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After last Sunday’s palpitations, a routine 5-0 win at the London Stadium this coming Sunday would be just what the doctor ordered. But as CER astutely headlined his Liverpool match report, no one said this was going to be easy.

The record shows that we have outstanding league away form against West Ham United — P26 W14 D9 L3 in the Premiership era; we have lost more often at home to them in that time, five times.

The most recent defeat at their gaff was in January 2019. A 19-year-old Declan Rice struck his first West Ham goal just after half-time from the edge of our box after Granit Xhaka had headed out a cross from Samir Nasri (remember him and his snood?). 

In 2006, it was a Marlon Harewood goal that did for us, and, in 1999, a Paolo Di Canio brace against the run of play in a game in which both sides ended up with ten men. The latter two defeats were at the Boleyn Ground, Upton Park, a nasty, cramped place even before it became all-seater in the 1990s, and even when Ron Greenwood’s Moore-Peters-Hurst team graced it on my first trip in the late 1960s.

Our first league visit to West Ham came in August 1923. The newly promoted Hammers secured their first-ever win in the top flight. Albert Fletcher scored the game’s sole goal. Who? I hear you cry. They probably said the same back then. It was the inside forward’s only goal in his eight-game West Ham career before losing his place in the team and then, after a season with Brentford in the Third Division South, dropping out of the professional game. 

Our keeper that day was Jock Robson, 5’8″ of Scottish athleticism, who kept 35 clean sheets in 101 games. His keeping kept us in the old First Division, given that we escaped relegation by a point in 1923-24 and by a place the season after. 

Robson remained first-choice keeper until Herbert Chapman arrived and bought Bill Harper from Hibernian for a then British record for a goalkeeper of £4,000, £3,995 more than the club had paid for Robson. 

The monks cannot find evidence that we have ever signed a shorter keeper than Robson, although Sheffield Wednesday had one at around the same time, Teddy Davison, who was 5’7″ but good enough to win an England cap.

The August 1923 league game was not our first competitive encounter. That was a January 1906 FA Cup First Round tie that we won after a replay; we would go on to make the semi-finals for the first time. However, the two clubs, born out of works teams on either side of the River Thames — the Thames Ironworks works in Canning Town in West Ham’s case, hence the riveting hammers on their club badge — were already familiar with each other from playing friendlies in the 1890s.

The opposition

Under David Moyes, once touted as the ideal successor to Arsene Wenger, believe it or not, West Ham are underperforming this season. Pencilled in for another top-seven finish this term, they have lost 15 of 29 league games and are three points off the relegation zone, although in 14th place and with a game in hand over the other nine teams scrapping to avoid the drop. With us, ‘Pool and both Mancs still to play, their results against fellow strugglers Palace, Bournemouth, Leeds and Leicester will decide their fate, and likely that of Moyes, though I have a feeling he will leave this summer come what may.

His team comes into Sunday’s game on the back of a hard-fought draw on Thursday in the first leg of their quarter-final in the UEFA tournament for teams whose name contains lots of the consonants that make for a high score in Scrabble. This followed a turgid 1-0 win over slumping Fulham last weekend, in which own goal was the top scorer.

Moyes has won four of his 40 games against us and has yet to beat Arteta, who played 209 games under him at Everton, in their six managerial encounters, losing five. 

He has been switching up his starting formation of late, making five changes for the Fulham game after a 5-1 thrashing by the Barcodes and lining up in a 4-4-2 rather than his preferred 4-2-3-1. Moyes then made six changes on Thursday and played a 4-2-2-2. Many of his first choices started on the bench against KAA Gent in Ghent, suggesting he prioritises the league over Europe.

The names that can be pencilled into Sunday’s team sheet with any confidence are those of Lukasz Fabianski, formerly of this parish, Declan Rice, possibly to be of this parish next season, right-winger Jarrod Bowen, who is their joint top-scorer this season with Said Benrahma, four goals apiece, centre half Kurt Zouma and record signing Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paquetá. Danny Ings, an irritant to us in his Southampton days, will, no doubt, get some minutes, although I would expect Michail Antonio to start up top.

The Arsenal

With Sporting Lisbon making the Europa League quarter-finals trip to Turin in our stead on Thursday, we have had a full week to recover from Anfield. The injury news is marginally improved. Long-term absentees Tomiyasu and Elneny remain just that, and William Saliba’s back remains in limbo; perhaps limbo dancing is what did for it. However, Eddie Nketiah returns to the squad.

