Arsenal vs West Ham United: 3 Crucial Things to Watch For

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LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 06: (L-R) Granit Xhaka, Alexis Sanchez, Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny celebrate the Arsenal goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on November 6, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal look to get back to their winning ways but West Ham is not an easy team to get things going. So will the Gunners find a way to win again?

Arsenal’s record shows that it has not been a bad team (by Arsenal standards) so far this year. Arsenal enter December having won 8, draw 4 and lost 1 in the Premier League, however we all know what the month of December and January means for Arsenal.

In case you didn’t know, with a packed schedule ahead, Arsenal is about to play their first game during the key months of the Premier League. Games during this time of the year always seem to hold extra weight in determining the outcome of a season. This weekend, as the Gunners travel across London to face West Ham United, they will need to start playing much better on both offense and defense if they are to begin 2017 with a legitimate chance at winning the league.

Against Bournemouth, Arsenal were less than impressive so what is going to change my mind and make me think Arsenal have a chance at impressing against a better team in West Ham?

Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 West Ham

Venue: London Stadium, London, England

Date: 4 December, 12:30 Saturday EST

Let’s get cracking with those three things to watch for:

Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Hector Bellerin

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MARCH 19: Arsene Wenger the Arsenal manager with Hector Bellerin of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on March 19, 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

1. Who Is The Right Person For The Right Side?

Hector Bellerin is still injured, and it didn’t really bother me too much because I knew Mathieu Debuchy, despite having not played a game in a while, was experienced and has always been reliable. Then Debuchy got injured before half time, when I saw Debuchy limp off the field two things came to my mind.

Firstly, I am so sad for Debuchy, to lose his starting spot to a younger player and then to get injured when he was finally given a chance to win some praises. Second, I wondered who will replace him on the right side. When I saw Gabriel Paulista running in, I froze, rendered speechless. Not because I don’t think Paulista is a bad player, but because on the right side of the pitch, Paulista was definitely going to lose to any player playing on the wing. What proceeded to happen next is Paulista got beat a majority of the time Bournemouth pushed up from the right side.

Moving forward, until Bellerin returns, it will be interesting to see what Wenger does with the right back position. As per, Paulista  has only won 38% of duels so far this season, and only passing with 76% accuracy, second lowest among defenders. Paulista’s pass accuracy is only better than Carl Jenkinson and is over 10% lower than Koscielny.

To further put things into perspective, Alexis Sanchez has only completed 75% of his passes, however, Sanchez has created 30 more chances. Regardless of who starts at right back, it is safe to say that Arsenal will be exploited from that side. It will be a key point to observe and Wenger’s reaction to these injuries will likely have an influence over Arsenal’s results over the coming month.

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