Arsene Wenger could ring changes amongst the Arsenal ranks when West Ham visit The Grove on Saturday after their appauling display at Anfield a week ago.
It will certainly go down as one of the worst performances under Wenger, as Peter Crouch made Arsenal’s first-choice back four look like they should be playing for (I hate to say it), Tottenham.
Despite West Ham’s terrible league position, it’s sure to be a tough game for teh Gunners. This is one of the few occasions I can understand why a team is going to come to The Grove and stick 10 men behind the ball and hope for the best.
Arsene Wenger spoke spoke of the effect the defeat to PSV had on his team, and stated what he expects of his team at his pre-match confrence on Thursday: “After the Champions League exit, subconsciously somewhere [a complacency] came into our mind a bit,” he said. “But it is not like that, our season is not over.
“We have to take this disappointment as a challenge to grow. How we respond to this will determine how we do in the future.
“When you start a career as a young player it is difficult to understand that you do not go to a Champions League Final every year. They know and understand that now.
“They can see the teams who are behind us and that there is a difference between finishing third or fourth. We have eight games to go and one match in hand.
“It all now depends on how we respond. But on Saturday we have the advantage that we play at the Emirates. That is where we feel strong.”
West Ham defender Anton Ferdinand has an optimistic view ahead of what is a massive match for both sides: ‘It’s going to be a very tough game for us but we always play well against the big sides.
‘I’ve been there to watch my brother Rio and it’s an unbelievable stadium. I’m really looking forward to it.
‘They have players that play in big games, so it’s going to be a very hard game. But hopefully we’ll be the first team to beat them there.’
Arsenal Team News:
Arsenal are boosted by the return of vice-captain Gilberto Silva (hip) and striker Aliadiere (foot).
Manu Eboue has recovered from a groin probelm, allowing Arsene Wenger to play his first choice back 4 for only the 4th time this season!
Player to watch: Gilberto Silva
The Brazilian’s importance to Arsenal was once again highlighted at Anfiled last week when Liverpool joined an exclusive club of teams who have out played Arsenal this season.
He will likely be tasked with keeping Carlos Tevez quiet when the Argentine drops deep to make things happen.
West Ham Team News:
Midfielder Nigel Quashie and defender Calum Davenport (foot) are both major doubts.
Defender Matty Upson is definitely out with a calf injury but Yossi Benayoun could return.
Player to watch: Carlos Tevez
The Argie has found some form at last. he hasn’t been bad this season but in recent weeks he has shown just how good he really is.
He’ll pose a big threat to Arsenal. If the defense plays like it did last week then we’ll be looking at our first defeat at The Grove.
The ever-competant Graham Poll will take charge on this one. since his dismal display at the world cup he has issued 87 yellows and 4 red cards.
I’m going for another bore draw. West Ham are fighting for their lives and will come to The Grove and defend.
1-1 draw. Tevez for West Ham, Adebayor for Arsenal.
Vital Arsenal youngster ‘Super Gooner’ has his say on Saturday’s game: ‘I think we’ll be in for a toughie, with West Ham’s recent form against ours I’m going to go for a 2-1 away win, Tevez getting a couple and Ade for the Gunners. I hope Wenger tries a 4-5-1, but he won’t. I think he will stick Baptista up top with Ade again, and have Rosicky, Gilberto, Cesc and Diaby in midfield.’