I would expect Arteta to start:


White Holding Gabriel Zinchenko

Partey Ødegaard Xhaka

Saka Jesus Martinelli

Three points are essential, preferably with no alarums. A goal every 15-20 mins would suit us well, letting Arteta get Partey wrapped back up in cotton wool early and give those on the bench some minutes. However, Moyes will have West Ham digging in and scrapping for a point, so it will likely be a lot closer than that. 

Yet, if we can exert the control and consistency that Arteta has sought all season and avoid the chaos of the second half at Anfield, we have the quality to emerge from the London Stadium with a 15th Premier League away win over West Ham.

The ‘holics pound

The gentlemen of the turf have us as short-odds favourites, as might be expected. There is little value to be found in any win unless we score at least four goals. If you think we can stroll it to 5-0, 60s are available. 

Enjoy the game, ‘holics, near and far.

43 Drinks to “Hammer time: control and consistency, but hold the chaos”

  1. 1
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks Ned, a scene well set for a good and welcome win. I think it might also be St Totteringhams Day if my counting is working ok.

  2. 2
    BtM says:

    My fingers are crossed. Should be a comfortable win – why then to I have this little worry knot troubling me? Last eight game syndrome?

    Thanks for a nice scene setter, Ned. Don’t cut those monks any slack.

  3. 3
    TTG says:

    A strange day has just ensued ( in a football sense ) . London rivals Tottnumb and Chavski have lost at home ,the Totts in disastrous fashion giving up a winner ( at home to Bournemouth deep into extra time ) Who on earth has trouble disposing of Bournemouth for goodness sake ? 😃
    Sadly Citeh continued on their ominous run. Your preview is excellent as always Ned . West Ham are the most dangerous in Ted Lasso! We played them at a similar time last year and won 2-1 with our CBs scoring . We should win tomorrow and their playing a full on EL tie on Thursday is a big disadvantage . But this time of year results go skew-whiff.
    My journey to the ground takes me through Stratford and many is the conversation I’ve had with happy Hammers . They hated the London Stadium until a couple of years ago, then loved it but seem to dislike it again now . They hate playing us and if we can control midfield we should be able to win around 3-1 . Then St.Totts today would appear and we could focus on beating Southampton. That would give us a nine point lead over Citeh when we meet . Heady times !

  4. 4
    Goonersince54 says:

    Excellent preview Ned
    Thnks for all the kind words from previous drinks.
    I do try to keep the essence of the distant past of our Club alive whilst I can still remember it, and if it gives more recent Supporters a thread to follow and a history to read about, then it makes it worthwhile.
    Talking of times past, I still haven’t forgiven Trevor Brooking for scoring the only goal he ever scored with his head, in our 1 nil defeat to the Hammers in the Cup Final of 1980.
    Hands up any of the old brigade in the bar who were at Wembley for that Final. ??
    That 79/80 season was our longest ever, 70 games in total, 2 Cup finals, we lost both, and despite finishing 4th that season, we missed out on European football through some quirk of the qualifying system, which I think related to 2 other teams outside the top 4 winning Trophies. ??
    Hopefully Ned’s Monks can confirm.
    You won’t be the only one with a worry knot in the gut, I think every member of the bar will be stressing and fretting prior to each game as it comes.
    Being so close now, and not having been in the Title fight this late in the season in many a long year, I had forgotten how much I missed it, [ for the excitement and involvement] and hated it [ for the stress and worry it put me through] .
    I do think it is worse when you have a whole week to think about the next game, I know it suits the players with longer recovery times, but for us, it just makes the wait interminable.
    As for the game, with our quality we should, all things being equal, be too good for our East London neighbors, and after City put away Leicester, we know 3pts is the only objective.

  5. 5
    OsakaMatt says:

    @5 I remember that Brooking goal well, still infuriating as you say.
    Couldn’t get a ticket for that game, the final part of our Cup Final
    Trilogy – loved the middle but the start and the ending weren’t up
    to much.
    Be nice to win today and contribute to Wham’s relegation fund.

  6. 6
    OsakaMatt says:

    I meant @4 not @5 – that would be talking to myself.
    Though all the best people do or so the voice in my
    head tells me ….

