West Ham United v Arsenal

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Press conference

‘Giroud is not a sub, he’s a regular player’

Olivier Giroud’s name came up a number of times at Arsene Wenger’s pre-match press conference after the France striker salvaged a point for us at Southampton.

Giroud has now scored 17 goals in games he’s not started but the manager sees him as much more than an impact substitute:

on Olivier Giroud’s record from the bench…
He is not a sub for me, he is a regular player, but I have plenty of good strikers and you cannot play all of them together.

on whether Giroud speaks to him about the situation…
I speak to all of my players, but it’s very difficult to speak about what we talk about openly. [Reporter asks Wenger to reveal those conversations] Yes, you would love that! You know enough already.

on whether Giroud is an important player…
He is a very important player and I have big respect for Olivier Giroud. If you look at his career since he came here, look how many French caps he’s got since he has been at Arsenal. He has not wasted his time. I can understand the frustration of every player that doesn’t play, but that’s part of the job when you go to a big club.

on Giroud wanting to start more games…
Yes, of course [I can see why]. First of all he has played many games, much more than people speak about. He has played more minutes since the start of the season than Lacazette. That is not always well known. When you are at a big club you have many big strikers and nobody can guarantee that you will play.

on him possibly leaving in January…
I read that [article], but it is not exactly what he said. Personally I want him to stay until the end of the season and then we will see.

on Giroud not starting a league game…
Of course, but I can give you 10 more cases. Every players who does not play wants to start in the Premier League, that is absolutely normal. When you have three games like we have this week in six days, there is an opportunity for them to start.


First team train ahead of West Ham trip

Arsenal train ahead of the West Ham game

The first-team squad were hard at work and a cold and snowy London Colney on Tuesday ahead of their game against West Ham United.

Arsene Wenger's squad completed an intense outdoor session in freezing conditions.

Our club photographer was there and sent back these images.

Press conference

Team news: Ramsey, Mustafi and rotation

Aaron Ramsey could not run during the closing stages of our draw at Southampton after picking up a hamstring injury.

And Shkodran Mustafi did not play on Sunday because of a thigh problem he sustained against Manchester United.

Will either of them be OK to face West Ham on Wednesday? And who might get the nod at the London Stadium? Here’s the latest from Arsene Wenger:

on team news ahead of West Ham…
Mustafi will not be back. We lost Ramsey against Southampton. He will not be available for tomorrow’s game. Everybody else, apart from the long-term injury [to Santi Cazorla], looks available. We have tests this morning to see how they have recovered.

on whether Mustafi’s injury is worse than initially thought….
[He will be out] a little bit longer. He’s out in training, running. The medical staff have decided that he’s not completely ready. Will he be ready for Saturday against Newcastle? Yes.

on Ramsey’s injury…
It’s a hamstring injury, but normally [he’ll be out for] a short period. It’s not a big one.

on whether he will rotate the squad at West Ham…
I have not made that decision completely so I will have to look first of all at how some players have recovered. We look at how much energy they spent, how they recover and after I make my decisions, adding to that the balance of the team.


Wenger on attack v defence and football evolution

For Arsene Wenger, the question of how to deal with defensive teams is one that requires constant work to find a solution.

The Arsenal manager was asked on Tuesday how the biggest teams can cope with teams sides getting men behind the ball and congesting the midfield.

Wenger admits it has been an issue for a while, and says it is up to him and his fellow managers to overcome it.

"They attempt to win the game but they do it in a different way, in a structured, well-prepared game,” he said. “Maybe because there is more separation today mentally between the top teams and the other teams.

"You have half of the teams in the Premier League who think ‘We don't want to go down' and for these kind of teams, against teams that expect to play at the top, the best way to get some points is to defend as much as you can and try to get the best out of the moments when they have the ball.

“It has always been like that. The attack gives a problem to the defence, the defence gives an answer to the attacking problem. Then the attack finds another solution, again to get around the problem that the defence gives you. That's how football evolves.

"At the moment you would say the big teams face the problem of more density in the final third. Then we have to find a solution to get around that.”

The Breakdown

The Breakdown: West Ham v Arsenal preview

We are back in Premier League action on Wednesday when we travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham United.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox and former Gunner Adrian Clarke examine our opponents in detail.


MC: Despite suffering relegation with Sunderland last season, David Moyes was appointed as replacement for Slaven Bilic after West Ham’s defeat to Liverpool last month. A 4-0 thrashing at his former club Everton didn’t indicate too much promise, but the Hammers’ controlled, efficient 1-0 win at Chelsea on Saturday proved that Moyes has already improved the side’s defensive structure.


