A Community Shield victory over Liverpool and an opening day result against Fulham has Arsenal confidence off to the perfect start for the ‘20-21 season. Three points, three goals from three different players, wonderful debuts for Willian and Gabriel, and a clean sheet. Mikel Arteta will be pleased with the effort, but know that picking up early points is key towards a top four finish.
Week two sees Arsenal hosting West Ham United at the Emirates. This marks their 9th straight season in the Premier League so most fans will be familiar with the London rivals. However, here’s a quick recap of this weekend’s opponent. That trophy drought is real and the club have failed to strengthen during the transfer window.
Last Season: The Hammers were at risk of drifting down into the relegation zone throughout much of the year before finally securing enough points for safety in the closing weeks. They finished four points above the drop after managing just 10 league wins during 2019-20. West Ham went out in the 4th Round of the FA Cup to West Brom and exited the League Cup in the 3rd Round to League One side Oxford United.
Last Trophy: The 1980-81 season saw West Ham claim a double in the 2nd division trophy (now the Championship) as well as the League Cup. Like last week’s opponent Fulham, West Ham did take home an old UEFA Intertoto Cup back in 1999, the former summer tournament for teams below Europa League positions.
Ground: Olympic Stadium. The club moved from Upton Park before the 2016-17 season, after Olympic Stadium was renovated for the Premier League following the 2012 Summer Games. West Ham have signed a 99-year lease on the ground, but its massive size has created a dip in atmosphere for the crowd and home team.
Series History: 68 wins - 39 draws - 35 losses. Arsenal have won five out of their last six meetings with West Ham by a combined score of 12 to 4. In fact, Arsenal have only lost to West Ham twice in their last 26 matches across all competitions.
Transfers In: Defensive midfielder Tomáš Souček returns after a full transfer this summer following a loan to West Ham last season. The rest are additions to West Ham’s academy. Not exactly the reinforcements Moyes is looking for.
Transfers Out: Right-back Pablo Zabaleta, midfielder Carlos Sánchez, right-back Jeremy Ngakia to Watford, forward Albian Ajeti to Celtic, forward Jordan Hugill to Norwich City, keeper Roberto, and winger Grady Diangana to West Brom. Winger Dan Kemp has been loaned out to Blackpool for the season
Injuries: West Ham faced Newcastle week one with a fully fit squad and no players picking up any injuries during that match that would rule them out of the upcoming weekend.
Form: The Hammers ended last season with 2 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat, before rolling through four preseason victories.
Last Match: 2-0 loss to Newcastle. Despite controlling possession, and both sides firing 15 shots, West Ham let in two second half goals to start the season with a defeat.
Player Stats: Last season only Michail Antonio scored double digit goals (10), with just two players getting more than five across all competitions. Pablo Fornals managed six assists and four goals, tying Felipe Anderson for the assists lead. West Ham lack enough dangerous options and thus far have failed to address that pressing need during the transfer window.
Arsenal are the late kick-off on Saturday. You can watch the Gunners on NBC Sports at 3:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm PT.