Arsenal vs. West Ham: 4 Reasons to Watch
Wednesday's match against West Ham is an important one for Arsenal.
It's the first game since Sunday's disappointing 2-1 defeat at the hands of Chelsea. And according to manager Arsene Wenger, the team can't afford to drop any more points if the club wants to qualify for next season's Champions League.
So, this will hopefully be the start of something special or just another reason to take another sorrow-killing drink at the local pub.
Whatever happens will certainly be thrilling. Here are four reasons why you should tune in and catch this London derby.
How Will the Team Come out in the First Half?
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Lately, Arsenal has been a second-half team.
That doesn't necessarily mean the Gunners turn up the intensity level to 11, rather they actually start playing the way they should have to begin the game. Arsenal has been allergic to the first half and has been embarrassing itself in the opening 45 minutes. Good examples of that could be seen against Manchester City and Chelsea, among others.
If the Gunners are really to mount a challenge for the fourth spot in the table, they need to open the game with energy and not lose the game early.
For Arsenal to come out firing in the opening half, some of its leaders need to step up and will the team to victory. Jack Wilshere has been doing just that almost every single game, but others need to help out. Theo Walcott needs to justify his new contract. Thomas Vermaelen needs to live up to his captaincy. Santi Cazorla needs to be magical.
Forget about waiting until the enemy fires first—Arsenal needs to come out firing right away.
How Will the Fans Respond?
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Arsenal has won just half of its games at Emirates Stadium this season, and it hasn't exactly looked convincing in losses against Manchester City and Swansea City.
That has made the stadium restless, and the fans are obviously unhappy with the declining product on the field that doesn't justify high ticket prices. The losing has caused the atmosphere to become awkward, indifferent and, in a way, poisonous.
Will the Arsenal faithful support their team tomorrow? Will the fans be loud and obnoxious? Or will more negativity continue to swirl around the team, thus dragging it down further?
Only time will tell.
Lukas Pdolski Will Be Back
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Both Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be back in the squad after being sick. If nothing else, they'll be quality options off the bench.
Wenger won't be forced to turn to the chubby Russian owl, also known as Andrey Arshavin, like he did against Chelsea.
It can only benefit Arsenal to get healthy.
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Arsenal has been using Mikel Arteta in the defensive midfield position this season. It hasn't turned out terribly, but it's not his natural position.
In order to get him back to where he's most comfortable—in attack mode—Wenger needs to buy an experienced DM.
Enter Mohamed Diame of West Ham.
There have been whispers of his desire to move to Arsenal, and also of interest from Wenger. So this is Diame's opportunity to shine. This is his chance to show what he has to offer to Gooners and to Wenger. It's his one shot to leave a lasting impression on everyone.
And with just a £3.5 million buy-out clause in his contract, he could be a cheap quality signing.
Break a leg, Diame.