West Ham Preview: Three or Four, That’s The Question

.West Ham this evening and after the weekend’s results for both sides, it’s going to be a tougher game that it seemed a week ago. Have the ‘Appy ‘Ammers shot their bolt in beating Chelsea? Is this something of the morning after the Lord Mayor’s show for them? I doubt it, somehow.

Arsenal, on the other hand, were a blunt instrument at Southampton to the point where Arsène is thinking about rotating the side. It depends on “how they recover” and “the balance of the team”. It says a lot that there may not be any changes beyond those enforced.

Per Mertesacker couldn’t steady the defensive ship and if anything, his lack of match sharpness made things worse in the opening ten minutes or so at St Mary’s. If there is to be ‘rotation’ in defence, his is the place most under threat.

However, Laurent Koscielny is suffering from an Achilles problem. It’s nothing new and there must be a question mark over his fitness to play three games in a week. If that is the case, we’ve got problems.

The question for Arsène is whether he sticks with a back three or moves to a four. Confidence is shot at the back at the moment, which was a prime reason for switching formations in the first place. Wenger never hid his distaste for it but the players told him they preferred it so we stuck with it.

Has it improved us? For a while, yes. I don’t think you can argue that we look better with three centre-backs but the bar was set low at the time so anything was an improvement. Are we at the point where we revert to a four. Perhaps that’s why we’re interested in N’Zonzi, adding a physical presence into midfield for protection.

Five, Four, Three, Two, One

I’d suggest tonight is going to herald a return to the back four. In recent Premier League games, it has been a case of circumstance but now this is a choice, even necessary to restore some confidence to the season.

One reason for switching to a four – Koscielny and presumably Monreal as the pairing although Rob Holding could come in with Nacho moving to the left – is to beef up the midfield in Aaron Ramsey’s absence. With West Ham sure to be combative, does the manager offer some support to Xhaka?

Add Coquelin and it’s a combustible mix; Elneny’s calmness is more reassuring. However, it’s almost expected that Jack Wilshere will slot into Ramsey’s slot in the team. What we get is a different solution in both a 3-4-3 and 4-2-3-1; and one we desperately need.

Moyes isn’t a brilliant manager but even he will have seen United and Southampton frustrate us with banks of four and five. Wilshere’s ability to run between them and create openings for others is a reason for his inclusion. Against BATE, he managed to get forward into the box to support the attack. If he can reproduce that form, it will further his case for a regular starting place.

It’s a different solution to Ramsey’s late runs into the box. However. tonight may benefit from freshening things up, doing things a little differently. Or a lot differently, if we’re honest.

Arsène spoke of how big clubs face greater “density” in the final third but teams have been coming to the Emirates and doing that since the day it opened. This isn’t a new tactic, just one which has become more honed over the years.

Heading for Change

One change I think we will see is Olivier Giroud start, giving the West Ham defence a physical presence to think about. Almost softening them up for Lacazette’s introduction on the hour mark.

The problem with recent performances that Cech aside, there’s a case for any of the XI to be dropped. Cech is only saved because I don’t think Ospina would improve us. Wenger’s job is to find a balance between belief in the players and freshening things up.

Tonight’s team:

Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Coquelin; Sanchez, Wilshere, Özil; Giroud

If it’s a back three, swap out Coquelin for Holding.

Returning to winning ways tonight is important if December isn’t to become the new November. It’s a busy month with plenty of games and a good or bad run can build very quickly. Let’s nip the mini-bad spell in the bud.

Ahead of the game, there’s a new post on Dad’s Jukebox, brought to you by the letter ‘w’.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

 

134 thoughts on “West Ham Preview: Three or Four, That’s The Question

  1. Wavey says:

    Noon Gunner,

    You think they train? I thought Wenger focused on fitness and left the players to work the rest out for themselves.

  2. consolsbob says:

    What the fuck was our defence doing then?

  3. Wavey says:

    WTF? All courtesy of Kos who learned nothing from the United game and put a suicidal ball across the pitch. Thank fuck for the bar.

  4. Wavey says:

    2 points from 6 against poor teams. Just shocking and no one will analyse the mistakes, so no one will address them for the next game. Kos plays another mad ball when a review of the United game would have made it clear that playing a blind ball across the pitch just outside your area puts your team in trouble.

  5. consolsbob says:

    Even bloody Ferdinand can see it. God help us.

  6. Noon Gunner says:

    We have entirely run out of ideas.

    That’s down to you, Mr Wenger.

  7. Wavey says:

    We look clueless up front, but are marginally worse with Sanchez on the pitch. He won’t pass it to anyone other than Ozil and no one wanted to get the ball in to Giroud. I’d drop him. Wenger does it to other players when they aren’t performing. Sanchez may be one of our biggest goal threats, but his attitude is making him a passenger at the moment.

  8. HenryB says:

    Apparently we had 70% possession: 22 shots — only 3 shots on target.

    I have to say, C, some of the players are not up to it — especially Sanchez who is a shadow of his former self (should have been let go last summer) — and the manager has to take responsibility.

