Opposition Q & A
On the back of an unlucky loss at Anfield, and then last weekend our first win since New Year’s day, West Ham travel the short distance to just off the Holloway Road to face an Arsenal team who are slightly resurgent, having appointed a new manager at a similar time to us. Ahead of the game I once again spoke to lifelong Arsenal fan Andy Cross from prison charity St Giles Trust to ask him his thoughts on the recent events at The Emirates and the season.
Hi Andy, the last time we spoke Arsenal had just given Unai Emery the big heave-ho, and were yet to appoint a manager. The board have done what they might have done 18 months ago, and what you were open to, and appointed Mikel Arteta – how are you liking what you see so far?
Liking it a lot. It’s not so much the results but the fact they look like a team again, who actually know how to play football! I like his honesty and his belief in the right attitude and behaviour on and off the pitch. It suggests a level of player interaction Emery clearly never had.
What will you consider a success or a failure, or have you already written this season off?
Well we are still in the FA Cup so a trophy is still in our grasp. And Top 4 can’t be dismissed given our form in the league since Arteta took over and everyone else showing zero consistency. Failure actually would be another Europa league campaign. Not sure how much benefit there is although I’m sure West Ham fans would disagree at the moment!
Where will Arsenal be looking to strengthen next season?
Defence. Another CB, Right back cover for Tierney, a decent creative midfielder. Up top it looks rosy unless we have to sell Auba or Lacazette.
You’ve enjoyed an unbeaten run in the League of late, but that European lost last week must have been a hammer blow. Arsenal currently sit in tenth position, where do imagine you will sit at the end of the season? Will you top your Northern rivals in Tottenham? Will you mange to get into the European slots?
If we carry on with our league form there is no reason why we won’t finish in a European qualifying place but I won’t be upset if we dont. Finishing above Spurs would be a bonus but hey let’s face it they are not setting the world alight either!
While we’re in the prediction mode assuming Liverpool win the League, and Man City come second, who will end up in the next three places, as one of these will quite likely take Man City’s slot into the Champions League?
I think Leicester have done just enough to avoid being caught by the chasing pack and I think Chelsea have just enough to hang on and pip the Gunners ????
West Ham followed your lead and sacked Manuel Pelligrini, what do you think of his replacement David Moyes’s appointment as our manager?
I can see why fans are unhappy but he is solid. He knows what hes doing and he is not Alan Pardew! It’s the owners who need to be questioned especially how they spend money on average players.
Will David Moyes keep West Ham up? It’s very tight at the bottom who are your picks for the drop this season?
Although West Ham are doing their best to screw up their season I still think it will be Norwich, Watford, and Bournemouth. But it will be close between all the bottom teams.
How will you line up against us this weekend? Prediction for team/formation?
Bellerin Mustafi Luiz Saka
Xhaka Ceballos Ozil
Nelson Nketiah Auba: Tried and tested!
West Ham showed some nice touches against you last time out, before being ultimately steamrollered. Are you going to do the double against us this season? Prediction for score?
Hmm. I think it will be close but I am going to be optimistic: 2 – 1 to the Arsenal.
Once again, many thanks to Andy for his time and thoughts. I am going to revert to type, and pick us to get a sneaky away win: 0 – 1 to the Cockney boys. I shall be be keeping up with the game from my hospital bed, having just had a knee replacement operation (Thursday), so a win will definitely help to ease the pain COYI