Arsenal v West Ham United Cheat Sheet
Arsenal v West Ham
It has been a sensational season for Arsenal so far and the only real bad news at the club is Gabriel Jesus’ recent injury playing for Brazil. Players such as Tomiyasu, Smith-Rowe and Saliba may be fit enough to start this game but if not should be back very soon. The only Arsenal player involved in the semi-final stage at the World Cup was William Saliba, who only played 28 minutes in the whole tournament. This has benefitted Arsenal who have managed to fit in a good 4 friendly matches playing their normal starting eleven, they will not be lacking in match sharpness in this game.
West Ham also had 1 player in the semi-finals of the World Cup, Nayef Aguerd who was named in the starting eleven for the semi-final against France before he was removed from the squad at the last minute declared unfit to play. It is unlikely he will be available for this match after he missed the 3rd place play-off as well. Zouma’s fitness is also in question currently so West Ham may have to start Ogbonna alongside Dawson in this match which is far from ideal when away against the league leaders.
Arsenal are in brilliant form and it seems unlikely that the injury to Jesus will affect this too much, Nketiah has plenty of experience in Arsenal’s starting line-up and will want to take this chance to show he can challenge for the Arsenal number 9 spot. Arsenal have only played 6 games at home in the league so far this season, winning all 6 as well as their 3 Europa League home fixtures. Arsenal have won their last 7 home fixtures against West Ham, a run stretching back to 2015. West Ham have been disappointing this season, they are just 1 point above the relegation zone and have struggled against top 6 sides. They managed a draw against Spurs but have lost to Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United.
Arsenal are so strong at home it seems impossible for them to not win this match with a squad that will be feeling refreshed.
Arsenal should have plenty of possession in this match and West Ham will likely sit back, against other top 6 teams West Ham have averaged 37.25% possession. Arsenal will be patient and will likely find most of their space out wide. From these wide positions crosses will be blocked and players tackled that lead to corners. Arsenal average 5.5 corners per match and West Ham concede 4.53 corners per match in the league this season. In only 2 home matches this season Arsenal have failed to have over 5.5 corners and they were against Liverpool and Spurs. West Ham do give away corners against top opposition as mentioned so I would expect Arsenal to have a high corner count again in this match, therefore I am backing over 5.5 Arsenal corners.
As previously mentioned, West Ham’s possession numbers are particularly low against top 6 teams. Arsenal have averaged 61.4% possession over their last 5 home matches against teams outside the top 6 so I expect them to control possession in this match so have higher passing numbers. Ben White can play as a centre-back or a right back for Arsenal and with Tomiyasu likely not fit enough to start he will almost certainly start at right back. Ben White has averaged 67.7 passes per 90 this season according to my cheat sheet and averages 82 minutes on the pitch per match. He has attempted 70 or more passes in all of his last 5 Premier League games for the club despite being subbed off with around 15 minutes to go in 2 of these matches. In a match like this where Arsenal will control possession you can expect his numbers to be higher than normal and he looks good value to get over 70 passes in this match.
With Jesus injured, Arsenal’s replacement will be in the shape of youngster Eddie Nketiah. Nketiah has played just 152 league minutes so far this season but has had 3 shots on target and in his 7 appearances in the Europa League and Carabao Cup this season he has averaged 1.12 shots on target per 90 according to my cheat sheet. In preparation for the absence of Jesus, Arteta has prepared Nketiah for this game by starting him in all 4 of the friendlies they played. In these 4 matches Nketiah scored twice, which will have given him the confidence and match sharpness he may have been missing if he had had to come into the team in mid-season.
Vardy, Zaha (playing as a striker) and Solanke have all had at least 1 shot on target against West Ham on recent matches. Nketiah is similar to all these players in that hes is not the best in the air but has quick acceleration and good movement. Nketiah will come into this match with a lot of pressure on him but it could be the time where he really steps up as a Premier League striker, even if he doesn’t score in this match he should get opportunities so I am backing him to have a shot on target.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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