Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Arsenal
and West Ham United
at the Emirates Stadium. Both sides have made losing starts to the campaign, with this the first time that the two London rivals have both lost their opening two matches to kick off a Premier League season. Something has to give in what should be an entertaining clash.
is still feeling his way into life at West Ham, and despite a losing start the Chilean insists that he is not tempted to throw in more of his new players this afternoon. Arsenal, too, have brought in a handful of new faces over the summer, but one of the most heralded of the incoming players - central midfielder Lucas Torreira - has yet to start. Will that change today? Let us check out some confirmed team news...
ARSENAL TEAM NEWS!
STARTING XI: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Iwobi, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan; Aubameyang
SUBS: Leno, Holding, Lichtsteiner, Elneny, Torreira, Welbeck, Lacazette
Torreira is being made to wait a little longer for his first Arsenal start, as Granit Xhaka retains his place in defensive midfield alongside talented youngster Matteo Guendouzi. The only change made from the 3-2 defeat at Chelsea last week comes in a slightly more advanced position, with Aaron Ramsey taking over from Mesut Ozil in the hole. Ozil, we are told, is suffering from illness - again!
Ramsey was surprisingly left out at Stamford Bridge, mainly because there is only really room for one of him or Ozil in the position they both crave. Out wide, Alex Iwobi performed well in the loss to Chelsea and is rightly retained in a three-man attacking midfield, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan took his tally to three goals and five assists in an Arsenal shirt last time out, seeing him keep his place on the right.
Many Arsenal fans were desperate to see Alexandre Lacazette named in the starting lineup today for the first time this season, but Unai Emery
is reluctant to throw in the Frenchman from the off. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, yet to get off the mark this term, is once again named as the central striker. This Gunners side already has a familiar look to it, particularly with Nacho Monreal
fully fit an operating in the left-back position.
WEST HAM UNITED TEAM NEWS!
STARTING XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Sanchez, Wilshere; Anderson, Snodgrass, Antonio; Arnautovic
SUBS: Adrian, Rice, Zabaleta, Obiang, Yarmolenko, Lucas, Hernandez
Just the one change made by Emery, then, whereas opposite number Pellegrini makes four alterations on the back of last week's disappointing 2-1 home loss to Bournemouth. Issa Diop
and Carlos Sanchez both come in for their competitive debuts, with the former lining up alongside fellow new boy Fabian Balbuena in the heart of defence and the latter partnering Jack Wilshere in the engine room.
Ryan Fredericks, left out entirely against Bournemouth last week, returns at full-back, while Michail Antonio is also restored for this short trip to the Emirates Stadium. In the absence of regular captain Mark Noble, who misses out today due to a minor back problem, Marko Arnautovic
will skipper the visitors. Pablo Zabaleta and Javier Hernandez both drop down to the bench as Pellegrini rings the changes.
Arnautovic has performed well for West Ham since arriving at the club and, more recently, has been involved in eight of his side's last 12 goals - five of his own and three assists. The Austrian will no doubt thrive off wearing the captain's armband, and it is down to Felipe Anderson, Robert Snodgrass and the returning Antonio to supply the ammunition. Manuel Lanzini, Andy Carroll and Winston Reid are all still in the treatment room.
Manuel Pellegrini has made four changes to West Ham United's starting lineup today. Among those to retain their place in the side is Jack Wilshere, who swapped Arsenal for the Hammers a couple of months back after making 197 first-team appearances for the Gunners. The Englishman admitted this week that he is out to "prove a point" to his former employers.
The Gunners sit in the lower reaches of the Premier League after two rounds of matches, having lost 2-0 at home to Manchester City and then 3-2 to Chelsea. The Gunners were outplayed by the champions on the opening weekend, but there were a few more positives to take away from the loss at Stamford Bridge. The second-half performance was too negative, though for 15 minutes at the end of the first half Emery's men looked very impressive.
Emery always knew that it would take time after replacing long-serving boss Arsene Wenger in the summer, and so it has proved with successive defeats - the first time that has happened to an Arsenal manager to start their reign since caretaker Steve Burtenshaw in 1986. Only four times in their top-flight history, in fact, have the Gunners lost three in a row at the start of a season.
