency to flare up at the worst possible times.

    It’s of course quite likely that Willian Le Grand won’t suffer this issue again and with targeted exercises can manage it.

    But… it remains a major concern to me because this episode could well be a precursor to future fitness problems and at the sharp end of the season?

  • Man City had similar issues with Vincent Kompany and his overall fitness, they managed him and in the final few years of his career and would only play him in critical games.

    Now I’m not suggesting that someone of Bill’s youth is comparable with Kompany in his latter years but this area of the squad needs attending to this summer because Rob cannot play to the level we require and Tomiyasu is injury prone so a new, young, technically proficient right-sided centre-back should be on the shopping list this summer?

  • Are the new, smaller London cabs responsible for these back pains, I wonder?
    … I suggest we make a bid for Upamecano, what do you think?

  • The rumourmill suggests that Arsenal are watching three young Brazilian players, which I hope is true because it’s a policy that works well for Brighton.

    Maybe Reuel Walters is the right-sided centre-back cover for Saliba?

  • Might be … he had a great game against the baby Cityzens, actually I find his partnership with Robinson more and more interesting, even though Reuell is made to play left-CB in it.
    It’s been a very long time since a commanding CB from the Academy ended up being promoted to first-team. Will Reuell be the one? Always hard to say, but beyond his outstanding “football” qualities, he sure looks like a fascinating personality, too.
    Watching Sporting-AZ67 in the Youth League semi-final right now. The Dutch play without their captain-best player-top scorer, Meerdink. He had a cameo in the Conference League last night and scored the winning penalty in the shootout, so much so that their setup is more defense-minded than in the previous 2 rounds – when they trampled Barça first, Real then, under foot.
    This hasn’t been working so far, they’re one goal down, a Saka-esque left-footed stunner from Sporting’s RW.
    Marquinhos doesn’t exactly make me wish for more similar moves, Kev …
    As I wrote this, AZ67 scored the equalizer by the other wonderkid they play upfront, Poku. Great game, two teams based on skills, pace and vision, not on muscle – the Youth football I love.

  • Who is Robin The Norseman or Robin The Norman or even Robin Le Normand?

    Does he originate from the Dukedom of Normandy?

    He’s a 26 year old Viking Frenchman who plays for Real Sociedad and apparently Arsenal are watching him as an upgrade on Rob Le Holding…

  • LeG:

    I can’t say that I’ve been blown away by Marquinhos either if I’m being totally honest, although tif to him I don’t see a lot of Norwich City matches, just goals highlights so I’m not really au fait with how his general play is and if he’s improve.

  • There is a YouTube channel that follows and shows highlights of how our loanees are developing but I can’t recall it’s name as I’ve not watched it in awhile, I guess that our Loans Manager and his staff will be up to speed with how everyone is shaping up but Patino is the only one I’d put money on for promotion to the senior squad next season.

  • I think Le Normand is from … Brittany, actually (but I’d have to check it out)
    2-2 in Lisbon, AZ’s second was … Henry-esque this time, wonderful (Daal the name of the boy). Their colours are the very same as my dear ol’ FCRouen’s, I have a soft spot for these Alkmaar kids.
    I agree about Charlie, but I hope Norton-Cuffy will be considered too. He’s very young, actually he could be eligible to play the Youth League next season, but from the little I’ve seen him, he looks like the real thing (RB/RWB) to me.
    How I wish we could see this kind of setup:
    Norton-Cuffy Robinson Walters Sousa
    Rosiak Ibrahim Lewis-Skelly
    Cozier-Duberry Gower
    (Benjamin, Kamara, Quesada-Thorn, …)
    … against the likes of these Sporting-AZ lads
    Some assessment of Hale End it would be …

  • Talking of Brazilians, Diego Allai, Sporting’s shot-stopper, has been extraordinary, no less.
    2-2, penalty shootout. Contary to the Youth Cup, no ET.
    Sensible rule, probably, but too bad such a game should be decided this way.

  • Zinchenko starts and so does Vieira. No Granit Xhaka on the team sheet. Is he injured?

  • Arsenal Starting XI: Ramsdale, White, Holding, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Partey, Odegaard, Vieira, Saka, Martinelli, Jesus.

    Subs: Turner, Tierney, Smith Rowe, Nketiah, Kiwior, Trossard, Jorginho, Nelson, Walters.

    Southampton starting Xi: Bazunu, Walker-Peters, Bella-Kotchap, Bednarek, Perraud, Lavia, Ward-Prowse, Elyounoussi, Alcaraz, Walcott, Armstrong

    Subs: McCarthy, Caleta-Car, Lyanco, Diallo, Armstrong, Orsic, Aribo, Kamaldeen, Onuachu

  • “Welcome to my nightmare
    I think you’re gonna like it
    I think you’re gonna feel like you belong
    A nocturnal vacation
    A necessary sedation
    You wanna feel at home ’cause you belong”

  • “Now comes the moment of great great decision
    The doctor is making his first incision
    One goes here, one goes there
    The ether tube’s leaking says someone who’s sloppy
    The patient it seems is not so well sleeping
    The screams echo up the hall
    Don’t panic someone give him pentathol instantly
    Doctor removes his blade cagily slow from the brain
    By my count of ten the head won’t move”

  • Here we go again, five more minutes of wasted time … when will our clocks be run as in basket-ball?
    The ball stops rolling, the clock stops turning.
    If there is less than 6-minute added time to this half, this should be regarded as armed robbery

  • Why don’t we make a habit of placing a man at the back post, from free kicks? Whenever we do, it has yielded. Why not continue a good habit.

    Yeah, Le Gal, the time wasting has been very obvious for all to see. I even posit that Bednarek was not as injured as he feigned he was. Well, he got what was coming to him as he was subbed off as a precaution.

    For a game I had hoped we use to get some goals and reduce GD, we just barely hope to get the win. A very Arsenal game to have our ex-players shine against us.

  • To be fair, Fabio Vieira has not done much to change opinions. He is a busy player but not much in cultured end product.

    We have it all to do in the second half. A win in this is a game will do our confidence a lot of good at the Etihad. So, a well fought win should be the goal. It will be okay.

    ESR or Nelson can come on for Vieira and we should give them a different kind of problem. The good thing is their goals have come from individual errors on our part, so cut out errors and stay calm, have belief.

  • Tactics, setups,can go out the window.
    A few changes (Vieira? Zinch? Odegaard? Partey? Jesus, even?) would do us no harm, but let’s just hope Mikel has something like that in him, otherwise …:
    ” I don’t know what to say, really. Three minutes till the biggest battle of our professional lives all comes down to today. Now either we heal as a team or we’re gonna crumble, inch by inch, play by play, ’til we’re finished.
    We’re in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me. And, we can stay here — get the shit kicked out of us — or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb outta hell one inch at a time.”

  • I was reluctant to put the blame on the poor kid only, but yes, that’s what makes more sense to begin with, Stu – a more radical approach might be needed if we’re still 1 goal down by the 60th, though

  • 62nd
    Time for 4-4-2?

  • Well guys, this is all looking bad. Really lacking leadership today. And too many players are out of form. Southampton are also playing very well, it has to be said.

  • Brilliant comeback, the boys did us proud. Of course it is two points dropped but and we just cannot afford to do this, but I have peace with it. This team will grow and grow the coming years.

  • Some players were below par but it was not for lack of effort.. Man City will win league and we will become second, but that’s nothing to be ashamed about. On Wednesday we can go to Manchester and play our best footie, win or lose.

  • Twists and turns to come, boys.
    Let’s unknot our stomachs and go again. We can win at City.

  • TA, “I have peace with it” describes it perfectly for me. Some real character was shown at the end. Last season we would have crumbled. We are on an upward trajectory. We all expected some ups and downs but there have been more ups than we dreamt of at the beginning of the season.

  • I don’t know what to say except that youngsters are dragging is along. Tomas, Zin and Jesus were poor. Jesus shild be winning us games but his theatrical falls are doing us no good. Trossard should never have been dropped. We are masters of our own downfall and it started with Liverpool.

  • One more thing Viera playing ahead of Trossard and ESR is unexplainable. ESR if for to.be on bench can surely play. Nelson did more in 10 mins than Viera did in 60. Cannot understand

  • Madhu, for us to pay £30m for Vieira, we must have seen something there and this is just the manager giving him a chance, I think. If he doesn’t take the challenge, I am certain Arteta would consign him to the bench till he leaves the club.

    As for Reiss doing more, it has to do with the time of entry and where the momentum is swinging at the time of introducing the player. We have seen Nelson start games and struggle to create too much as he tries to stick to the tactical approach. When it is “all systems go”, hairy scary all attack situations, it is easier to take risks. And that’s not me saying I don’t like to see Nelson more. He has fight in him plus true love for the club.

  • Reiss did look good when he came on as did Trossard, but I think we missed Xhaka this evening, I’m blaming Vieira but he needs to be more decisive, he plays too many safe, nothing balls for me,and at this stage we need players with courage and tenacity. It’s up for grabs now!

  • I am always for academy products to get preference over some other newbie. In this case it’s not even sentiments but purely based on what we have seen with performances. For academy kids it’s the pride of the shirt and they would give everything to play for Arsenal. Why is ESR fit for bench but not to play few meaningful minutes?

  • Sad and unfortunate we’ve made it very difficult but it is still in our hands to become Champions.
    Champions are made of stern stuff and our fightback, after we gifted them three goals. showed that we are – and it was great to watch, Win six consecutive games and we are the champions – all will become clearer Wednesday evening.

    Even if we lose City are not INVINCIBLE.

  • Come on, Madhu. You know it.
    If anybody would have been a better fit to replace Xhaka, they would play by definition.

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