As I said earlier, the pressure is on Arsenal to get three points today against West Ham, and we are hoping that Emery now knows the best team to use to get the best out of his new tactics. We will be waiting for the confirmed teams with bated breath to see his line-up.
It looks like he will not be able to use Mesut Ozil, who was reported to have missed training yesterday due to ‘illness’, which does seem to happen with alarming regularity. We would expect Aaron Ramsey to take his place as Number Ten, but Emery left the Welshman on the bench last night and told reporters that he told Ramsey to concentrate on his training more. He said: ‘I spoke with him last week. I said, ‘I want you focused only on training and only on the match, you show us the capacity to help the team’. ‘The contract is another thing for his agent and the club, but we want – and I need – his focus only on training, on the match and his performance each day.
‘I want the player to be focused only on Saturday. So that our players give our supporters quality and energy.’
That seems to imply that Emery thinks Ramsey is distracted and not giving his all for the team, but most people would still expect him to start today with Ozil on the missing list, but I think that Xhaka will be preferred.
We are also hoping that Lucas Torreira can make his first start after two appearances from the bench, and I am pretty sure that the youngster Matteo Guendouzi is quickly cementing his his position, with the stats saying he has made more tackles and interceptions than anyone else this season. Emery admitted his admiration for the 19 year-old. “It is a very big, positive surprise with him,” he said. “He is improving. He is playing and working every day. He is hungry – he wants to improve, he wants to learn every day, every match. He is doing it his way, with character and quality. We are very happy with him but every match is a chance to show this progress with consistency.”
I’m pretty sure Guendouzi will be the first name on the teamsheet for the forseeable future, and he fully deserves it at the moment. With Sead Kolasinac and Maitland-Niles both out long-term we can look forward to Monreal back in his usual position. We are in need of his consistency alongside Sokratis and Mustafi, who are still thought to be a little suspect, and it looks like Mavropanos and Holding will be our Europa League pairing. Bellerin should keep his place on the right…
All of us are still dying to see Aubabameyang and Lacazette play together but the Frenchman is set to be consigned to the bench at the moment after Emery’s statement this week. And surely Mkhitaryan will also keep his place.
So here is my team prediction……
Bellerin – Mustafi – Sokratis – Monreal
Guendouzi – Torreira – Xhaka
Iwobi – Aubameyang – Mkhitaryan
If the Gunners play with the desire they showed against Chelsea, with a few more improvements as well, I believe Arsenal will get the required three points, but with the usual defensive worries! I’m going for 3-1 to Arsenal.
What do you think?