West Ham vs Arsenal: 3 Things To Watch For

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17: Alex Iwobi of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at The Britainnia Stadium in Stoke on 17th January 2016 (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17: Alex Iwobi of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at The Britainnia Stadium in Stoke on 17th January 2016 (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) /

It’s almost the end of the season, so Arsenal is finally going to step up! Or maybe last week was a tease and West Ham will bring us back down to earth.

Date: Saturday, April 9 (EST)

Related Story: Alex Iwobi May Be Saving Grace

Venue: Boleyn Ground

So far this season, West Ham has been the kryptonite of the biggest teams in the EPL. Having only lost six games this season where two key losses were courtesy of the Spurs and Leicester City, West Ham has stunned me as much as Leicester City has. All of that means this match will be a true toss up and will be an amazing game to witness.

Prediction: West Ham 0-1 Arsenal

1) West Ham’s defense will frustrate

The title of the first point is somewhat incomplete, it should actually continue to state that West Ham’s defense will frustrate Arsenal for 89 minutes. The remaining minute that I have left out will be one of those brief moments where Ozil unlocks West Ham’s defense and Sanchez makes a beautiful touch to either score what will be the wining goal or better yet, set up Iwobi for his third goal in three starts. A little more on that later.

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Back to West Ham’s impressive defense. That defense has been suffocating and they actually rise to the occasion when playing good attacking units! As per Squawka.com, West Ham has given up 37 goals but against Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and United, West Ham’s defense has given up six goals resulting in five wins and three draws with 0 losses. Furthermore, against the Spurs, the highest scoring team so far this season, West ham has given up four goals in a loss and then 0 in a win.

West Ham knows how to play good, disciplined defense and against Arsenal it will the same old story. Look for West Ham to frustrate Arsenal all game long, only for Arsenal to finally capitalize on a chance and score the only goal of the game.

2) Iwobi for MAN of the MATCH

Many times we see players be given an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities in front of the whole world only to see them become passive and unimpressive. So far though, Iwobi has been anything but passive. He has taken his opportunity by the throat and seems to be reluctant to let go. My hope that he is going to be Tom Brady-esque, in that when given an opportunity to become a star he will never let go of it and play at a high level for next decade.

I might just be a prisoner of the moment but the statistics have been very impressive, As per Squawka.com, in the two games he has started, Iwobi has scored two goals with a 71% shot accuracy. He has created four chances and even contributed to some effort filled defensive plays.

However, what has impressed me the most is what he actually looks like on my TV screen. With the ball, he slows things down when necessary, he plays a simple game. Yet, when need be, he speeds up to create space with or without the ball, and he shoots when presented the opportunity.

Let me end on this one last note regarding Iwobi. There was a shot he took at the edge of the box last week, although saved, it was a true beauty. Iwobi dribbled in with great control, looked up to find a pass only to realize he had time to set up a skill shot. When presented that opportunity, he took it and made a hell of a shot. If it wasn’t for some great goal keeping, I think I would have looked at a replay of that goal for the rest of the day. The arch and spin on that ball was that beautiful. A true bit of skill.

3) Ozil will struggle only to prove you wrong

Ozil will have a classic frustration filled game, that is not even a debate. West Ham will push Ozil out of the middle of the pitch, West Ham will try and be rough against Ozil and Ozil will be frustrated. However, what makes Ozil great is that, despite the frustration, all he needs is for the opponent to miss one tackle, to forget to press once and he will produce a pass we can all marvel at.

Next: What About Zlatan?

Ozil will be unimpressive throughout this whole game for Arsenal. However look for that one moment where everything connects and things work beautifully. Look closely for it because for Ozil to do something against West Ham, it will truly have to be perfect, and it will be beautiful to watch over and over again on a slow motion replay.