West Ham Preview: Are You Experienced?

I’d forgotten quite how long a ‘Microsoft Minute’ can be so was ill-prepared when the message on the screen triumphantly declared that “this will take a while”.

“A while” is how long Bill Gates would describe the time since we last won the league; it’s even further back in the mists of time since we last won the League Cup. Apropos of nothing, it will be 25 years next April. Is there any celebration planned for the team which were the first domestic cup double winners?

In two years time, it will be the same anniversary for Copenhagen; I’d certainly welcome it getting the ’89’ treatment.

Tonight sees West Ham pitch up in the League Cup quarter-final. Arsenal are well-fancied to win and to do well overall. With the bewildering array of odds and bets, the tools at www.bet-calculators.co.uk help you cut through the chaff to find the best value wagers.

The Carabao Cup isn’t going to be remembered fondly at all as sponsors go, disappearing into the ether in the same way as the Milk Marketing Board and Rumbelows. Tomorrow night sees the draw for the semi-finals. Previous rounds tell us this is better remembered as ‘The Cock-Up Cup’; I’m not sure that’s the sort of brand awareness the sponsors wanted.

Will Arsenal be in the draw? I genuinely don’t know. I suspect it has a lot to do with what side West Ham put out. Whether Moyes thinks the late finish on Saturday is too soon to risk his key players. And the damage to morale defeat could cause, especially against Arsenal’s reserves.

And it will be the reserve XI. I’d be amazed if Jack plays and if he did, Arsène would certainly be open to accusations of recklessness. Instead, it’s an opportunity for Joe Willock or Reiss Nelson in midfield if Arsène doesn’t select Ainsley Maitland-Niles; I don’t think we’ll see anything more than a cameo from Eddie Nketiah.

I Hate Microsoft Bloody Minutes

Even though it’s the reserves, there will be a healthy smattering of experience. I’d expect the line-up to be something like:

Ospina; Debuchy, Holding, Mertesacker; Chambers, Elneny, Coquelin, Maitland-Niles; Walcott, Giroud, Welbeck

Good enough to win? It depends on the XI they face. West Ham’s first XI ought to beat them. It’s one thing to struggle past Doncaster and Norwich, something else entirely when it’s a Premier League club.

Do we get upset if they lose? No; it’s not an XI which is going to feature in the Premier League nor, if we’re honest, are many of them going to trouble Arsène for selection on a weekly basis. Rob Holding and Maitland-Niles will, so too I hope, Calum Chambers.

Chambers has his critics but having been thrown under the proverbial bus by Wenger previously, has performed well for England and Middlesbrough. Now he steps up to prove he can do the same at Arsenal.

Versatility was his downfall but it seems the manager is keeping him on the right. While he sees himself as a centre-back, he’s in a learning curve as is Holding. Both are finding their way back from confidence-sapping moments at Arsenal and a lot of that comes down to poor squad management.

The 4 – 3 defeat to Liverpool was a watershed moment for Chambers, Holding similarly dropped after Wenger cocked up at Anfield. Tribulations suffered by defenders is a common theme at the moment and it’s clear that the centre of the back four remains Wenger’s Achilles heel.

Thanks for Nothing Gates, You Git

Tonight is a good way to step back into the limelight. A strong run to the semi-finals – let’s be honest, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United will rip our second XI to shreds – is as good as we’d expect from this competition. Despite his protestations to the contrary, we know Arsène would prefer to win the Emirates Cup pre-season than this.

There’s not much more to add beyond hoping you find a better than ropey stream to watch it on.

A new post will surface on Dad’s Jukebox during the afternoon; a trip back to 2011 in Times of our Lives.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

66 thoughts on “West Ham Preview: Are You Experienced?

  1. Tom says:

    Last time I cared about Arsenal’s league cup result was when we lost the final to Birmingham. Nervousness was it, Arsene attributed the loss to?
    Can’t quite remember it was so long ago, but these days our mental strength is such that this sort of last minute capitulation would be highly unlikely.
    Unless of course we become complacent, tired from an overwhelming schedule, or have to much time to prepare and lose our sharpness.

  2. Orson Kaert says:

    G’day all, we’re at the point where Wenger has to decide how seriously to take this competition. While the Hammers shouldn’t be taken lightly, a balance has to be struck between experience for the youngsters and a desire to just win the bloody game.

    That said, I don’t think Ospina should play, he will leave in the summer and could even go in January, so that provides an opportunity for Macey to step up.

    Back three? Back four? I really don’t care so long as whoever is selected remember that their primary role is to DEFEND

  3. Orson Kaert says:

    Apparently Arteta is seen as the natural successor to Wenger. He has been very successful as Guardiola’s deputy but with the Catalan about to sign a new long term contract his chances of moving up to the number one job are remote.

