Dan Coker's Match Preview

Blast from the past

27th September 1924 – Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald led a minority Labour government and, the following day, US Army pilots John Harding and Erik Nelson completed the first aerial circumnavigation, which took them 175 days and 74 stops before their return to Seattle.

Meanwhile, 35,000 at the Boleyn Ground saw the Hammers defeat Arsenal 1-0 courtesy of a goal from a former Gunner, 27-year-old inside-right Stan Earle. Born in Stratford on the 6th September 1897, Earle played for England Schoolboys before signing as an amateur with Clapton. He played there with future Hammers team-mate Viv Gibbins but also turned out for Arsenal, still as an amateur, between 1922 and 1924. He played four games for Arsenal in two years, scoring three goals. Despite such limited playing time with his club, Earle had made his international debut for England against France on 17th May 1924. He continued to play for Clapton, winning the 1924 FA Amateur Cup.

Three months after his England debut, and the month before this featured match, Earle (pictured) signed for West Ham United and scored six goals in 18 games in his first season – this was his second goal for the Irons, and his first at Upton Park. He played in 37 of the 42 league games the following season, 1925/26, as the Hammers developed a fine forward line of Earle, Vic Watson and Jimmy Ruffell, the trio notching 41 goals between them that season. Earle impressed sufficiently to earn his second England cap on 22nd October 1927, against Northern Ireland. After eight seasons at the Boleyn Ground, Earle departed at the end of the 1931/32 campaign having scored 58 goals in 273 appearances in all competitions. He ended his career back at Clapton before coaching amateur club Walthamstow Avenue and managing Leyton FC. Earle died in Colchester on the 26th September 1971 at the age of 74.

Syd King’s Hammers finished in 13th place in the 1924/25 Division One season while Leslie Knighton’s Gunners ended up 20th, seven points and one place clear of relegation. Vic Watson would be top scorer with 23 goals in 47 appearances. Huddersfield won the league title and Sheffield United won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Tommy Hampson, Billy Henderson, George Horler, George Carter, George Kay, Albert Cadwell, Tommy Yews, Stan Earle, Vic Watson, Billy Moore, Jimmy Ruffell.

Arsenal: Jock Robson, Alf Baker, Andy Kennedy, Bob John, Jack Butler, Billy Milne, John Clark, James Ramsay, Harry Woods, Andy Neil, Billy Blyth.

Club Connections

A large group of players have turned out for West Ham United and Arsenal. Lukasz Fabianski and Jack Wilshere welcome their former club. Other players to have represented both clubs include:

Goalkeepers: Charles Ambler, Richard Wright, Manuel Almunia, Jim Standen.

Defenders: James Jackson, Matthew Upson, Nigel Winterburn, Carl Jenkinson, Steve Walford, Bob Stevenson.

Midfielders: Samir Nasri, Stewart Robson, Liam Brady, Yossi Benayoun, Archie Macauley, David Bentley, James Bigden, Roddy McEachrane, Alex Song, Henri Lansbury, Luis Boa Morte, Fred Kemp.

Strikers: Harry Lewis, Bobby Gould, Jeremie Aliadiere, Dick Burgess, John Blackwood, Fergie Hunt, Dr Jimmy Marshall, Kaba Diawara, Jimmy Bloomfield, Charlie Satterthwaite, Marouane Chamakh, Billy Linward, Lee Chapman, Tommy Lee, Ian Wright, Peter Kyle, John Hartson, Lucas Perez, Stan Earle, John Radford, Davor Suker.

Ron Greenwood was also assistant manager at Arsenal before becoming manager of West Ham.

Today’s focus though falls on the man who will be in the opposition dugout this evening. Freddie Ljungberg was born on 16th April 1977 in Vittsjo, Sweden. The Ljungbergs moved to Halmstad when Freddie was five; he would later attend Sannarpsgymnasiet, the same school fellow former Hammer Niclas Alexandersson attended. Ljungberg began his career with local club Halmstads in 1994 at the age of 17, winning the Swedish Cup in 1995 and the Swedish league title in 1997.

The 21-year-old Ljungberg moved to Arsenal in 1998 for £3m – he scored on his debut for the club, a 3-0 win over Manchester United at Highbury on 20th September 1998. Ljungberg’s best season in north London was arguably the Double-winning campaign of 2001/02 when he scored 17 goals in 39 matches – his six goals in five games in April 2002 (including one in a 2-0 win over West Ham at Highbury, pictured below) helped maintain Arsenal’s winning league run which stretched from February until the end of the season.

