Arsenal are set for our first home game of the season tonight against West Ham at the Emirates, and with the Gunners convincing 3-0 win over Fulham last week, many pundits are predicting another easy three points for us.
But local derbys are never easy, and the Hammers are not going to just lie down and surrender, despite their awful opening day defeat to Newcastle United. The boss Mikel Arteta is certainly not expecting an easy game, and he told Arsenal.com: “Always a threat, we have a good example of the game we played against them last March. It was really difficult, we managed to win the game but we had a lot of problems, so we better be ready because after a defeat teams are always more dangerous.”
He continued: “Well, they have many strengths and some weaknesses, like we all have. I know David, the manager, really well and I know what he will be trying to do tomorrow to hurt us as well. It will be a tough game and I am expecting a difficult battle tomorrow.”
That last game against West Ham was our last one before the lockdown was brought in, so a lot has happenedsince then, but Arteta has certainly not forgotten. “Well, it was ages ago. But obviously when I started to look back at the game and what we did, I think we were lucky that day to win the game. They created a lot of issues, we did not control certain important aspects of West Ham’s threats and we have to be better tomorrow.”
I like to think that Arteta has got Arsenal’s mentality in a much better place than we were before lockdown, and the fact that we have only lost once to the Hammers in our last ten meetings will stand us in good stead. Yes it should be a good battle, but it is one that I am fully expecting to win…