The most recent occasion that Arsenal lost three in a row at the start of a season was 1954-55, but that could all change today if they fail to learn lessons from their games against Man City and Chelsea. Emery has been criticised by some, including Tony Adams, for being too similar to Arsene Wenger, though others - Ray Parlour and Gary Neville - are more understanding of the task on the Spaniard's hands.
Emery clearly wants his side to pass out from the back, which backfired against City but worked well at times against Chelsea - particularly for Iwobi's goal. The Spaniard, who had success during his time at Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain, has also showed that he is not afraid to make some big calls, having omitted Aaron Ramsey from the starting lineup at Stamford Bridge and then hauled off misfiring Mesut Ozil during the second half.
The bottom line is, though, that supporters will only be understanding for so long. Should the Gunners fail to put three points on the board today, for example, the pressure will already be building on Emery. One thing that went in Arsenal's favour during a terrible final campaign under Wenger was their home form, taking 47 points from a possible 57 here in the league - only Man City fared better.
Away form was a serious concern, and still appears to be judging by the overall display at Chelsea. The Gunners have a chance to put that right when travelling to Cardiff City and Newcastle United over the few weeks, either side of the international break, before returning here to face Everton and Watford. The target from these next five matches will surely be 15 points from 15, getting them right back on track.
Arsenal are unbeaten in nine London derbies at the Emirates Stadium and lost just twice at home throughout the 2017-18 Premier League season. A totally new regime has to be factored in, of course, with Emery becoming the club's first new manager in 22 years, but on paper this is a game that the Gunners really should be winning. For that to happen, Aubameyang needs to get off the mark and Xhaka in particular also needs to show why he cost so much to sign a couple of years ago.
Questions remain over Ozil's place in this side, although Arsenal could have done with the German playmaker today - he has three goals and two assists in his last four meetings with West Ham. Plenty of focus will therefore be on the returning Ramsey, who has still yet to pen a contract extension and could yet be on his way out of North London before the end of next week. Those guilty of misfiring too often in the past need to stand up and be counted when it really matters.
PREVIOUS MEETINGS! The Gunners have lost just one of their last 22 meetings with West Ham United in all competitions, coming here on the opening day of the 2015-16 season. That was one of five away victories for the Hammers at Arsenal in the Premier League era, which only Manchester United (8) and Liverpool (7) can better.
Unai Emery has made a losing start to his Arsenal tenure, seeing his side slip to defeats at home to Manchester City and away to Chelsea. Zero points from six was always a possibility, though, with the Gunners being given the toughest start against the Premier League's last two champions. A more favourable run of fixtures are now ahead, beginning with this home match against West Ham United.
The Hammers may have won at the Emirates Stadium on a couple of occasions, but 28 defeats to the Gunners overall is their worst record against any Premier League side. Following defeats to Liverpool and Bournemouth across the opening two weekends of the season, new boss Manuel Pellegrini
really could have done with a nicer fixture today, but the Chilean will certainly not be fazed by the size of his challenge.
West Ham made Pellegrini the division's third-highest paid boss to lure him from China, before backing him with £100m in the transfer window. Ten new players arrived, many of them boasting serious quality for a team that battled relegation for a large part of last season, but Pellegrini has - understandably - been reluctant to throw them all in at once. In fact, Balbuena, Wilshere and Anderson are the only three players to feature in all 180 minutes thus far.
Losing heavily to Liverpool appears to be par for the course these days, and the Hammers will certainly not be the last side to ship four at Anfield this term. Throwing away a one-goal lead on home soil to comeback kings Bournemouth was harder to swallow, though, and it was a familiar atmosphere to last season around the London Stadium as many supporters headed for the exits early. Getting fans fully back on side is the biggest of Pellegrini's challenges.
Pellegrini acknowledged after the defeat to Bournemouth that his side need to improve all over the field, which is a pretty damning conclusion. Like with Emery at Arsenal, though, the Chilean was always likely going to need a bit of time to get comfortable while at the same time integrated an array of new players into the side. Lukasz Fabianski pleaded for patience earlier this week, but a run of defeats to start the season will leave supporters struggling to find positives.
