Manuel Pellegrini’s return to the Premier League has not been fruitful with his West Ham United being condemned to back-to-back defeats to start the campaign. Despite this, there is plenty of quality within the ranks to overcome the poor start and we look into three things the Hammers could do to inflict a surprise defeat on cross-town rivals Arsenal this weekend.
Nullify the threat from Mesut Ozil: The German has not had the best of starts to the campaign with a couple of underwhelming performances against Manchester City and Chelsea. Nonetheless, the World Cup winner remains the main creative force when the Gunners are playing in full flight and restricting his movement would by and large enhance the Hammers’ prospects of taking something from the game. Ozil lasted only for an hour during the recent London derby at the hands of Chelsea.
Put pressure on Arsenal’s central defence: The Gunners may have signed a new central defender in the form of Sokratis this summer but the defensive organisation has still remained average with five goals conceded from the opening two games. Shkodran Mustafi unquestionably remains the weaklink when compared to Sokratis and the Hammers should find some success if they manage to threaten the backline with crosses nearby the box, set-pieces and direct runs through a counter-attack.
Make the most of Jack Wilshere’s ability: The England international spent nearly a decade with the Gunners first-team but will be using the visitor’s dressing room this time around. Regardless of this, Wilshere should be pumped to his prove his worth to his former employers and playing him in the number 10 role should enhance the intensity of Hammers’ gameplay. Wilshere was used in a midfield-four alongside skipper Mark Noble in the defeat at Bournemouth but Pellegrini should consider using him in an advanced role which could provide Arnautovic with more supply.
Image – West Ham United’s official website