As both Arsenal and West Ham United head into their first Premier League game of the season, they come off the back of very different results. Arsenal will be starting their season full of confidence after Arsene Wenger and his side were able to topple Mourinho’s Chelsea for the first time coming away with the Community Shield as a result. West Ham United meanwhile had their hope of a Europa League campaign this season dashed as they lost 4-3 on aggregate to Astra Giurgiu in their third qualifying round tie. Anything can happen on the opening day of the Premier League season. But, whereas Arsenal have had a week from their last match to prepare for the Hammer’s visit, West Ham have had the arduous journey to Romania on Thursday to recover from in time for the Sunday game. Arsenal fans have the highest hopes for their side heading into this season. West Ham fans are excited about a new season without Big Sam at the helm. Both will be looking to get off on the right foot and it should make for a quality opening weekend fixture for fans and neutrals alike.
Arsene Wenger has been teasing Arsenal fans with his recent comments regarding Alexis Sanchez. The Arsenal boss has refused to rule out Sanchez playing against West Ham on Sunday even though he only returned to training on Monday after an extended break due to Chile’s Copa America campaign. Although Wenger hasn’t ruled out the possibility he has said it is “unlikely” Sanchez will appear in the opening weekend fixture. One player who is definitely set to miss out is striker Danny Welbeck. After missing ther clubs pre-season tour with a knee injury Wenger has stated that Welbeck “is not too far away, but he is not ready for Sunday”. Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky will also not be available for Sundays game.
The visitors West Ham will have a near fully fit side available for the visit to the Emirates. Loanee Carl Jenkinson will not be available to appear against his parent club, while Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll are both definite absentees with knee injuries for Slaven Bilic’s first Premier League game in charge of his former side.
- Arsenal have lost once on the opening weekend of the season in the past 14 seasons. They have won 9 of those fixtures and drew the remaining 4.
- Alternatively, West Ham United have the worst opening weekend record in the league. The Hammers have lost 9 of their opening weekend fixtures.
- West Ham have lost their last 9 Premier League meetings with Arsenal. The Gunners have not been beaten by the Hammers in their last 14 meetings.
- Olivier Giroud has managed 5 Premier League goals against West Ham. Of those 5 goals 4 have been scored at the Emirates.
- Last time these two sides met Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners at the Emirates in March of this year.
- The two sides have clashed 120 times in the past. Arsenal have managed 57 victories in those matches, while West Ham have only come away winners on 28 occasions.
Top Goalscorers 2014/15
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez (16), Olivier Giroud (14), Santi Cazorla (7)
West Ham: Diafra Sakho (10), Stewart Downing (6), Andy Carroll (5)
Chances Created 2014/15
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez (79), Santi Cazorla (78), Mesut Ozil (70)
West Ham: Stewart Downing (85), Mark Noble (45), Aaron Cresswell (34)
Average Defensive Actions 2014/15
Arsenal: Gabriel Paulista (11), Laurent Koscielny (10), Pers Metesacker (8)
West Ham: James Collins (14), Winston Reid(12), James Tomkins (12)
Arsenal: Santi Cazorla
Alexis Sanchez was the man who stole the headlines for Arsenal last season. The Chilean proved himself as one of the top signings last summer, contributing with goals and assists aplenty. However, Arsenal owe a lot of their successes of the season past to Santi Cazorla. The Spanish playmaker firmly established himself as, arguably, the first name on the Gunners’ team-sheet last campaign. His 7 goals and 11 assists merely scratch the surface when trying to reflect the influence Cazorla had on the Arsenal team. With Sanchez also set to miss the opening weekend game against West Ham, it would be safe to expect Cazorla to take a leading role in dictating Arsenals tempo. Arsenal fans will be hoping Cazorla continues to show the kind of inspired form he did last season, if they want to allow themselves to dream of Premier League triumph come may he will have to.
West Ham United: Dimitri Payet
David Gold said that West Ham’s £10.7million signing of Dimitri Payet was a sign of the clubs’ ambition. The Frenchman ended last season with the most assists in Ligue 1. Payet managed 17 assists for Marseille, on top of the 7 goals he netted in the league. A season like that obviously meant there was a lot of interest in securing the players services this summer. In what may to some seem a transfer coup West Ham were the side who secured his services. What West Ham fans will be eagerly waiting for now is for Payet to take his startling Ligue 1 form and translate it into some equally impressive Premier League form. With a new manager and new philosophy from last season Hammers fans will be looking forward to this coming campaign and Dimirtri Payet could and should be their main contributor to a successful season.
Arsenal will continue their impressive run against West Ham with another win.
2-1 Arsenal Win
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