Arsene Wenger is set to lead Arsenal against West Ham in the first of his final games as Gunners manager, as he aims to finish his reign on a high note.
Arsenal revealed on Friday, with five games left to play in the Premier League season, that long-serving manager Arsene Wenger is set to depart the club. Wenger will end his 22-year career with Arsenal, and the first of his last few games come with West Ham visiting the Emirates.
Everyone concerned with Arsenal are hoping for a high end to the season, one which will offer Wenger a fitting tribute that reflects on his reign at the club. Wenger’s announcement is sure to push Arsenal players to perform better and provide their manager with a chance to bow out with one final flourish.
Wenger’s departure aside, Arsenal’s position in the Premier League is unlikely to change with wins, as they remain far away from a top-four place. That effectively puts the Europa League as Arsenal’s primary target and the only possible way to get into next season’s Champions League.
Wenger, on the other hand, will be relishing the prospect of playing yet another David Moyes team, a manager against whom the Frenchman has had the maximum success as manager. Moyes, on the other hand, will be looking for a win for his side, as a relegation battle threatens West Ham, and a loss would be the worst possible outcome.
Team News & Tactics
Arsene Wenger is expected to have a decent sized squad available to play against West Ham. Despite the few injuries to some key players, Arsenal can field a competent starting XI against the Hammers, as they look to maintain their impressive home record.
Wenger, however, is expected to rest some key players as a midweek Europa League semifinals against Atletico Madrid looms on the horizon. Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal are among those expected to miss out from the side, as Wenger wants some vital defensive players fit for the Atletico game.
Jack Wilshere and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are still out injured but are expected to return in midweek. Aaron Ramsey is back in the team after a minor injury against CSKA Moscow and set to start alongside Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka in central midfield.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be one definite starter for Arsenal after scoring six goals in his eight Premier League games since his January transfer. Wenger is also set to welcome Mesut Ozil back after the German missed the defeat against Newcastle, although Wenger could yet opt to start Lacazette from the bench and allow Danny Welbeck some playing time.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Elneny, Ramsey; Welbeck, Ozil, Aubameyang
West Ham United
David Moyes is likely to start the same team that played against Stoke City last time out. His side does have a concerning injury list, and this could impact their chances against Arsenal. West Ham could play with Andy Caroll and Manuel Lanzini, but both are not expected to play the full 90 mins, hence could start from the bench.
James Collins and Pedro Obiang are definitely out of the Arsenal game with respective injuries, although the latter is making a positive recovery and could be available soon. Other absentees from the Hammers side are Michail Antonio, Sam Byram and Winston Reid, who are all out of this clash.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Hart; Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Masuaku, Kouyate, Noble, Zabaleta; Mario, Lanzini; Arnautovic
- Arsenal have lost only one of their last 19-games against West Ham United
- Arsene Wenger has 21-wins against David Moyes, his most against a single opponent
- The Gunners’ have scored three or more goals in their last five home games, in all competitions
- Arsenal have failed to score only one in 31-games at home in the Premier League
- West Ham has scored in their previous nine away games.
- The Hammers’ have drawn all three of their away derbies this season.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has contributed to eight goals in his first eight games; Only Andrei Arshavin has a better record in that time with a hand in nine goals.
1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.61
2. Arsenal to win @ 1.55
3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score anytime @ 1.53
1. Javier Hernandez to score anytime @ 3.50
Player to Watch
Mesut Ozil has recently shown mixed bag form since signing the new deal. He shone in many games, but disappointed in others, as Arsenal parallelly succumbed to dismal results. Mesut Ozil’s role in this Arsenal side is to be their creative hub, as most attacking moves start with him. The defeat against Newcastle showed his importance as Arsenal’s chief creator.
Him, among other players, are required to be charged up if they are to give the departing Wenger a fitting end to his illustrious Arsenal career. On the other hand, Ozil needs to get back on form and perform consistently, especially when critical games in the Europa League, especially against Atletico Madrid are just around the corner.
Arsenal 3-0 West Ham United
Arsenal players and fans alike are set to be in a new dimension and would want to send off long-serving boss Arsene Wenger in the best way possible. Arsenal’s form at home since their slump has been a prolific one and they have scored plenty of goals here. West Ham would find it difficult to deal with the triple threat of Aaron Ramsey, Aubameyang and Ozil.
Arsenal’s quality and the need to win for their manager is set to make life difficult for David Moyes. West Ham’s injuries, especially to crucial defenders will see them go down, but are expected to put on some fight against their London rivals.