Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Saturday September 29 2007
Saturdays's game should be an easy game for Arsene Wenger's Arsenal. At least on paper. But as we all know, football matches are not decided on paper, they're decided on a football pitch.
The gunners have not manager to defeat The Hammers since they made their return to the Premiership two years ago.
Indeed, West Ham are the only visiting team to win at Ashbuton Grove since it opened last season when they managed an undeserved 1-0 win over The Gunners.
Arsenal fans will be hoping that off-field matters do not interfear with the players performances after Mr. Usmanov increased his Arsenal holdings to 23% on Friday.
Arsenal go in to the game undefeated this season, winning all but one game.
West Ham Manager Alan Curbishley is hoping he can field his first choice strike partnership or the first time this season: We started the season with Bobby Zamora and Craig Bellamy, and then at Newcastle we had Carlton Cole and Dean Ashton, so hopefully now we can get Bellamy and Ashton together.
'It's a proper game, with a great atmosphere, and everyone is looking forward to it. The one thing you know about Arsenal is that they will come and play their game. They are a top side but we'll wait and see what happens.
'It comes around so quickly. Arsenal rested a lot of players on Tuesday (against Newcastle) but I think we talk about 'three games in a week' too much. It's perhaps all in the mind a little bit, but we'll find out on Saturday.'
Arsene Wenger revealed that he is still caustious of what Arsenal can achieve this season: 'I am still cautious because it's only the beginning of the season and we need to prove we are consistent at that high level throughout the whole year.
'I feel our big strength is our togetherness and camaraderie and the fact that everyone is on the same wave-length.
'It is not easy to keep that in a young team but we must try.'
Craig Bellamy, Scott Parker and former Gunner Freddie Ljungberg are all set to return for West Ham after coming through West Ham's Carling Cup game against Plymouth in the week.
Bobby Zamora, Calum Davenport, Nigel Quashie, Julien Faubert and Kieron Dyer are all still out.
The English striker has shown his worth over the last couple of weeks, showing lethal form in front of goal, as well an fantastic link up play. His power will pose a serious threat to Arsenal's back four on Saturday afternoon.
Eduardo Da Silva has joined Gallas, Lehamnn, Hleb and Rosicky on Arsnal's injury list. Alex Song is also expected to miss out.
Gilberto could return to the midfield ahead of Flamini with Senderos expected to return to his back four role to partner Kolo Toure.
Eboue came through the Carling Cup game with no problems, so he coul slot in on the right side of midfield.
Adebayor has made a fantastic start to the season, scoring 6 goals in as many games for Arsenal. with fabregas likely to be shut out of the game, Adebayor could well be key for the Gunners if they are to come away with 3 points.
Alan Wiley will lead out the two teams on Satuday. In his five games so far this season he has issued 17 yellow cards and just 1 red.
I'm not at all confident going into this match. I'm going to say that the Gunners will suffer their first defeat of the season. 1-0 to West Ham. Ljungberg to set up Ashton for a goal late in the second half.
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Date:Saturday September 29 2007
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|4. Crystal Palace||8||5||0||3||+4||15|
|5. Leicester City||8||4||3||1||+2||15|
|6. West Ham||8||4||2||2||+6||14|
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