    Next summer might be just a bit too soon, but should Wenger decide to stay to the end of his contract another season learning under Guardiola would do no harm.

  4. Ras says:

    Good afternoon.

    Has AW been playing ANM at left back with Liverpool in mind and a certain Salah? It was not so long ago that Nacho was given a torrid time against Swansea?

    Orson Arteta is held in great esteem by Pep and a number of other Managers. He has an abundance of PL experience and by all accounts is held in high esteem at the Emirates. The experience gained being at City currently is invaluable.

  5. Pete the Thirst says:

    I was lucky to be in attendance at both of those fantastic final victories you mention in the piece.

    The celebrations after the Coca Cola Cup final in 1993 went on long into the night down Blackstock Road, much wilder than the FA Cup victory the same year which was on a Thursday night I seem to remember. Maybe because it was our first cup win in 14 years? I don’t think winning the Carabao Cup would be celebrated as wildly.

  6. Pete the Thirst says:

    Ooops how could I forget 1987?

  7. HenryB says:

    I read that somewhere too, Orson, and I would be OK with that, providing Arteteteta has got his badges by then.

    The only ‘down’ side to the story was that Kroenke Jnr would prefer Thierry Henry, who gave up ‘studying’ and gaining experience of coaching at Arsenal, and went off to be a smiley cheese on TV.

    Now that is no surprise to me — a Yank at the Emirates, who has no idea what football (UK) is all about, and could not be bothered to even turn up to watch the home games, let alone the away games, says he would prefer someone with zero experience on the coaching staff at any club, would prefer Thierry to be the next Arsenal coach/manager.

    What a plonker — and says a lot about where we are at – and worse, it makes me fear for the future of the club.

  8. Orson Kaert says:


    Do you think a relatively untried Maitland- Niles would cope better at left back than Kolasinac?

  9. Orson Kaert says:


    Arteta has completed his “badges” and is waiting for the official confirmation which is due in the next few days.
    Henry can go and whistle as far as I’m concerned. I certainly wouldn’t want to see him as Arsenal manager.

  10. HenryB says:

    Of course it could be all smoke and mirrors, and the notoriously secretive Arsenal management are unlikely to have told a wandering journalist just strolling by, “Hey strolling journalist dude wandering by, would you like to know who will be the next Arsenal manager?”

    I sort of see some flaws in that story.

    Anyway, it all pre-supposes that Arteteteta wouldn’t say “Sod Off I’m staying at Citeh, because Pep might gurn so hard his face will stick in an uncontrollable position, and I, Arteteteta the First, will take over the Sky Blues, innit?”

  11. Orson Kaert says:

    Henry is currently an assistant to Roberto Martinez manager of the Belgian National Team…..and a sky pundit of the most boring kind.

  12. HenryB says:

    Orson, I did not know that — but Mikel is such a studious and organised guy (so I hear) that it comes as no surprise.

    Saying Henry can go whistle, you probably know I share your view — and while he is whistling Dixie, I think Kroenke can go join him. 😀

  13. Orson Kaert says:


    …and Wenger can join them, as the third of the Three Stooges.

  14. HenryB says:


    It’s a day for my lack of knowledge to be laid bare – I was not aware that Henry was understudy to Martinez — probably because national teams play so infrequently, and the Belgium players need no training. 🙂

    Everybody loves Thierry — except me, probably. 😀

  15. HenryB says:

    OK @ 3:36

    That’s terrible! But funny. 😀 😀

  16. andy1886 says:

    I’d prefer Arteta to take the top job and prove himself elsewhere first. Just because he’s a smart guy and works with one of the great managers doesn’t mean he’d be a success, after all City and Arsenal’s business models are entirely different. I’d be looking for someone who has upset the odds on a modest budget because that’s what the requirement will be here.

  17. Orson Kaert says:


    I think it’s clear to see that the manager’s job post Wenger will be very different. The recent back office recruitments indicate the job will be as head coach with little input on scouting, player buying and contracts.

    I think Arteta will make a very good Arsenal coach.

  18. HenryB says:

    I am not surprised you would say that Andy, and there is logic to that.

    However, (and this is not to say that you are like anyone we know) that does smack, just a little bit, of indecision. “Let’s not back our belief now and appoint the bugger – let’s hope he goes somewhere to learn more of direct management, and become the finished product – and hope he does not get snapped up by Real, or Barça, or PSG, or … heaven forfend (in French) even the Spuds or Manure or …… ”

    At the back of my mind there is an itchy memory that needs scratching — it reminds me of ….. oh, it just keeps eluding me ….. ummm 😀

  19. HenryB says:

    This is becoming embarrassing, Orson, I agree in toto with your 3:54. 🙂

    And I hope we will not be in for a shock, when the time comes.