MC: Moyes used a 3-4-3 system against Chelsea on Saturday, and that performance was so impressive, particularly without the ball, that it would be a surprise if he veers away from that formation here. 

AC: It’s going to be a physical challenge for Arsenal in this game and they are going to have to be on it from the start because West Ham have their tails up. That victory over Chelsea will have undoubtably put a spring in their step and they will feel that a double derby victory, the Chelsea and Arsenal scalp, could reignite their entire season. For them, they will be highly motivated. Arsenal cannot, I repeat cannot, afford another slow start.


MC: It might be premature to speak about West Ham being entirely solid at the back after some dreadful concessions under Bilic, but Winston Reid is excellent in the air, Angelo Ogbonna good in a positional sense and Aaron Cresswell has tucked inside to play the left-sided centre-back role effectively.


MC: Manuel Lanzini is a tremendously talented, elusive playmaker who drifts inside from wider positions to orchestrate West Ham’s attacks. He must be watched carefully here.

AC: Moyes is getting players into form, and I think he’s got Lanzini into the right position now. That’s a central area, with Arnautovic playing on the left-hand side and he scored last time out. We know that he’s a dangerman when he’s on his game. 


MC: For all his attacking energy, left-wing back Arthur Masuaku isn’t the most reliable player in a defensive sense, while on the opposite flank Pablo Zabaleta can be found wanting in terms of speed.

Press conference

Wenger on Alexis, Ozil, Benteke… and sumo

The futures of Alexis and Mesut Ozil. The post-match celebrations of Manchester City. And Christian Benteke defying Crystal Palace’s designated penalty taker - only to miss his spot-kick.

Arsene Wenger was asked for his take on all of those talking points when he faced the media on Tuesday morning. Here are some of the standout quotes from his press conference.

on Ozil’s reported new contract offer…
Negotiations are always going on with everybody. Is it two years to go? One year to go? Three months to go? The door is always open and for the rest I cannot tell you much more.

on wanting to keep Ozil and Alexis…
I said that many times and that’s all we can say.

on if a final offer has been made to Alexis or Ozil…
I don’t want to talk about that because the best way to deal with these sort of things is to keep it discreet as possible.

on Mikel Arteta’s injury sustained after the Manchester derby…
I heard about that, but I haven’t seen anything and it’s part of the incidents, sometimes that can happen in big derbies. In fact, you [reporters] are always very good in the press because you build these things up like it’s life or death and after something happens you are surprised. It’s part of the intensity and importance of the games, sometimes it can go a bit overboard. It happened to us, it happened to them and it’s unfortunate, but ideally you would commit 100 per cent on the pitch and be in no danger after, but it is not always the case.

on whether it’s what the fans want to see…
Yes, of course. But you want the passion to be on the football pitch.

on what the limit is when celebrating…
It is difficult to take when you lose a big game, to see the 100 per cent celebration on the other side. It’s always an experience a little bit like an offence and that’s why when I was in Japan I [respected] sumo, because in sumo you never can tell who the guy who wins is. He doesn’t show his happiness because of a respect for his opponents and that shows how deep the culture is there for the respect for each other. Is it something you can copy? I don’t think so because it’s not part of our culture.

on how he would deal with a situation like Benteke’s penalty…
Well, we name the penalty takers in order and sometimes the No 1 can be out and the No 2 takes, but sometimes it can happen that the players [intervene]. You have to live with a certain freedom as well to the players. If the player who is No 1 doesn’t want to take it or doesn’t feel he is full in confidence, you have to accept that the No 2 will take it. A penalty is a penalty and whoever it is can miss it, you have to accept it and all the biggest players in the world have missed penalties.

on the Henry/Pires incident…
Yes, when you mentioned that it was the first thing that came to my mind! That was not planned.

Matchday Show

Listen LIVE to our game against West Ham United

Matchday Show: West Ham (a)

We face West Ham United on Wednesday evening - and you can tune in to our LIVE coverage from London Stadium from 7.30pm (UK time).

Make sure you visit Arsenal.com for the following:

  • Matchday Show, with live build-up from 7.30pm (UK time) and audio commentary from 8pm (UK time)
  • Live text commentary - featuring minute-by-minute updates and insights from our fans on Twitter
  • A short goals clip, extended highlights and a full match replay will be available from midnight on Wednesday

It's all free with Digital Membership - and remember, you can listen on the Arsenal App too!


Check out our best goals away to West Ham United

We've played away at West Ham United 21 times in the Premier League era - and we've scored some pretty special goals in that time.

Remember Alexis' solo effort last season? And what about Dennis Bergkamp's run and finish? Or Thierry Henry's rocket?

Watch five of our best goals at Wednesday's opponents above and then vote below.


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