Premier League 2018/19: Arsenal v West Ham has all the makings of a classic
Arsenal will welcome West Ham to the Emirates Stadium in one of the afternoon fixtures of the English Premier League on Saturday at 15:00 GMT. There are a number of reasons why this fixture is a must watch.
#1 A London Derby
This promises to be a match full of drama and intrigue since both are located within the same geographical region. As it is with London derbies, it is a game that has goals written all over it. According to stats from Opta, Arsenal have lost only one of their last 22 matches against West Ham in all competitions (W17 D4), losing 2-0 on the opening day of the 2015-16 season while West Ham United have won five away Premier League matches at Arsenal (three at Highbury, two at the Emirates) – only Liverpool (7) and Man United (8) have won more.
#2 Players wanting to prove a point
This fixture will see three former players facing their old clubs. Although the three may not make the starting lineup, it is more than likely that at least two of them will. Jack Wilshere left Arsenal in the summer after speaking to new manager Unai Emery who could not give him assurances over a starting berth in the first team.
He will be looking to prove a point that they were wrong to let him go. "First of all, I’ve got to concentrate on football and I quite fancy our chances. I obviously know them really well,” Wilshere told West Ham’s official matchday programme. “They’ve got a new manager, but I know the players, so hopefully it’ll be a good time to play them. It’ll be a strange one for me as I was never able to go there and play when I went out on loan as you can play against your parent club, but it’s one I’m looking forward to. It’s down to me to prove a point to Arsenal that they were wrong to get rid of me.”
Another player is Lukasz Fabianski who shone on most occasions he played against the Gunners, especially at the Emirates while he was at Swansea City. Then there is Lucas Perez who was not really given a chance to prove himself at the Emirates before he was sold in the summer.
#3 Both teams wanting to get their season back on track
It is no longer news that Arsenal and West Ham lost their opening games of the season and have not recorded a single point thus far. So they will be looking to change that, going into this fixture. Unai Emery's objective when he took over the reins at the Emirates Stadium was clear - qualification for the Champions League. For Manuel Pellegrini, their aim will be to remain in the Premier League and finish as high as possible to avoid the late-season drama of a relegation dogfight.
Both managers know that losing this game will pile more pressure on them as the international break looms. They need to get their season up and running and it has to start now.