  20. Dukey says:

    What! Arteta….who snubed us to go to shitty…no no no..Lego head can bogoff.

  21. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi

    The league cup games are the lowest leverage games on our schedule every season and I am reasonably certain that the major thrust of Arsene’s line up decisions will be based on resting the players that we will be using in busy holiday schedule. Your line up seems spot on if we go 3 at the back.


    Unless we completely and utterly implode there is no possible way Arsene leaves before he finishes this contract. Arteta would be a good option however, Pep understands that even with the worlds great manager things get stale when you stay at one place for to long (Fergie was the obvious exception). Perhaps Arteta is being groomed as the Pep replacement. However, if I was Arteta and the wage offers were in the same ball park I would much rather manage for Arsenal. The likelyhood of winning lots of trophies is obviously lower at Arsenal but the position is much more stable. At man City if you don’t meet expectations for 1 season you are gone but with Arsenal you are given a much longer leash.

  22. Bill says:

    Hope springs eternal but I agree with Orson and hopefully the next manager will have a much more limited role and he will be able to concentrate on being the field manager.

  23. Bill says:

    Everything he wants to see Nelson, Jeff, willock etc but Le Coq Elneny Giroud Walcott welbeck Debuchy need minutes and I think they higher priority since we might need to use them during the holiday period.


    I feels like Jeff has dropped down the U21 pecking order. He was rather underwhelming in his role as last seasons top prospect. May be he will surprise us but we don’t really need another unremarkabke midfielder who does not score. Reiss Nelson would have a bit more upside but he has to learn how to produce end product and that rarely happens. From what I have seen the best prospect is by far is Maitland-Niles and he had the advantage that consistent end product is not required. As a primarily defensive player he just has to play solid football of a consistent basis.

  24. C says:

    Giroud’s agent is talking, he said:

    Now, depending on the offers, we will sit around a table and talk. The most important thing is to know what will be offered or not this winter, to find a better project.

    There will be approaches. All clubs looking for an attacker are likely to come. We must be careful and, if there is something obvious that will appear, we will try to convince Arsene to return to what has been said.

  25. C says:


    I beg to differ, he wasn’t underwhelming but I know, for you if they don’t score their underwhelming. He didn’t fall down the pecking order my friend, he got injured at the end of last season and returned in August but was then injured again and is just now making a return to full fitness, hence you haven’t seen him.

    Just FYI mate, everytime a young player isn’t featuring as much when we all think they should be, its not because they have dropped down the pecking order, young players get injured too 😉

  26. Bill says:

    Front m what I have seen and read the thing that got everyone excited about Jeff was his eye catching technical skill. That stuff works and looks really great against U21 defenders. However as you move up the ladder the defensive players get better and a lot smarter and they have seen all the tricks many times. The defenses also become a lot more organized and the technical skills that work in U21 level are no longer effective. Players who depend on dazzling with technical skill end up having much lower floors and lower ceilings then we had hoped.

  27. Bill says:

    I don’t have any stats but I am reasonably confident that scoring goes down the higher up the ladder because football is a sport which favors the defense and as the defensive player get better ithe things that worked well in the U21 set up stop being effective. We see it all the time. Not even one of the attacking players who looked so dazzling in the u21 set up have ever made an impact when they move up the ladder.

  28. C says:


    Ozil, De Bruyne, Zidane, Silva, Xavi, etc.; all the best players in the world are the most technically skilled players in futbol are actually the best players and have the highest ceilings.

  29. C says:

    Official Team news:
    ——Le Coq——Elneny—–Willock

    Subs: Macey, Sheaf, DaSilva, Adelaide, Nelson, Akpom, Nketiah

  30. C says:



    Subs: Adrian, Zabaleta, Makasi, Arnautovic, Sakho, Carrol

    Those are the XI players but not sure which way they will play but that is how I think they will line-up.

  31. Damon says:



    If I were Sam I’d get Carroll on against Holding and Chambers asap

  32. Bill says:


    Ozil, De Bruyne, Zidane, Silva, Xavi, etc.; all the best players in the world are the most technically skilled players in futbol are actually the best players and have the highest ceilings.


    Are you really going to compare Jeff to that group of players? That comparison is only valid if you wear the worlds strongest pair of rose colored glasses. You know as wel as I that building theories based on what has happened to the hundreds of other players who are like Jeff and have come thru our U21 set up seems like it is much much more likely to give an accurate prediction. No?

  33. HenryB says:


    C is often correct, and you have to give him credit for many of his views, rather than simply being curmudgeonly argumentative.

    It seems that the only attribute that you recognise is whether a player scores goals. And in which case GKs, Backs, and midfielders might as well not be given a place in the team — and that is frankly ridiculous.

    The Jeff is a midfielder, and not a goalscorer – that is mainly left in the current team to the likes of Giroud, Sanchez — so by your standards he is not worth a place in the team. Sorry — but that is ridiculous.

    It would seem that if Jeff played with a wooden crutch so he could get around with a bad hamstring, and suddenly score a goal you would think he was worth a place in the team.
    Again – sorry – but that is also ridiculous.

    Just to explain. There was a project where 15 of the top managers from a number of international companies brought together and given problems to solve. They were a disaster.

    Why? Because they could not agree among themselves as the best way forward. None of them understood technology or how to work simple office machinery like computers and printers.

    They were used to their underlings providing them with ideas, and doing the donkey work like the necessary administration and so on.

    You cannot have a bunch of high flying managers with great ideas, but unable to do anything except making decisions but not knowing how to put them into action.

    No more can you just have a team of ‘goal-scorers’. The role of most of the team is to support the goal scorers by the GKs, backs, midfielders, wingers etc, who only score occasionally — but who give the dedicated scorers the chance to apply the final touch and score the important goals.

    So each time we mention someone like – The Jeff – back you go on “he does not score enough goals” — give us a break.

    Or argue with C — he will give you a run for your money! 😀

  34. Bill says:


    It looks like Willock has passed Jeff in the pecking order

  35. Ras says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Hello Orson I personally think that ANM can do a better job. He’s more of an athlete. Has great recovery speed.

    The fact that he’s not included in the team or on the bench tells me he’s playing against Liverpool.

    Dead has been out of form lately.

  36. G4E says:

    Was he saving Kolasinac for the League Cup?

  37. C says:


    I’d be interested to see how Chambers would get on against Carrol because one of the parts of his game that was really impressive when he was on loan was how well he did winning headers and releashing the physical battle.

    Personally I would have started Macey, I don’t need to see any more of Ospina and Macey is a big GK with loads and loads of potential.

  38. C says:


    I’m not comparing players, FFS that is madness, I was talking about the statement that you made about the most technically gifted players having the lowest floor and lower ceilings than we had hoped. The most technical players that find their consistency are the ones who are World Class whether they are midfielders, strikers, defenders, GK’s and whether they are 16 years old or 35.

    Anyways, I’m done on that topic, time to try and find a stream to watch the match.

  39. Noon Gunner says:


    Let us know if you find one, C. I’m not getting any luck …

  40. C says:


    Adelaide is LITERALLY just back from injury and in his first full week of training, starting Willock who has performed well to really well thus far makes sense and he has earned his spot.


  41. Bill says:


    Over the years we have discussed hundreds of players from our u21 academy and if we look back in the archives those who believed that a specific player was going to stick with Arsenal and become an important player have a very low batting average and those who were a bit more realistic about the prospects of any player have been right almost 100% of the time. If the objective of any discussion is to get the correct answer then its a pretty easy to decide which side has made better arguements.

  42. Bill says:


    I assume you wrote the post about Theo. Alexis has been poor this season but if he leaves in January we will have almost no goal scoring firepower from the wide forward position in the entire squad. Someone has to score and it does not look like Lacazette can carry us by himself. Our best option might be to start Giroud at CF and move Lacazette to wide left. To me that seems like unacceptably poor squad management and makes it a huge uphill battle to finish in the top 4.

    Theo divides opinions and he certainly has his warts as a player but at least he is a legitimate threat to score and if Alexis leaves I still think he should be one of our starting wide forwards.

  43. G4E says:

    Walcott: Thanks for the awesome ball Kolasinac, I just don’t like to score this much

  44. Arsetralian says:

    City off the mark with one of their surplus

    $43 B Silva

    Our most expensive surplus is Theo I think

    Was he $18 at the time so with inflation…

  45. Arsetralian says:


    And now we go down right flank and do the same trick

    Bill will like Danny scoring

    Two crosses. 2 chances. New strategy!

  46. Wailesy says:

    Welbeck showing off his clinical skills inside the 6 yard box. duffs the header, fluffs the follow through to score another goal off the skin pads. Classy stuff arsenal.

  47. Arsetralian says:


    I can’t see it
    In my mind it was a crisp finish
    Poor Danny – think he might have the yips

  48. andy1886 says:

    Carroll and Sakho come on for WHam – traditionally big strikers can bully us so fingers crossed it doesn’t work this time.