United have conceded 74 Premier League goals since the start of the 2016-17 season - more than any other team in the division - but could the introduction of record signing Issa Diop in the heart of defence solver their problems? Time will tell on that front, and there will also be plenty of focus on Carlos Sanchez in the engine room. The Colombian hardly set the top flight alight during his time at Aston Villa, but any sort of defensive midfielder is an improvement on what the Hammers already had in that department.
DID YOU KNOW? Manuel Pellegrini has won just one of his 11 previous meetings with Arsenal in all competitions - a 6-3 victory as Manchester City manager in December 2013. The Chilean, who won the Premier League title with the Citizens in 2014, will be hoping to avoid Avram Grant's unwanted record of four successive losses to begin his Hammers reign.
Slow starts are certainly nothing new for the East London outfit, though, as they have already lost their opening three league matches twice this decade, compared to just five times between 1920 and 2010. This is, though, the first time that both Arsenal and West Ham have both lost back-to-back at the start of a season - something has to give in that regard over the next couple of hours.
PREDICTION! Arsenal and West Ham United are in desperate need of lift-off after making losing starts to life under Emery and Pellegrini respectively. The Gunners played some good football at times at Stamford Bridge last time out and should, judging by the Hammers' opening two games, finally get off the mark this afternoon in a fixture that they tend to do well in.
With kickoff in North London now just a couple of minutes away, let us check out some pre-match thoughts from both camps.
Unai Emery: "After the first two matches, we have two defeats and we need to win this match against West Ham. I think it's very important to show a better performance than in the two first matches. We are preparing well, I am feeling well when I look at the players in training every day."
Manuel Pellegrini: "You can see what happened at Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson finished. There have been a lot of different players, no titles, a lot of criticism. They were so used to winning with that manager, but when you make a change it is not easy. I think that Arsenal are going through the same thing."
KICKOFF: Arsenal get us up and running at the Emirates Stadium in this clash between two pointless sides. Just one defeat in 22 outings for the Gunners against their London rivals, and three points are required today if they are to kickstart their campaign.
Guendouzi is getting on the ball early on, which is not at all surprising going by his previous two competitive outings in an Arsenal shirt. The youngster had 139 touches in those two games - more than any other Premier League player prior to this weekend.
Carlos Sanchez, making his first start for West Ham this afternoon, shows exactly what he is all about as he puts a boot in on Guendouzi and halts Arsenal's attacking move. United defended the free kick and should have done better on the counter.
Arsenal are looking narrow early on and not quite at full flow in terms of their passing movement. The Gunners are dominating possession but have not really done much with it in the final third at this early stage in proceedings.
Ramsey moves out to the right and Mkhitaryan through the middle. The ball is worked nicely to the Armenian playmaker and, after not being closed down after a couple of seconds, he blasts a shot goalwards that is blocked away.
A good spell for the visitors, as Michail Antonio takes on his man down the left and then squares it to Robert Snodgrass. Fredericks is there on the overlap but cannot quite pull it back for one of his teammates in a central position.
SAVE! A brilliant save from Lukasz Fabianski keeps West Ham on level terms. Hector Bellerin pulled the ball back for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whose clean shot was heading for the back of the net if not for Fabianski's intervention. Ramsey heads in the rebound but was offside.
SHOT! Marko Arnautovic, captaining United today, is slipped in behind and belts the ball into the side-netting. The Arsenal backline was too high and that is not the first time they have been caught out today.
Other than that Mkhitaryan shot that was well kept out by Fabianski, Arsenal have yet to get going today. West Ham are the side looking the more dangerous at the minute, and they should probably be in front through that Arnautovic chance.
Arsenal's backline is looking far too disjointed in the opening quarter of this match. Ryan Fredericks blocks Nacho Monreal's cross into the box and caught his opponent in the process, leaving the Spaniard in a little discomfort.
Nacho Monreal is now back on the field following some treatment. Shkodran Mustafi plays Felipe Anderson onside down the right, but the West Ham attacker could not pick out a teammate. West Ham still yet to register an attempt on goal.
West Ham are getting plenty of players back behind the ball to make it difficult for their opponents to find a way through. It has been a very quiet game thus far, with just the one shot on target at either end - Mkhitaryan testing Fabianski 10 minutes ago.
