West Ham will be worried going up against in-form Arsenal
Arsenal to win 2-0
Arsenal fans will understandably be optimistic about their chances against West Ham this weekend judging by their respective matches in gameweek 1.
Arsenal thoroughly thrashed an undercooked Fulham side who will struggle to stay in the league. In contrast, West Ham looked weak themselves at home to Newcastle and were on the receiving end of a 2-0 beating.
Several experts predicted that manager David Moyes could be the first manager sacked this season – a little early to predict, but he will need to see improvements quickly.
For The Gunners’ Mikel Arteta, he will want more of the same, with star players like Aubameyang and Lacazette continuing their good form in the early parts of the season.
Unless West Ham improve quickly from last weekend, it could be a comfortable afternoon at The Emirates stadium for Arsenal.
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 6th
Reasons to be cheerful:
Seem to be going from strength to strength as a club
Aubameyang has signed a new contract this week
Reasons to be fearful:
Need to prove consistency over lower teams
Still a way to go before challenging the top two
Even though Fulham are one of the favourites for relegation, such was the quality of Arsenal’s play that it would have given their fans plenty of optimism for the season ahead.
Last season under Arteta, it wasn’t necessarily the results against the big teams which let them down – they were victorious against Liverpool, Man City, Man United and Wolves. It was their defeats against the smaller teams which showed the lack of consistency needed.
Now that they have tied their key player Aubameyang down to a new deal, they can think about how to improve in the long-term.
On paper, there is little to fear from West Ham, a club who have only beaten Arsenal twice in 13 years. If Arsenal are to have their sights on the top four, they have to go into these sorts of games with a superior mentality befitting their quality on the pitch.
They may be tested a little more than against Fulham, but they should have too much for The Hammers this weekend.
Star Man – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Now that he has signed a new contract worth over £250,000 a week, he’ll be looking to continue his form goalscoring form
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 16th
Reasons to be cheerful
Manager David Moyes has great deal of Premier League experience
Have kept hold of key players (so far)
Reasons to be fearful
Looked out of form against Newcastle in the opening fixture
Poor history against Arsenal
One positive for David Moyes is that his team picked up a win in the Carabao Cup midweek, winning 3-0 against Charlton Athletic. Even better, Sebastian Haller picked up two goals to provide optimism after a poor first season at the club.
The Hammers were poor in their 2-0 defeat against Newcastle, becoming the first club to lose their opening match five seasons running. It’s starts to a season like this that has led to West Ham continuously struggling to stay in the Premier League.
Their plan should be to get Haller and best player Michail Antonio to link up together, scoring the goals they need to propel them up the table. However, it will be a worry for fans that they have not strengthened in key areas, such as central defence.
They beat the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea last season, showing they can trouble top teams. But it’ll be a tough ask against a flying Arsenal side this weekend.
Star Man – Michail Antonio
His goals will be crucial for their survival, but now in his 30s can he keep producing for the club?
Arsenal will boss possession throughout the game
Aubameyang will be favourite to carry on scoring run
Keeping it tight will be key for West Ham
If Arsenal want to challenge the top four, they must start to despatch teams like West Ham with more consistency.
The Hammers can always spring a surprise, but their away form last season was especially poor, winning only four times on the road.
Arsenal are playing great football at the moment and confidence will be sky-high going into this one.
Arsenal to win 2-0