Arsenal v West Ham United

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Arsenal v West Ham United: The Brief

Arsene Wenger’s pre-match media work was done and dusted long before the news broke about his future.

So it was business as usual when the boss faced the media at the training ground on Thursday ahead of Sunday’s game against West Ham.

Wenger was asked about his future, but dropped no hints. And, in his exclusive interview with us, the boss instead focused on the teenagers who might follow in the footsteps of Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock and make their Premier League debuts in what remains of this season.

“Emile Smith Rowe is close and Josh Dasilva is close,” Wenger told Arsenal.com.

“Mavropanos as well, but at the moment he is injured, and Osei-Tutu, the right back. These are the players who are close and they need to be developed before we slowly give them a chance.”

You’re in the right place for a comprehensive pre-match briefing ahead of Sunday’s London derby. Watch some classic goals, get the latest team news and test your knowledge.

 

Arsène Wenger on Alexandre Lacazette

Arsène Wenger on Alexandre Lacazette

 

 

ONE TO WATCH… REISS NELSON

Reiss Nelson made his first Premier League start against Southampton and showed flashes of his best - but Wenger says that it takes time for new players to lose their inhibitions when they arrive in the first team.

“Reiss can dribble, pass people, take people on, he has a change of direction, good technique, good crossing technique, good finishing technique… it’s all there in the locker but part of quality in life is to produce when it’s needed. That’s why the big stage is so important.

“When I speak about being inhibited, it’s vital that the players turn up in these kinds of games and are not fazed by the pressure. They have to resist stress and still manage to express their talent. That’s what it is about. 

“That’s why I want to put young players into games where they’re under pressure, where every movement is analysed and scrutinised. It is part of the learning process to become a football player.”

TEAM NEWS:

ARSENAL: Mkhitaryan (knee), Ramsey (leg - doubt), Wilshere (ankle - doubt)

WEST HAM: Antonio, Collins (both hamstring), Reid, Obiang (knee), Byram (ankle)

THE OPPOSITION:

Michael Cox on West Ham:

“A significant development for West Ham has been the use of Marko Arnautovic as a conventional centre forward. The Austrian had previously been deployed in a left-sided role, but he boasts the physique to lead the line, and makes some excellent runs into the channels to receive diagonal passes, while also offering a conventional penalty-box threat, scoring twice before half-time in the crucial 3-0 win over Southampton last month.

“That said, Arnautovic can endure lonely matches when West Ham spent the majority of the game on the back foot, and is often in need of a strike partner. In the 1-1 draw at Chelsea a fortnight ago, Moyes introduced Javier Hernandez midway through the second half, and it took just three minutes for Arnautovic to set up the Mexican for the equaliser. Previous scourge of Arsenal Andy Carroll is a Plan B in a very different sense to Hernandez, netting a last-minute equaliser against Stoke last Monday.”

THE FINAL WORD… ON GIVING YOUTH A CHANCE

“It’s very important for our football club to show the young players some faith and trust,” said the boss.

“As long as you don’t give them a chance - even if you say that you believe they’re a good player - as long as you don’t have the courage to put them on the pitch, they don’t really believe you. At the moment it’s a good opportunity to see how ready they are and for them as well to realise that it’s much harder than they imagined when they’re playing in youth-team games.

“If you look across England, for me that’s one of my main worries. If you look through the Premier League, there’s no young players. Everywhere you have academies, everywhere you have good players but nobody plays. Why? Because of the gap between the youth league and the Premier League and the pressure every manager is under to perform.”

Gallery

The boss takes training before the West Ham game

Arsène Wenger with the squad at training on April 21

Arsène Wenger took training on Saturday for the first time since announcing he'll leave the club this summer, as the first-team squad continued preparations for Sunday's Premier League match against West Ham United.

Our club photographer was there too, and sent back these pictures.

Team news

Team news: Mkhitaryan, Wilshere, Ramsey

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

We’ve got fitness issues over three creative midfielders at the moment - Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey.

But who might make an appearance against West Ham United on Sunday? Here’s the latest update from Arsene Wenger.
 
on team news…
We have some uncertainties about Wilshere. Of course Mkhitaryan is not back yet. Ospina is available again.

on Ramsey and the cut on his leg…
He has not participated in full training but he’s practising in non-contact, so he will be available for Sunday.

on Wilshere…
It’s a short-term one, a little ankle problem.

on Mkhitaryan…
Mkhitaryan is running again. He has to progress in the next three or four days to see how much intensity he can have in his training sessions.
 
on expected return for Mkhitaryan…
Possibly Thursday is the earliest I think.

Team news

The latest update on Santi Cazorla’s injury

Santi Cazorla

Santi Cazorla has been sorely missed since his last first-team appearance on October 19, 2016.

Arsene Wenger was asked about our Spain international at his latest press conference, and he gave the following update:
 
on Cazorla...
It is a while, I have not seen him since the League Cup final because he went back to make his rehab.

on how much we’ve missed him…
We miss him a lot. I never spoke about it in the press conferences, or not many times, as he was not the subject of the debate, but we have missed him a lot in our game. He is an exceptional football player and it is very sad what happened to him, and very sad for Arsenal as well.

on whether he will be able to play at the top level again…
Honestly, I don't know. I hope yes, but I don't know.

Press conference

Lacazette’s goals and Aubameyang’s role

Arsene Wenger won’t be able to play our two record signings in tandem against Atletico Madrid - or in a possible Europa League final - but he has five more chances to pair them up in the Premier League this season.

Alex Lacazette looked in prime condition at Newcastle last Sunday while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been involved in eight goals in his eight Premier League games, a record only Andrey Arshavin can match in our history.
 
Here’s the boss on Laca and Auba:
 
on Lacazette…
There are more goals in him. First of all he had his injury, he played for a while with his injury. Secondly it's a first season, you have to adapt to the intensity of the Premier League and overall it is difficult to score here because 90 per cent of the time we play against teams with 10 people in the final third.
 
In most of the games we had 70 per cent possession, but that makes it difficult as well for the strikers because there is less room and less freedom as well because most of the time people play with three central defenders. But Alex he has shown that he has the talent and the quality to play for Arsenal Football Club.

on how Auba has handled the situation of being cup-tied in Europe…
Yes, it's true [he has handled it pretty well]. At some stage, I would say most of the time, after the Europa League games, it was a help because I could rest some players and bring someone fresh in.
 
When you prepare for the Europa League it is a handicap because he cannot play, and when the games become important like they are at the moment it raises the question [of whether he should be cup-tied].

Goals

Check out our best goals at home to West Ham

We’re back in Premier League action when we host West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

From Santi Cazorla finishing a fine one-touch move to Olivier Giroud’s stunning control and strike, we’ve scored some classic goals against the Hammers in recent years - but which of these was our best finish?

Click ‘Play’ on the video above and then don’t forget to vote in our poll below: