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Friday, 14 January 2011

West Ham (a) preview

The boys are back to the Premier League grind tomorrow and a tough trip to Upton Park lies ahead. With West Ham struggling against relegation again we should be looking forward to a straightforward afternoon, but things are never easy for Arsenal at The Hammers and, let's face it, Arsenal are not exactly tearing up trees themselves. Since we beat Chelsea the inconsistency has been infuriating with only one win since then. Wednesday night provided a new low-point for the season and I'm sick of saying that the players must now come out and show their true form. I fear that their true form is exactly what we've been witnessing because only teams that can play well almost every week have the ability to win the Title.
Arsenal will go in to the game with Wojciech Szczesny in goal once again. Fabianski has suffered a shoulder injury and failed a fitness test. Wenger says that Fabianski will be out for "days" but this is the same injury that kept him out of the game at Old Trafford before Christmas. With Mannone away on loan we suddenly look very short in goal which was already a serious weakness given the overall quality we have at our disposal. Almunia remains officially "injured." According to Jamie Sanderson (YoungGunsBlog) in his webchat last night, Manuel Almunia has been refusing to be part of the matchday squad. If that is the case I sincerely hope his wages are being with-held by the Club. With only Szczesny available we face the prospect of a Premier League match with James Shea on the bench - this is unacceptable when you think how close we were to being without Szczesny too for tomorrow after he got away with a handball on Wednesday night.
Elsewhere we will see the return of Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie. Hopefully Nasri will be able to provide the "spark" that Wenger said was missing in midweek. Apparently Denilson is fit following a thigh niggle - not sure why this is worthy of reporting, but there you go. I don't expect Denilson to start tomorrow, but stranger things have happened with a Wenger selection - after all, Stefan Malz and Alberto Mendez had playing time at Arsenal under him! Apart from that the team is pretty much selecting itself I think, though I wouldn't put it past Le Boss to drop Theo Walcott and keep Arshavin in the side.
It goes without saying that we have to win tomorrow and we can hope that Spurs take some points off Manchester United on Sunday. As I've said, West Ham is a place we find difficult more often than not, but if the players apply themselves (as I keep on saying) they should win the game. West Ham will be right up for it you can be sure, and a packed Upton Park can be an intimidating place (though somewhat less so than years ago).

I'll post a match review either tomorrow night, or on Sunday.

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