  9. Nickerless Bender says:

    I love this blog. Always makes me smile😊

    OK… I’m a 70s gooner… and to be honest we are shite.

    Nuff said I’m gonna watch 89 and be reminiscent.

    I think the invincibles will be going this season as well.!! 😨👹Ffs!!

    Fucking 7th? What a joke😶

  10. Wavey says:

    At home to Newcastle and Rafa likes to get under Wenger’s skin. Just the kind of banana skin we need when we are looking clueless.

  11. Nickerless Bender says:

    What makes it worst is that my son… wants to follow barnet because I’m so disappointed by this crock of shit. Something has to give…!! This fecking club will be the death of me… or make me continuously skint.🙈😲😠

  12. C says:

    HenryB,

    Yea one would think that some of the players would be up for it and the whole Sanchez situation is actually growing into quite the problem because he seems to only pass to Sead, Ozil, Lacazette and anybody else its simply because he has no other choice. It makes you scratch your head why players like Chambers and Elneny can’t get a game…

    The other thing us, I honestly think the players have tuned out Arsene and don’t play for him. It makes you wonder if outside of them winning it because its silverware that some players truly thought he would walk away if we lifted the FA Cup because I feel like the rumours of players leaving and wanting to leave didn’t happen until after he signed.

  13. Bill says:

    Defense had a couple of nervy moments and almost lost the game at the end but overall they kept a clean sheet. We are still inconsistent and one clean sheet does not change the fact that our defense is not good enough for a team whose supposed objective is to be one of the 10 best teams in Europe. It may not be good enough for a top 4 finish this season.

    No early goals conceded today and we still looked stale and ineffective at the attacking end. Hopefully the excuse of the month for our struggle to break down an organized defense will die a quick death. As excuses go the “early goal conceded theory” was one of our weaker efforts.

  14. Ras says:

    1 step forward 2 steps backwards….😃
    I have to seriously ask myself if Kos is a bit of a retard?. What the fuck was he thinking?

    Sanchez was playing to far from goal to be a goal threat.

    If you are going to play OG then common sense would dictate that to play to his strengths you have to play down the flanks – wings and cross the ball. Once again We tried to thread the ball through the eye of a needle.

    AW could not affect any sort of change . He’s shown again how limited is game management is. He’s tactically inept . Possession possession possession. So what.

    Serious change is needed. You

  15. Nickerless Bender says:

    C:
    HenryB,

    Yea one would think that some of the players would be up for it and the whole Sanchez situation is actually growing into quite the problem because he seems to only pass to Sead, Ozil, Lacazette and anybody else its simply because he has no other choice. It makes you scratch your head why players like Chambers and Elneny can’t get a game…

    The other thing us, I honestly think the players have tuned out Arsene and don’t play for him.It makes you wonder if outside of them winning it because its silverware that some players truly thought he would walk away if we lifted the FA Cup because I feel like the rumours of players leaving and wanting to leave didn’t happen until after he signed.

    They wanted to leave before he re-signed. I think the issue is that the players see that there is no progress… I’m not gonna blame AW because he has been given a shit stick but I will blame those wankers of a board. Not one of those cunts has taken responsibility for the mediocrity we are witnessing. So they let AW take the blame… the sooner he goes then we will all see what a cocking mess we are.in.

  16. Orson Kaert says:

    That was a completely wasted evening, I really don’t know how much longer I can bear to watch Arsenal. We have had bad teams in the past, but they were largely made up from poor, talentless players. This current lot have talent in abundance but are wasting it due to the lack of any sort of tactical plan aside from keep the ball and try to pass the opposition into oblivion.

    Well it’s not working, except on me. Ciao.

  17. Wailesy says:

    It’s not the players. It’s the management. Stale predictable and laughable.

    I can’t wait to see how Ivan’s going to punch in the metrics for the last 3 games.
    Maybe away games don’t count and add to that home games against the top 6.
    If we were any other football club in the top 3 divisions Wenger would be out on his ear.
    It really is a hopeless situation.

  18. Nickerless Bender says:

    Cant get 89😠 suppose I better watch Arsenalfan tv😠

    Oh woe is me you king football club. BRING BACK BRUCE RIOCH!!

  19. andy1886 says:

    The only plus point is that I don’t have to stay up for MoTD now.

    Usually we have two narratives to chose from, either be a front runner and fade after Christmas, or we come with a late run to snatch a CL place (but not quite in time last season). It’s looking like the latter this time, and ultimately it will depend on others failing for us to reach Wenger’s Holy Grail of a top four finish.

    Personally I don’t care about the top four, I’m just marking time until we change the manager and show a bit more ambition.

  20. Wavey says:

    Ras,

    The only player trying to cross the ball to Giroud was Maitland-Niles.

    I honestly don’t know how Iwobi continues to warrant a place in the starting line-up. He has become a liability because he wastes the ball so often. You are almost praying for anyone but Iwobi to get on the end of it.

  21. Nickerless Bender says:

    Thank feck for that… and there I was thinking I was on my own. 😂😶

  22. Ras says:

    Wavey,

    Iwobi is infuriating. He’s playing to “orders” of a sort I’d guess.

