It’s that time again, West Ham are travelling to North London to face Arsenal in a local grudge match. Last time we played the Gunners, they easily won 1-5 at London Stadium. In our last 11 games we have beaten Arsenal once, drawn once and lost nine – oh, and the Hammers are on a four match losing streak and are winless in six. What could possibly go wrong!?
A quick glance at the Premier League table shows the club can’t afford to lose. West Ham are languishing in 15th place, just six points away from the relegation zone, Bilic is facing questions over his job. Overall, there is a bitter feeling at the club right now and we are desperate for a win.
Before we get into the staff picks, let’s be realistic, things may be bad, but relegation isn’t a possibility. There are at least 4 teams who are much worse than West Ham this season, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Swansea City/Hull City look nailed on for relegation.
Bilic has done a lot for the club. He deserves to stay until Christmas at least and get another chance to bring in more of his signings.
Without further ado, let’s get into the Brace the Hammer staff predictions for the Arsenal game. The prediction league has a new leader, after Brian Tenerowicz correctly foresaw a 2-1 win for Hull City last weekend.
He’s moved one step closer to the Mystery Prize, as always the scoring is:
1 point – correctly predicting the game’s outcome
3 points – correctly predicting the score and outcome
This week's picks:
We're a team in freefall at the minute, with four consecutive losses and no win in six, I can't see anything other than a comfortable Arsenal win Wednesday night. What makes it worse is the last two teams Arsenal have actually beaten were Sutton & Lincoln in the FA Cup, so we're due a thrashing to get them back to winning ways.
Antonio coming back is a massive boost and with Cech and Koscielny both injured it might make the game slightly more interesting, but if the same defensive frailties continue to punish us week in week out we're going to find it difficult to pick up a result no matter how many times we score.
Our main focus should be on winning Saturday against Swansea, so although this is a must win in a sense I can take a loss as long as we give it 110% at the weekend.
I think it'll be closer than the 5-1 thrashing they handed us back in December, but I still see Arsenal coming away victorious. 3-1.
(Sidenote: Slaven could save his job if he somehow manages to win here on Wednesday)
It's a race to the bottom in this London derby. Both teams are in poor form, but Arsenal have more quality. I see them pulling through on talent alone. Arsenal 3-1 West Ham
Pete Schlenker (HammerPete)
Arsenal 3-2 West Ham.
Neither team look very good defensively, but the forwards and attacking players for Arsenal are a lot better than the ones for West Ham. Look for Carroll to boss the Arsenal defense in the air and physically in the Arsenal box, but West Ham will be weak against the counter and get burned by the quick Arsenal players such as Bellerin, Sanchez, Ozil, Walcott, etc. Collins and Fonte are going to have a bad day at the office contending with that speed.
West Ham will play up for the game and look decent, but if they fall behind again early, look for disorganization and a general lack of tactics. The players should be focused and up for this game, but if things start going poorly it could easily get out of hand again.
I'm going to be as optimistic as possible, so hang on.
With Michail Antonio out, it almost eliminates West Ham's ability to counter attack, and most likely we'll live in our defensive half and eventually concede. Ugh... I tried.
Wait, I can do this...We'll need big games from Mark Noble and Manuel Lanzini if we're to have half a chance at earning something from this match. You know what though?
I really do think it's possible. This isn't the same Arsenal team that's caused us fits. I want to see Bilic get aggressive and play three at the back and focus on speed and technical ability.
For me, Edimilson Fernandes need to start. With Lanzini's ability to suck in defenders and create chances, it could be be up to Fernandes to do something special. If all of that can happen, and a bit of luck, we might squeak out a surprising 2-1 victory.
Lineup Prediction: Adrian - Fonte, Collins, Kouyate - Masuaku, Noble, Nordtveit, Byram - Lanzini, Fernandes – Carroll
I haven't the foggiest to be honest
Arsenal 1-3 West Ham
"They're struggling so why not?"
Honestly, I've picked West Ham to win just about every time and it hasn't worked out. I'm still going to pick them to win in a glorious fashion to a struggling Arsenal side. 1-3 to the visiting Hammers, who have fared pretty well on the road this season compared to what they've done at home.
Arsenal 2-0 West Ham
A lot has to change in a short period of time if the Hammers want to get anything from this. It has to start with the defense, as there was too much ball-watching on the corner kick that did West Ham in late against Hull City. It's a crucial three points for both teams, but it will be the team from North London that takes the spoils.
I'll say 1-1.
West Ham away at Arsenal with all the injuries seems like a nightmare, but this is the type of game Arsenal should win, which means they won't.
My optimistic side thinks that West Ham can win, but for the first time in doing this weekly article I won’t be predicting a Hammer’s victory. I feel like we can get ourselves a 2-2 draw and build some momentum from this result.
Arsenal need a win almost as much as we do and while the atmosphere at the Emirates may be nasty, I can’t see West Ham doing better than a draw.