Arsenal open up their home campaign, albeit in front of an empty Emirates, against West Ham on Saturday. The Gunners will look to pick up where they left off against Fulham (won 3-0) while the Hammers will look to turn things around from a desultory performance against Newcastle (lost 2-0). I watched that Newcastle-West Ham match — David Moyes’ men did not look good. They just kind of, ran around the pitch for 90 minutes and didn’t really do anything noteworthy.
West Ham have talent on their roster and are always good for a handful of surprise performances each season. The Gunners won both meetings last season, but the 1-0 win in March was a labored performance that could have gone either way. The Hammers won 3-0 at the midweek against Charlton (League One) in the Carabao Cup.
Arsenal could do with a win on Saturday because they’re entering a stretch of tough games. Leicester City twice (once in the Carabao, once in the league), Liverpool, both Manchester clubs, and Sheffield United. I’m going to keep saying it — Arsenal need to feast on the lesser teams this season. West Ham is a lesser team.
Arsenal got some good news on the injury front: David Luiz returned to full training on Thursday and will be available for selection. Most websites are speculating the Granit Xhaka is doubtful after coming off late against Fulham with an ankle knock , but there has been nothing from the club to indicate that Xhaka has an issue. Calum Chambers, Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari, and Gabriel Martinelli are all out.
In news that I am sure will shock you, former Gunner Jack Wilshere picked up an ankle injury in training and will likely miss Saturday’s match. He has had the absolute worst injury luck. Mikel Arteta was complimentary of his former teammate in his pre-match press conference and had a funny moment where he almost called Wilshere a kid even though he’s 28 now.
Make sure you check out Nathan’s Predicted 11 for the match.
WHAT: Arsenal vs. West Ham
WHERE: The Emirates
WHEN: Saturday, September 19th, 12 PM PT | 3 PM ET | 8 PM BT
US TV: NBCSN and UNIVERSO (SP). Stream here.
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