Morning all.

West Ham v Arsenal has thrown up a few classics over the years but last season’s was not one of them. Even Mikel Arteta admitted after the game that his team hadn’t played very well. We’d won, thanks to goals from Rob Holding and Gabriel but a classic it was not. Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, the Arsenal manager said:

We didn’t play so well. If I have to use a word it would be we won ugly. Big teams have to find a way to win ugly when they don’t play well. We found a way through set pieces and defending strongly. To win here at West Ham is credit to boys and shows the spirit we have.

Back then, Arsenal were still in with a good chance of securing a top four sport and West Ham were not only still competing in the Europa League but sat in seventh place. Less than a year later, David Moyes side is in a relegation battle although they’re doing well in the Europa League and have a chance of progressing through to the semi-final if they beat Gent in London next Thursday. Personally, I think they’ll stay up and I hope they do if it means one of Everton, Leeds or Nottingham Forest go down. Leicester City and Southampton look as if they already have one foot in the Championship.

West Ham took an absolute pasting in their last home match as Newcastle Utd romped to a 5-1 victory. Apparently, David Moyes’ defence was all over the place and the defensive play in general was error strewn.

Arsenal’s defending last weekend wasn’t the best it’s been at times this season either. Gabriel will be disappointed he couldn’t prevent Salah from scoring and I’d imagine there was a conversation after the game about who should have been marking Firmino for Liverpool’s equaliser. Talking of which, William Saliba isn’t available for tomorrow’s game but in his press conference yesterday, Mikel Arteta hinted that he could be back soon:

William is still not available. He’s progressing well and we are hopeful we’ll have him available in the next few weeks, but we’ll have to see. He’s not far from starting to do that [return to training]. Obviously we need to be cautious because of the injury, but he’s evolving well.

Ideally, he be back in time for the Man City game but unless he makes an appearance on Friday in our game against Southampton, I can’t see him making the trip to Manchester. In my opinion, there is zero chance of Mikel Arteta taking any kind of risk with him, nor any other player for that matter. Also, when it comes to what Mikel Arteta tells the media, I take it most of what he says with a huge pinch of salt. He’s not going to let Guardiola know what his squad/team might be, just as he’s not going to give Southampton manager Ruben Selles any kind of hint as to who might play on Friday night. After all, it wasn’t long ago Leandro Trossard was rumoured to be out for a few weeks but in the next game, there he was…

One player who is definitely back fit and available for selection is Eddie Nketiah.

This is the penultimate London derby of the season with just Chelsea left to play and so far, we’ve not lost any. I’d be writing that we’d won them all had it not been for a huge VAR mistake against Brentford but winning the last two is crucial for our title challenge. We can’t afford to drop any more points.

Regardless of where West Ham are in the league, tomorrow’s game will be tough.

It will be a very difficult game. We know, we’ve been there a few times and we always find really tricky and difficult games. I know David really well and how he’s going to prepare for the game as well, and we are ready. It’s going to be a fight; it’s going to be another big derby for us and we’re going to be at our best to win it. Mikel Arteta 

The same can be said about each of the remaining eight fixtures we have because other clubs aren’t going to step aside and let us breeze through to victory. We’ll have to fight hard for every point there is on offer.

Match Officials…

Referee: David Coote
Assistant Referees: Lee Betts and Timothy Wood
Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell
VAR: John Brooks
Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis

John Brooks is the official Howard Webb had to punish after he inserted the offside lines in the wrong place when Brighton played Crystal Palace earlier in the season. The error cost Brighton two points on the same weekend Lee Mason made his monumental error for Brentford’s equaliser against us. David Coote officiated our FA Cup match against Oxford after which, the FA charged Arsenal for their protesting a decision with a bit too much enthusiasm. Bless him eh.

Anyway, Man City take on Leicester City later today, maybe new manager Dean Smith can cause an upset. Let’s hope so.

Catch up later.