West Ham: Hammer Time

I don’t know about you but there’s nothing better than matchday for taking your mind off the week’s trials and tribulations.

And then you find out we’re wearing that mint green monstrosity. Still, it can’t get worse, can it? Sorry, Mustafi’s fit, you say…

I jest. About the Mustafi bit, anyway. To be honest, any fit central defender is our best option. I suspect, on that subject, Mavropanos is still a couple of weeks from first-team football and will be on the bench to begin with if standard operating procedure is followed.

The pair and the other four whose return to training was trumpeted this week, are like new signings. Cynicism surfacing so young in the post; barely one hundred words in…

It’s a big match, a warm-up for more testing times in coming weeks. That isn’t lost on Unai Emery. West Ham will get our respect, he declared, after stating:

I know that Saturday will be a difficult match because we need to impose our ideas but also for 90 minutes, we need to control their players and their tactical ideas.

Back-to-back wins over Fulham and Blackpool might not sound much after the drubbing at Liverpool, but psychologically, they quickly repaired some of the damage wrought by three defeats – and that third one in particular – in five games.

Three points today draws us into the top four reckoning, into fourth if we hammer the Hammers by seven goals or more…

The most important returning players are Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal. Emery spoke about wing-backs being central to his philosophy.

[Wing-backs] can go outside, keeping wide and going deep for the last attacking moment. But also it’s very important for every team, and for us as well, for them to defensively and tactically have quality.

I Spy With My Little Eye

Monreal may not return as a wing-back, of course. If Mustafi isn’t ready, I’d trust the Spaniard more than Lichtsteiner in the centre of defence for this fixture.

Bellerin’s return brings balance to both defence and attack, as the younger of the Spanish pair, is returning to the sort of form which brought him praise in the first place.

At the other end of the pitch, the biggest decision of all must be made. Lacazette and Aubameyang or just the latter? The waters are muddied by Mesut Ozil’s return. I am far from convinced the German will start but with Lacazette and Aubameyang? At home, maybe but in a derby where players will have to stand up and be counted? Not a chance, surely?

However, Emery is a man of surprises and this certainly would be one. Iwobi is not everyone’s cup of tea but provides a promising pairing on the right with Bellerin, Aubameyang filling the left-hand attacking role.

Assuming, of course, Guendouzi doesn’t play with a flat-back four. I don’t think that scenario happens; Emery speaking about wing-backs and then not using them is a level above the Bielsa spying technique. I wonder if the Met will be investigating the unexpected surge in stepladder sales every time we play Watford?

All of which paranoid meanderings bring us to an XI of sorts:

Leno; Mustafi (Monreal), Sokratis, Koscielny; Bellerin, Torreira, Xhaka, Monreal (Kolasinac); Iwobi, Lacazette, Aubameyang

With kick-off close, we’ll call it a day. It’s a team good enough to win, to add their name to the list of good performances at West Ham.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

114 thoughts on “West Ham: Hammer Time

  1. Bill says:


    Fair enough. I agree that it would have made more sense to have another attacking player on the bench and we have to suspect that Emery is trying to make a statement. However I refuse to believe that he would leave a player off the roster that he really believed could potentially be the difference between getting a result and losing. If hemorrhage is that bull headed then he is the wrong manager. The one time ozil camea off the bench as an impact sub aha inst Southampton it was completely uninspired.

  2. Bill says:

    Sorry for the autocorrect gone crazy. Somehow it turned emery into hemorrhage.

  3. MikeSA says:


    “The best conclusion is Emery believes having Ozil in the squad does not improve our chances of winning.”

    That might or might not be what he actually thinks.

    However, the team needed creativity today and he, for whatever reason, purposefully made sure he had none available, even on the bench.

    That is questionable thinking at the very least.

  4. MikeSA says:

    And yes, poor decision making is starting to raise questions as to whether he is the right manager or not.

  5. MikeSA says:


    “The one time ozil camea off the bench as an impact sub aha inst Southampton it was completely uninspired.”