  49. Bill says:

    Credit to welbeck for scoring. I found the game during 1/2 time on watch ESPN. The part of the game I have seen is playing out pretty much as expected. Plenty of possession for us without making anything very interesting happen. We look solid on defense.

  50. Bill says:

    Welbeck is a decent player who does some of the little things well and he works hard. A nice player to have at the back end of a squad. Unfortunately, he has had a career long case of the yips in front of goal and he probably would not be getting regular minutes for any other big team in the world.

  51. Bill says:

    If the score holds then I think our last 3 wins will all be 1-0. That is both encouraging and concerning at the same time.

  52. Bill says:

    Kolasinac started the season well but he has not played much in the last couple league games. The fact that he is playing the full game today suggests that he is no longer considered part of the first 11 when we play with a back 4.

  53. C says:

    Giroud and Le Coq took have done their hamstrings.

  54. Bill says:

    I only saw the second 1/2 of the game but it was slow paced and we never looked very dangerous. The encouraging thing is the defense looked really solid and we were never in any danger. The final stats show only 1 shot by West Ham with none on target and they did not even have any corners.

  55. Orson Kaert says:

    Arsenal 8 shots, 1 on target, 1 goal.

    Hammers 1 shot, 0 on target.

    Must have been a great game to watch.

  56. YW says:

    Well, I saw the first half and it was 46 minutes of my life I will never get back…

  57. Orson Kaert says:


    Thankfully, the game wasn’t available on TV so I watched The Crooked House by Agatha Christie, much more entertaining apparently.

  58. C says:

    I hope that Arsene start Sead to give him 90 mins before starting him against Liverpool. I am as big an Maitland-Niles fan as there is and he has been superb but I think it might be a bit of a mistake because if he struggles our friends like Bill will give the old, “see I told you…..”.

  59. Bill says:


    I doubt Arsene would have used Kolasinac for the whole game if he planned to use him against Liverpool. Mustafi or Mert might play CB with Kos and Nacho moving to LB. Howver if that was his plan I suspect Maitland-Niles would have played today. My guess is that maitland-Niles will start at LB with Nacho and Kos at CB. So far AMN has done really well at LB but Liverpool is going to be a much bigger challenge then West Ham and Newcastle. I would be happier with Nacho at LB.

    I think we should consider giving Maitland-Niles a run at RB. He has done well going forward at LB despite being on the wrong side of the pitch and he might do even better on the right. Bellerin has never been a great defender and the last 18 months have demonstrated that Hectors upside on the attacking end is not nearly as high as we thought.

  60. G4E says:

    *** “Keep Passing and Something Will Happen”? ***

    Is it me or is our passing game becoming very very boring and most of the time with no clear purpose other than just “Keep Passing and Something Will Happen”?.

    Something really feels weird watching Arsenal play these days, it feels like those players either unhappy with the way they’re managed and acting really well to hide it or they don’t really have any sense of purpose under this Manager.


    I used to hate Chelsea and Man City for spending money and buying the success. I think of them now as just lucky for being bought by people who wanted to make those clubs great. They maybe still didn’t reach Arsenal History in League and FA cups but they’re and will chip away through that and have been since 2004.

    We used to say Abramovich will get tired with his toy and then they will be in trouble. Well, he’s been there since 2004 or 05 and he’s still investing in his club 12, 13 years later. How many trophies they won?

    Premier League Champion 2004-05
    Football League Cup Winner 2004-05
    FA Community Shield Winner 2005
    Premier League Champion 2005-06
    Football League Cup Winner 2006-07
    FA Cup Winner 2006-07
    FA Cup Winner 2008-09
    FA Community Shield Winner 2009
    Premier League Champion 2009-10
    FA Cup Winner 2009-10
    FA Cup Winner 2011-12
    UEFA Champions Lgue Winner 2011-12
    UEFA Europa League Winner 2012-13
    Football League Cup Winner 2014-15
    Premier League Champion 2014-15
    Premier League Champion 2016-17

    We won 3 FA Cups in that same time period.

    I think we have a right to be upset with this huge decline for a club with our history to be playing musical Chair on the Premier League table with Burnley.
    There were days when we played Musical Chairs for the table top position.

    The previous owners of this club made a huge mistake by selling the club to an investor who’s business is to make money in Sports with no Soul. Chelsea sold to a Billionaire who loves football.

    We need a MIRACLE…….

  61. Wailesy says:


    Please G4E, that does not make for pleasurable reading. Leave me be, happy in la la land

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