    There is no in game management of any description. It’s literally kick and run. It’s what we used to play as kids.

    Player wise there needs to be some serious changes. In this current system of play( non descriptive) I ask myself whet does Xhakia bring to the team.
    I ask myself are the players ever versed in training how to break down teams that sit deep?.

  23. Bill says:

    Orson Kaert:
    That was a completely wasted evening, I really don’t know how much longer I can bear to watch Arsenal.We have had bad teams in the past, but they were largely made up from poor, talentless players.This current lot have talent in abundance but are wasting it due to the lack of any sort of tactical plan aside from keep the ball and try to pass the opposition into oblivion.

    Well it’s not working, except on me.Ciao.

    Orson

    The problem is 2 fold. The players are not as talented as we give them credit for. The bigger problem is the tempo of our attacking is just to slow. Our tactical plan is the same as its always been. Ball possession with measured build ups thru the midfield and wait for our creativity midfielders will break the opposition down with quick passing. We need to speed up the tempo and get the ball forward before the opposition can set up their defense. When you attack with tempo you are not dependent of your creative midfielders to break open the defense and you don’t need such a complex tactical plan.

  24. Bill says:

    Maitland-Niles has been used as a square peg in several round holes and he has performed quite well in whichever role Arsene gives him. None of the moping and complaining or using the “playing out of position” excuse. He is right footed so LB is not a great fit for him but he does not let that affect his defensive play and he actually does a much better job of crossing and adds more to the attack then Bellerin even though Hector is on his favored side. Perhaps we should drop Hector and give Maitland-Niles a chance on the right. AMN’s versatility will give him a better chance to stick with the first team and he may turn out to be a good player to have in the squad.

  25. G4E says:

    Despite what looks like an effort from the players, it was dreadful to watch a team with %70 possession yet looked like never ever scoring in a million years.

    Totally disjointed, I don’t even think the players know what they’re doing or what they’re supposed to do. Lots of side way passing with absolutely no purpose, do the players know what the plan was? Cause I sure didn’t.

    When we start with Giroud we don’t cross the ball and when we started with Lacazette the balls are flying into the box. It’s a complete disorganization and utter disarray.

    We made the same weird defensive mistakes and if this was a half decent team they would definitely beat us easily.

    We are 7th, behind Burnley, and somehow allowed The Spuds to leapfrog us again.

    I can understand City is running with it and probably deservedly so. Even Chelsea, Man United are struggling to keep up. But this is the difference between someone fresh like Guardiola and someone stale like Wenger. He’s 70 or something and he needs to fucking let go of this Club.

    Just go Wenger, have another shot with another club or country……But the evidence are there, unfortunately You’re past your due date with Arsenal. It’s just not going to happen again…..We are still hanging on to the past glory of Wenger years…..But it’s long gone.

    Down spiral or even a run of wins is too little too late……Let’s say it now…..Maybe next year will be better………..BWAHAHAHAHA

  26. Bill says:

    We are now 19 points behind the league leaders after only 17 games. That is remarkable both for how average we have been and how well City has played. The thing which is surprising about what City has been able to do is the TV money has made it easier for the mid table and lower table teams to be a threat to take points from the bigger teams. 10 years ago we used to be confident of winning a lot of away games against the mid and lower table teams but now we expect to have very low scoring tight games and drop points against most of those teams.

    From our standpoint the hopeful thing is we are currently on pace to collect only 67 points and I still expect us to finish around 72- 74 points so we are still owed a good run of form at some point in the second half of the season.

  27. Dukey says:

    So the 3rd umpires out there all seem to be Aussies then.

  28. Wavey says:

    C,

    I think that some of the players were up for it, but the quality players were not. I cannot fault Iwobi for his efforts and his ability to get into dangerous positions, but he and Welbeck are very similar in that they are usually the last player you want on the end of a ball due to the inability to do something with it.

    Jack worked hard, but usually delivered the ball to Sanchez who then proceeded to dance backwards and forwards with it, slowing the attack to a crawl. We don’t use the width of the pitch effectively, so most of the time never bother to throw balls in the box. Bellerin only went to the bye-line once in the second half. It just looks like so much of it is simply down to a lack of coaching. I’m sure players like Bellerin, Iwobi and Welbeck can be more effective. They may not be the very best players in the world, but they are a lot better than they are showing at the moment. There is a lack of initiative on the pitch and that seems down to players not knowing what to do in different situations. If you drill a player on hitting a spot with the ball from different angles on the wing during training, he is likely to hit his man more regularly in a match. Anybody would. Which suggests are players are worse than a pub team, or they just don’t train.

  29. delano says:

    Something is fundamentaly wrong and its all Arsene.Leciester City beats Southampton for dead at St. Marys stadium and all the Mighty Arsenal can do is to scrap for a Giroud equaliser in the 89th minute. Wenger has indeed fed us shit for real.

  30. Jonnygunner says:

    Late post today YW ?
    Put the razor blades down….and the rope……it’s not worth it….just give us the post 😎😎

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