  7. 7
    Doctor Faustus says:

    A mouth-watering preview Ned! Can’t wait for the match to start. The current team always brings a genuine sense of joy to their game and it’s a privilege to see them play with such creativity, confidence and composure and that too so consistently.

    I agree with your team. Trossard and ESR to come in later in the game, Emile may yet have the odd crucial contribution or two before the season ends.

    Come on Arsenal!

  8. 8
    bt8 says:

    Cheers Ned and many thanks for your fine preview. Three points any which way please. Saka could be due for a big day.

  9. 9
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks Ned
    The Boleyn was indeed intimidating for away supporters – colours always had to be tucked away for sensible preservation – but the atmosphere was usually electric and part of the thrill of following away games.
    The nerves are starting to jangle but I still fancy an Arse win – nothing else will really do at this stage. 3-1.

  10. 10
    Trev says:

    Excellent work, Ned, as ever.
    Clive – yes I was, and neither have I !
    I queued for hours and hours in those days and got tickets for every one of our Wembley defeats. The only two of that era I missed out on were the two we probably had lowest expectations in – Liverpool and Man Utd. They pay me to keep away now !

    5-0 no good today Ned. We need 7 to get back of GD par with Oil City.

    Come on you Reddsss !

  11. 11
    Trev says:

    Clive – I nearly forgot – I was also at the Brussels final against Valencia which we lost on penalties !

  12. 12
    Goonersince54 says:

    Those were the days Trev.
    Queueing up at Highbury for tickets to Finals.
    The lines stretching for hundreds of metres, often in the freezing cold.
    I didn’t make Brussels, but was unfortunately at Swindon Leeds and Ipswich as well.
    Local Derbies always a law unto themselves, so any win will do for me.

  13. 13
    bt8 says:

    Interesting item reported by the Beeb about today’s game and Dennis may it come to pass:

    “Arsenal can equal the club record of 10 away clean sheets in a single Premier League season, set in the 42-match 1993-94 campaign.”

  14. 14
    Esso says:

    Cheers Ned!

  15. 15
    bt8 says:

    Another important test in the Gunners back line for Rob Holding today. Come on Capitola Rob.

  16. 16
    bt8 says:

    Tierney in for Zinchenko apparently. Come on Kieran.

  17. 17
    Esso says:

  18. 18
    North Bank Ned says:

    Zinchenko not on the bench. Crocked?

    Subs: Turner, Walters, Kiwior, Jorginho, Smith Rowe, Vieira, Nelson, Trossard, Nketiah.

  19. 19
    Uplympian says:

    Cheers Ned for an excellent preview – set up very nicely for the match starting vey shortly.
    We should be 3 points better off by the end but I never take anything for granted in this league, we’ll have to work our socks off to get them. Looking at our subs bench defensively it’s down to bare bones – let’s hope there are no injuries to those taking the field.
    Going back to pre-historic times I occasionally went to the Boleyn to watch the hammers with a good pal of mine who for some strange reason supported them. This was the days when they had players such as John Bond and “Big” John Dick in the team as well as the up & coming England World Cup trio. I even went to Wembley and watched them win the European Cup Winners cup in 1965. The good news is by 1966 my pal was converted back to his true calling and became an avid gooner. We travelled to quite a few away games after this. All this before going to away matches became more dangerous. And yes Clive, queuing for tickets along Avenall Rd in the pissing rain – none of this queuing on line nowadays!
    Back to todays game a win of any score line will be fine.

  20. 20
    Esso says:

    Zinchenko = tight groin (precautionary) according to Arsenal.com

  21. 21
    North Bank Ned says:

    Clive@4: Your recall is spot on. For the 1980-81 European competitions, Liverpool qualified for the European Cup (now Champions League) as 1979-80 Football League champions, as, exceptionally, did Nottingham Forest, who finished fifth in the league, as the defending European Cup holders. English teams had three places in the UEFA Cup (now UEFA League). One went to the winner of the domestic league cup, Wolves, who finished sixth in the league. The other two went to the highest-placed teams in the league after the champions, Manchester United and Ipswich. West Ham, then in the Second Division, played in the European Cup Winners Cup as FA Cup winners. So first, second, third, fifth and sixth in the league got European football, but not fourth (us).

  22. 22
    Gooner_KS says:

    THAT is a new definition of soft penalty

  23. 23
    Esso says:


  24. 24
    Sancho Panza says:

    Is it ever thus with Arsenal?