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Ljungberg scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 final-day win at Sunderland in May 2003 and won the 2003 FA Cup a week later. He was a key member of the Invincibles side which won the Premier League in 2004, contributing ten goals in 43 matches in 2003/04 as the Gunners won the title without losing a single league match. He bettered that tally in 2004/05, scoring 14 goals in 38 games and again ended the season with silverware, winning the FA Cup for a third time. He reached the Champions League Final with Arsenal in 2006, although they would be defeated by Barcelona. His final season with Arsenal was the first campaign at the Emirates – his last goal for the club was his only strike in the 2006/07 campaign and came in a 3-1 FA Cup fourth round replay win at Bolton on Valentine’s Day 2007. His last game for Arsenal was a 2-2 North London derby draw with Tottenham at White Hart Lane on 21st April 2007. Ljungberg had scored 72 goals in 325 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners before moving across London to West Ham United.

Alan Curbishley signed the 30-year-old Ljungberg on a four-year deal for a fee approaching £3m, although then-chairman Eggert Magnusson negotiated the fee and Ljungberg’s contract. Ljungberg made 28 appearances for the Hammers, making his debut as captain in a 2-0 home defeat to Manchester City on 11th August 2007. He scored his first goal for the club on 9th February 2008 in a 1-1 home draw with Birmingham, with his second and final goal for the Hammers coming in a 2-1 defeat at Sunderland on 29th March 2008. His final game was a 2-2 home draw with Newcastle on 26th April 2008, a game which saw him break his ribs when Magpies defender Steven Taylor landed on him accidentally.

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Ljungberg won 75 caps for Sweden, scoring 14 goals. He was a member of the Swedish squad at Euro 2004 and Euro 2008, as well as at two World Cups in 2002 and 2006. After Euro 2008, Ljungberg agreed to terminate his West Ham contract just a year into his four-year deal for a sum of £6m. Ljungberg stated, "I gave my all at West Ham and enjoyed my time there but the decision is the best for the both of us. Now, I will take my time to consider my football future”. His two goals for the Irons can be seen in my video below.

Ljungberg signed for Seattle Sounders in 2009 and joined Chicago Fire a year later. He signed for Celtic in 2011 before moving to Japan later that year to join Shimizu S-Pulse. He announced his retirement from football in August 2012 but announced a comeback in July 2014, signing for Mumbai City to promote the launch of the Indian Super League. He played just four matches before moving back to London where he became coach of Arsenal’s Under-15s in July 2016. He was named assistant manager of Wolfsburg’s first team in February 2017 but left the club six months later. Now 42, Ljungberg is back at Arsenal as the club’s caretaker manager. He had been the club’s Under-23 coach since June 2018 before being promoted to the first-team set-up earlier this year.

Referee

Monday’s referee will be Mike Dean; 2019/20 is Dean’s 20th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Dean has refereed 25 of our league matches, officiating in ten wins for the Hammers, eight draws and seven defeats.

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Dean refereed our final match at the Boleyn when we famously triumphed 3-2 over Manchester United. His decision to send off Sofiane Feghouli just 15 minutes into our 2-0 defeat to the Red Devils in January 2017 was later rescinded. Dean’s two Hammers appointments this season were the 5-0 opening day home defeat to Manchester City and, most recently, our 0-0 draw at Aston Villa in September when he sent off Arthur Masuaku.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United will be without the injured Lukasz Fabianski and Manuel Lanzini but Winston Reid and Jack Wilshere are back in full training and Michail Antonio could return. Robert Snodgrass hobbled out of the 2-0 defeat at Wolves five days ago. Ryan Fredericks is one yellow card away from a one-match suspension. West Ham have only beaten Arsenal twice in 17 home matches in all competitions since 1999. No side has beaten West Ham more in the Premier League than Arsenal, who have done so on 29 occasions. West Ham are one defeat short of becoming the first club to lose 100 Premier League London derbies.

Arsenal will be without Dani Ceballos, while Rob Holding is a doubt. Arsenal have equalled their lowest points tally (19 points) after 15 matches of a Premier League season (first set in 1994/95). The Gunners travel to Standard Liege on Thursday for their final Europa League group match.

Possible West Ham United XI: Martin; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Fornals, Rice, Noble, Anderson; Antonio, Haller.

Possible Arsenal XI: Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis, David Luiz, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Torreira; Aubameyang, Willock, Ozil; Lacazette.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!