Overly long writings about West Ham United FC. This is the kind of thing you might like, if you like this kind of thing.

Friday, September 28, 2007

West Ham vs Arsenal : 29 September 2007 (Match Preview And Other Ramblings)

1. Let's Show Some Fighting Spirit

Whatever happens tomorrow, I wouldn't mind seeing our manager have another pop at Arsene Wenger on the touchline. I'm aware it's not the same manager, but an Alan is an Alan is an Alan.

2. It's Tough In The Middle

So this is our first true test of the new season. Arsenal have begun their campaign marvellously, playing beautiful football, scoring lots of goals, beating tottenham and whinging a lot. So essentially, nothing new there.

We, on the other hand, have veered from nonsensically useless to quite good depending on whether we are playing at home or away.

Essentially, if we have genuine ambitions to be a moderate, mid table side again then we probably want to be drawing games like this.

Yeah man, the power of positive thinking.

3. The History

Unusually our recent record against Arsenal is excellent. We have lost just one of our last 6 games with the Gunners, which is probably God's way of making up for the fact that as a boy my two best friends were both Arsenal fans.

Last year saw a pair of semi-fortuitous 1-0 victories, with Marlon Harewood's last minute goal sealing the points at Upton Park, and a combination of Bobby Zamora, Robert Green and a magical forcefield around our goal helped gain the points at The Emirates.

Interestingly, we now hold the proud record of being the last team to win at Highbury, and the first to triumph at The Emirates. A nice achievement to be sure, but nowhere near as bonkers as the fact that the last time we won at Anfield they were compiling The Domesday Book.

Anyway, Arsenal are decidedly due a win.

4. The Opposition

It would be difficult to imagine a scenario in which a team could sell Thierry Henry for a mere £500k more than Darren Bent was sold for, and yet still improve. Nevertheless, that is exactly what Arsene Wenger has managed, as his remodelled side sit proudly atop the Premiership, doubtlessly sipping cappuccinos and tutting wildly at the uncouth English clubs below them.

Much of the resurgence appears to be centred around Cesc Fabregas, who has matured from a good footballer who whined a lot, to a very good footballer who still whines a lot. I can't deny the innate footballing talent but the petulance wears on me a bit.

Needless to say, there are no ex West Ham players with the visitors, but we have no less than 4 former Gooners on our books - Upson, Boa Morte, Ljungberg and Wright. The first and last of that quartet being decent examples of young Englishmen who lost their way under Wenger's tutelage.

At some point I'm hoping that Theo Walcott will be promoted from the canteen to the playing staff.

5. Hit The South

Dean Ashton has scored 9 goals for West Ham in his much curtailed stint with us. Until his excellent midweek winner against Plymouth he had not scored for us against any team more southerly than Birmingham.

Geographical quirk or not, score against some Londoners, Dean - you'll be a legend.

6. Attack!

Despite the enormity of the task, it should be said that we match up reasonably well with Arsenal. The only area of the pitch where we could claim an advantage would be in goal where Rob Green has the edge over Manuel Almunia, particularly now that the Spaniard has dyed his hair peroxide blonde.

Yet, these days Curbishley essentially has us set up to play like the away side, sitting deep and breaking with speed. This has worked well against teams prepared to attack us, and one would certainly expect Arsenal to be in that camp. Certainly Curbishley will want to pair his first choice strikers, Ashton and Bellamy, if only because William Gallas (a fine defender) is going to be replaced by Phillipe Senderos (another fine mess you've got us into).

7. Wear A Parker, It's Cold Out

If Bellamy and his broken groin don't make it, then Scott Parker may well be in line for his first League game of the year. This might not seem like an obvious choice, but I could see Parker being asked to sit on Fabregas for a while as we try and stop Arsenal playing.

I don't mean that literally, although I'm also not ruling it out. Once has to have an open mind in this game....


  1. Anonymous6:11 PM

    Hello. Just read your blog and I must say, it is very good!

    I like your choise of words and your humor. Keep that up!

    And a last thing. Better luck next time!

    Simon (Arsenal fan)

  2. Dot Cotton11:22 AM

    The result was really really bad.

    Game was good, I had fun and chips.

    Dot Cotton (West Ham fan aged 6)

  3. Anonymous1:21 PM

    Dear Editor - Hardest game of the year so far for Arsenal. WHU played very well and are looking on the up.

    The Hammers should have had a goal (Freddie timed his run too well?) to level. Payback for last seasons return of nil points, it all levels out over the years.

    The return at the Emirates could be a top game if you can keep Matthew, Freddie, Dean, Scott etc fit.

    Decent Blog, Decent Team, 6 points Aresenal this year!!

    Chris O (AFC)

  4. Anonymous12:26 PM

    We dont get on goal of the month because of our nets!!

    Simon Webster is the new Tony Adams!!

    Don Hutchinson is better then Bergkamp!!

    Actual comments from HeadHammerhead!!!!