In a battle of the early-season basement-dwellers, Arsenal and West Ham both go into this match without a point to show for their troubles. Opening your season against Manchester City and Chelsea was never going to be easy – in truth Arsenal were a little unlucky to lose against Chelsea – and new boss Unai Emery knows he can start the season properly here.
West Ham on the other hand, look pretty awful. Despite Manuel Pellegrini’s appointment and the arrival of some big-money signings, West Ham’s first two games – which ended in defeat against Liverpool and Bournemouth – were so…West Ham-y. Their home defeat to Bournemouth was particularly worrying, even at this early stage of the season, which shows the magnitude of the job Pellegrini faces to make the Hammers competitive again.
Both sides look like they can’t defend – particularly West Ham who look ridiculously fragile – though Arsenal have more about them going forward. If not for the hatful of missed chances against Chelsea, they may well have won that game, and I think their attacking style will hurt West Ham.
With this in mind, I see Arsenal winning this, but with both teams finding the net in the process.
He scored against Chelsea (and missed an absolute sitter), and it’s looking like Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be a key man for Unai Emery this season. The Armenian will be part of a very attack focused team, linking up with Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to form a pretty formidable attacking trio.
He will have seen the ease at which Callum Wilson waltzed through West Ham’s back line, and will fancy a piece of the action for himself. I’m tipping Mkhitaryan to score at any time for the Gunners.
Arsenal and West Ham’s four combined matches have yielded 14 goals so far, so I’m expecting this to continue at The Emirates on Saturday. Both managers like their teams to attack, which invariably leaves holes in defence.
The Hammers still have firepower of their own; Marko Arnautovic being their chief goal threat, so this should be quite an entertaining spectacle.
I’m backing over 3.5 goals to be scored in this match. It’s a slightly tall order, but when West Ham are in town, anything is possible.