  25. 25
    North Bank Ned says:

    That was a matter of inches, more than once. Saka for the penalty miss and then their second goal in off the post. Not a good result, and St Totts day is delayed, but it is still in our hands.

  26. 26
    Sancho Panza says:

    The gloating of all the pundits will go into over drive as their predictions that we would fall at the last are looking likely.
    Fuck off to financially doped football teams. But they never mention that.

  27. 27
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    We were never gonna win 17 on the trot, or whatever it would have been. The missed pen was obviously decisive today, but Bukayo will have a fire under him for the rest of the season after that, and the crowd, manager and teammates will all lift him.

    City game still massive. If we win that it will be huge.

  28. 28
    BtM says:

    Disappointing result and, like that at Anfield last week, feels more like a defeat than a draw. Our first 12 are excellent but we’re not the same when they’re not available. Holding wasn’t bad today, nor was Tierney but the absence of Saliba and Zinchenko was noticeable.

    Still ALL to play for. Long way to go.

  29. 29
    Cynic says:

    Just seen it as I was out. When you throw away consecutive 2-0 leads away, you don’t deserve to win anything.

    But we’ll see.

  30. 30
    Trev says:

    Well that was extremely disappointing after the first 15 minutes or so.
    A bit worrying that we seemed almost paralysed after their penalty.
    Holding is a trier but he’s is nowhere near Saliba’s quality. He lost out on balls he should have won today, couldn’t cope with Antonio at all and took an absolute age with the ball to do not much at all with it.
    Partey doesn’t look fully fit to me – physically or mentally today.
    Without Zinchenko, Martinelli does not get on the ball in the same way and pretty much drifted out of the game.
    It’s always odd that you don’t realise just how good great players are until they’re not there.
    It’s far from over though. Like Peter, I think the CL will tell on Oil City at some point. If it does we absolutely have to be in a position to take advantage. No room for any more mistakes.

    I actually shared BtM’s slight misgivings about today. Had to watch it on delay and sadly they were proved right

  31. 31
    Sancho Panza says:

    Arteta desperately needs both a fit Saliba and Zinchenko on the pitch for the City game.

  32. 32
    ecg says:

    I’m with Cynic on this one. Going up by 2 early in the match against a team that scores less than a goal per match and unable to close it out much less run the score up, is not the sign of a league winning team. We have to win out or this will feel like the year Leicester won the league.

  33. 33
    TTG says:

    I will comment on the match after the review is posted.I just wanted to see if I coukd extend Trev’s roll of final heartbreak following Clive’s question
    I saw our Final defeats by Leeds, Swindon, Ipswich , Luton , Zaragoza,Liverpool, Galatasaray , Barcelona and Man City
    I’ve seen us win against Anderlecht, Liverpool , Man United , Sheffield Wednesday ( twice plus a draw) , Newcastle , Southampton, Man United , Hull, Villa and Chelsea ,
    That’s 11-9 up but some of the losses really hurt

  34. 34
    TTG says:

    I missed out Birmingham ! – 11-10
    Not many clubs make that many finals !

  35. 35
    Esso says:

    Not into this ‘ we don’t deserve …’ stuff.

    We’re a young team, still with a lot to learn. In any other season except against a blatantly, financially doped opponent we would be pissing this fucking league.

    I for one will not hear a word said against the efforts of this team or our manager.,

  36. 36
    Trev says:

    What Esso said. Every word.

  37. 37
    ClockEndRider says:

    A tough one to take. Well played, Esso, for maintaining a Stoic viewpoint.

  38. 38
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev is right @30 that we missed Zinchenko and that Martinelli was less effective in his absence.

  39. 39
    Bathgooner says:

    Just caught up with your excellent preview Ned, after the somewhat deflating event which I have yet to see but sounds from comments elsewhere to have epitomised a brief Lord Mayor’s Show followed by a prolonged rag parade.

    Chins up, fellas. There are bigger fish to fry.

  40. 40
    ClockEndRider says:

    21CG’s match report is with the techies.

  41. 41
    Gooner up north says:

    Keep the faith! I agree with what Esso has said! Come on you Rip Roaring Reds!

  42. 42
    TTG says:

    I stand with you . These boys have overachieved massively …and it ain’t over yet

  43. 43
    ATG says: