Preview: West Ham v. Arsenal
After drawing their first game of the season in a sleepy match in Holland on Tuesday, Arsenal travels to east London hoping to secure the three points needed to vault over our north London rivals ahead of next weeks's Halloween clash.
I'm never very confident going into this match. Last year we won thanks to a late cameo from some bloke from Togo, and the year before that, we survived with a one-nil win courtesy of a rare header from Robin van Persie. West Ham has played very well against us in recent years, and without being fully concentrated for 95 minutes today, the Arsenal players could find themselves as stunned as Jens Lehmann was after Zamora's chip three years ago.
Ouick Vital Quotes:
There is a fantastic interview with the Verminator in the Telegraph today.
Abou Diaby weighed in on the comparison between himself and Patrick Viera.
'He (Vieira) is a big idol for me and I learned a lot from watching him.'
'The way he defends and the way he penetrates defenders to get in the box - he has been a big influence. People make the comparison between us because I'm tall like him but I believe our game is very different. He is much more aggressive than me and much stronger.'
West Ham Team News:
According to West Ham official site they have nobody out injured, but from what I've heard Dean Ashton is definitely out injured, and Danny Gabbidon and Kieron Dyer are doubts. Midfielder, Scott Parker, however is back and will start for Zola.
Player to watch: Scott Parker
After gathering the 08-09 player of the season award for West Ham, Parker has started this season at a snail's pace. He has no goals or assists in 9 starts in all competitions. He has recovered from an injury that kept him out of West Ham's game with Stoke last weekend, and he be looking to use the high profile nature of this game to get his season back on track.
Arsenal Team News:
For once I don't have any new injuries to report, and I even get to say we have a returnee to the squad. Eduardo has recovered from a thigh strain, and he might get pushed straight back into the starting lineup thanks to several other injuries. Bendtner and Samir Nasri might make the bench, but Walcott, Rosicky, Denilson Fabianski, and Djourou are all still out.
Predicted Starting XI: Mannone, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Song, Diaby, Fabregas, Arshavin, Eduardo, van Persie
Player to watch: Whoever starts in goal!
I've never seen anything like this before. Almunia was dropped after a bad start to the season, and even though he is the better keeper, he cannot displace Mannone. If Vito keeps his spot today, then I think Almunia is done at this club.
Match Facts & Stats
West Ham haven't won since opening day.
van Persie has scored in the last three league matches.
West Ham have won only two of their previous 14 Premier League home matches against the Gunners.
Chris Foy will be the head official for today's match. He averaged 3.4 cards per game last year.
I'm not confident, but I think we can shrug off the poor result from Tuesday and get back to winning ways. Arsenal has been beating the bottom half teams with ease this season, and we will continue that trend tomorrow. 3-1 to the Arsenal.
28/10 (Wed) - Liverpool (H) - Carling Cup
31/10 (Sat) - Tottenham (H) - Premier League