The first two weeks of the 2018 English Premier League season have flown by quickly and we already have several storylines emerging across the league. One of the biggest surprises is the form and performances of Arsenal.
Arsenal are traditionally a member of the Big 6 of English Premier League clubs and is expected to contend for the title each season. This season seems different, as they have lost a long-time manager Arsene Wenger and a new era under Unai Emery has begun.
So far, the results have been less than encouraging. Arsenal have lost both of their opening games, a 0-2 home loss to Manchester City and a 3-2 away loss to Chelsea. Despite the brutal schedule to open the season, Arsenal have still displayed underwhelming performances and seem far from competitive with the main title competitors in the EPL.
West Ham United find themselves in a similar situation. The London side has spent last two off-seasons acquiring players and spending record club transfer fees in the quest to join the upper-echelon of clubs in EPL and fight for the Europea Qualification place.
The Hammer’s start hasn’t been impressive either. They were destroyed 4-0 at Liverpool in the season opener and at home they were quite underwhelming as Bournemouth took all points with a 1-2 win. Such performances are not going to cut it, if the team is going to achieve its lofty goals.
The two clubs will meet at the Emirates Stadium on Matchday 3 in a London derby which usually delivers a lot of sparks. Both sides are on negative streaks and will do everything in their power to break out from that funk and get back to winning ways.
I have prepared a short breakdown of the match and some betting predictions, so feel free to read on.
Arsenal vs West Ham United Odds:
- Arsenal 1.36
- West Ham United 7.50
- Draw 5.50
- Over 2.5 Goals 1.40
- Under 2.5 Goals 2.70
Arsenal vs West Ham Pick:
Both teams are having nightmare starts to their EPL seasons and are yet to win any points, as they have both lost their two opening games. That would be OK, if the teams didn’t have high ambitions this year and the expectations are that they should both perform much better.
Arsenal are undergoing a rebuilding of the club. Long-time manager Arsene Wenger has left the club in the offseason and has been replaced by Unai Emery. This is supposed to be a transition year for Arsenal, as they try to rebuild the roster that is capable of making a run at the title, something that Arsenal haven’t won since the 2004/05 season in the English Premier League.
West Ham are trying to join the company of Big 6 clubs in the English Premier League and start fighting for the trophies in the near future. The board has invested a lot of funds and resources in this year’s squad, hoping that a top 7 finish and a European Qualification spot were up for the taking. Of course, this is easier said than done, as this year’s EPL will be one of the most competitive ones in the recent history.
Arsenal’s nightmare start is the big story though. The Gunners failed to hold onto the ball versus Manchester City and couldn’t successfully build play from the back in their season opener. This lead to 0-2 defeat at home to Manchester City, followed by a 3-2 defeat away at Chelsea, where their defensive effort was abysmal and they ended up allowing 3 goals.
To make matters worse, the Gunners will be missing Carl Jenkinson, Sead Kolasinac, Laurent Koscielny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles who are all still recovering from their injuries. With their whole backline in the air, Arsenal will find it difficult to stop West Ham attack and keep a clean sheet at home.
West Ham will also be shorthanded, since Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini and Winston Reid are all expected to miss this game, as they are nursing the injuries on their own. Still, the Hammers should be more or less complete, as none of those players is crucial to West Ham United’s success. The state of their defense should be the biggest worry, as they cannot stop the teams from scoring.
Arsenal have gotten the better end of the rivalry in the recent history. In the last 10 matches played between Arsenal and West Ham United, the Gunners have won 7, the Hammers have won 1 and 2 draws were recorded. The last time that the Hammers were able to beat Arsenal was on the opening day of 2015/16 English Premier League season, when West Ham United secured a 0-2 away victory versus Arsenal.
Arsenal still seem in transition and struggling to forge the identity under the new manager. Lack of consistency from their forwards and the injury bug that has hit their back line, make them quite vulnerable in this matchup but they are still considered the favorites, despite losing their two opening games.
West ham seems quite undisciplined and that defense has, so far, looked atrocious, allowing 6 goals in the first 2 opening games. If we add to that the fact that the Hammers have managed to score only 2 goals in the last 5 matches they have played against Arsenal, we can see why they are considered the outsiders in this one.
I find it hard to look past Arsenal in this match. Their midfield and attack have the quality to cause all kind of problems to the vulnerable defense of the Hammers. It will be very difficult for West Ham United to keep here, so Arsenal should record a comfortable home win and the end of the losing streak for the Gunners.