It’s the first London Derby of the new season for West Ham United, as both they and Arsenal will be desperate to get their season’s first points in their clash at the Emirates Stadium here.
Manuel Pellegrini and Unai Emery badly want to see their sides capture an initial win after two straight defeats to begin massive seasons for both clubs. For Pellegrini, captain Mark Noble is out the side with his injury, meaning it’s a first Hammers start for Carlos Sanchez at holding midfielder. The Noble absence could be a blessing in disguise, as West Ham have been poor at their holding midfielders protecting their centerbacks, something Sanchez’s primary job is.
Also making his starting debut for Pellegrini is record centerback signing Issa Diop, as the Toulouse prodigy will showcase why David Gold and David Sullivan splashed the cash on him. Michail Antonio and Ryan Fredericks’ return to the starting XI as well, as the Irons community wants to see a quality performance from their team after the calamitous second half vs Bournemouth.
Meanwhile, Unai Emery’s side is absent Mesut Ozil as the German star is out with illness. But Pierre Aubameyang will get the start again ahead of Alexander Lacazette, but the Gabon electric forward is under some pressure as his inconsistent finishing from Borussia Dortmund has traveled with him to a new club.
As always, there should be a decent level of excitement as this fixture always brings. But the Hammers will need a massive performance if they are to avoid a second straight season of the ugly zero points in their first three games results. And for all the summer spending, it will be the same old Hammers if that is the case.