    So a single sample of data is sufficient reason to completely write off a player who has the best creative stats in EPL history and one of the top creators in world football?

    If that is the case how come the tea lady wasn’t the sole Arsenal player on the pitch yesterday, because that’s the logical conclusion.

    Emery is starting to look like a complete dingbat at this point quite frankly.

  6. Saa says:

    Gotta love Jack taking a piss out wanker redknapp on MOTD :
    “Before me but as well we won two FA Cups, three FA Cups and Jamie talks about Tottenham being so good and not spending but Tottenham haven’t won anything either.”
    Always a gooner deep down…

  7. Ras says:


    I agree LSG that it’s to much of a responsibility for Guendozi. He’s a takent and nothing more than that at the moment. A 19 yr old who was playing in Ligue 1 last year.

    I’ve had my doubts about Emery and his ideas, method. I am still to see a definitive style that I recognise.

    Is Emery trying to say something to the Board by leaving out Ozil?

    I don’t see how Impasse of ownership is going to play out. This Self Efficient model is not going to help facilitate success on the pitch unless Stan dips into his pocket . Is he going to ? Who knows .

    I heard that Jenkinson is on a bigger wage than Torreira. That tells Me all I need to know about Wenger and his idea of meritocracy and why Arsenal now face the issues We do

  8. andy1886 says:


    Is he going to ? Who knows .

    I’d say the evidence is very much that he isn’t going to spend a dime of his own money. Stan has looked at the ROI and decided that he’s going to squeeze every last ounce of sweat out of what he has and that the risk of investing in the playing squad far outweighs the likelihood of significant financial rewards.

  9. Ras says:


    Yes Andy this is the burning question.

    We have absolutely no idea.

    What is clear is that this financial model is not going to facilitate any form of Gange in terms of players etc unless there is a cash injection of sorts.

    To SK out some billionaire s going to have to fork out a shed load of money and more to arrest this shituation( no miss spelling).

    I don’t know anybody who knows the workings of The Managers mind.

    We don’t have anything near like for like replacements in certain positions. The quality and competition for places is not strong enough.

    Jenks , Lich, El Nenny have got to be replaced. A Midfield of Xhaka , Guendozi and Torreira is not going to compete to win the PL.

    There are not enough players whom can score 7-10 goals a season to help Laca and Oba.

    I see mediocrity and fluctuations over the next few seasons whilst other Teams draw away on and off the field from Arsenal

  10. Bill says:


    This is all our speculation but and it’s possible Ozil has flat out told Emery he does not want to come off the bench and despite his prodigious talent he certainly has not done enough in the last 1 1/2 seasons to be considered critical part of in the regular starting 11.

    Last season, Neymar scored 19 goals and had 13 assists in 20 league games and even though he might have been a pain in the butt Emery dealt with the situation differently because clearly Neymar was helping the team to win. I have to believe that emery would deal with this situation differently if Ozil was producing. From Emery’s standpoint why would you pander to a prodigious ego when that player has not been anywhere close to a consistent positive influence on the pitch?

  11. C says:


    You can’t compare the situations because at PSG the players run that club because they are completely backed by the ownership. Neymar ran PSG, here is a comment Emery made once he left PSG about his time their:

    “I know when I am the principal person in the group and when I am not. At PSG, the leader is Neymar. At Manchester City, it’s Pep Guardiola.

    “My priority was to make Neymar happy, it didn’t matter how. Neymar arrived at PSG in order to be the leader, to live the necessary process to become number one in the world. At Man City, Pep is the leader. At PSG, Neymar needs to be the leader.

    “I had a lot of discussions with Neymar about this. Sometimes the talks did not work, other times they were very successful.”

    “During one of them, we spoke for 45 minutes heart-to-heart. It was a magnificent moment. He listened to me and I convinced him of certain things but it is a process, one that will make him the best.”

  12. hurdacı says:

    “The one time ozil camea off the bench as an impact sub aha inst Southampton it was completely uninspired.”

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