GOAL! ARSENAL 0-1 WEST HAM UNITED (MARKO ARNAUTOVIC)
First blood to West Ham United in this London derby! Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic exchanged passes on the edge of the Arsenal box, before the latter tucked the ball out of Petr Cech's reach. Bad defending from the hosts, and I wonder whether Petr Cech could have got down to the ball a little quicker.
Arnautovic will feel a lot better after tucking away that half-chance, having squandered a much better opening early in the game. Arsenal have not got out of first gear and are facing a third successive defeat to kick off the season.
GOAL! ARSENAL 1-1 WEST HAM UNITED (NACHO MONREAL)
Arsenal have finally awoken! A huge sense of relief around the Emirates Stadium, as Hector Bellerin's cross is tipped by Lukasz Fabianski as far as Nacho Monreal, who controlled the ball and then thumped it home from close range.
SAVE! Ramsey had a shot from close range brilliantly blocked by Fredericks following some good play by Aubameyang in the moments leading up to that equaliser. A lot better from Arsenal since falling behind, but Michail Antonio was just played in behind and should have done better with his shot.
Mkhitaryan's deep cross has a little too much on it for Sokratis, who stayed up following a corner. On that previous chance for Michail Antonio, the Englishman was played through and did not realise how much time and space he had.
Following a quiet opening quarter to the match, it has been pretty gripping from the moment West Ham edged in front. A good response from Arsenal to level up, a week on from doing likewise from two goals behind at Stamford Bridge.
SAVE! This is a superb pass from Henrikh Mkhitaryan into the path of Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman looked to cross the ball rather than shoot, but a deflection took it goalwards and Fabianski had to make another save. West Ham counter and convert through Arnautovic, only for the offside flag to go up.
Looks as though Marko Arnautovic was marginally offside for that goal, so credit to the officials. Unai Emery must surely be concerned, though, because his side are looking far from comfortable with this high line.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has been on the periphery for large parts, is urged to shoot and just does that from 30 yards out. The ball was dipping and Lukasz Fabianski was a little concerned, but it ended just over the crossbar.
Aubameyang has been down receiving some treatment over the past couple of minutes. Arthur Masuaku caught his opponents on the shin with his studs and left Arsenal's leading striker in some pain. Might be one for Emery to monitor at the break.
Granit Xhaka catches Robert Snodgrass late and is fortunate to escape a booking. An incredibly stop-start end to this first half, but the referee is about to blow his whistle to bring the opening 45 minutes to a close.
HALF TIME: ARSENAL 1-1 WEST HAM UNITED
Robert Snodgrass fails to convert past Petr Cech from a one-on-one position and the first half comes to a close. For what feels like the 100th time in this first half, the Gunners' backline was caught flat as a slick passing move ended with the Scot clean through. The Gunners are fortunate to be going into the break all square.
Manuel Pellegrini handed full debuts to Issa Diop and Carlos Sanchez, but it was another of his summer signings who proved key early on as Lukasz Fabianski got right behind Henrikh Mkhitaryan's well-struck shot. A better chance went begging up the other end soon after as Marko Arnautovic fired into the side-netting when played through - the first of countless occasions that the Hammers failed to take full advantage of their opponents' high defensive line.
Arnautovic opened the scoring for the visitors from further back, though, sending the ball just out of Petr Cech's reach from 20 yards following an exchange of passes with Felipe Anderson. That setback managed to awake Arsenal as, a week on from dragging themselves back into the game from two goals down at Chelsea, they bounced back four minutes later here through a simple finish for Nacho Monreal at the back post.
Hector Bellerin played a big part in the goal with his cross from the right after getting in behind, and that was proving to be a big theme as a couple more big chances came and went for the Hammers. Michail Antonio was played through but elected to shoot early, only finding Cech with his attempt, while Robert Snodgrass also met his match in Cech from six yards out with only the goalkeeper to beat.
ARSENAL SUBS: Leno, Holding, Lichtsteiner, Elneny, Torreira, Welbeck, Lacazette
WEST HAM UNITED SUBS: Adrian, Rice, Zabaleta, Obiang, Yarmolenko, Lucas, Hernandez
KICKOFF: We are back under way at the Emirates Stadium, where there is news of a half-time sub to bring you. Many called for Alexandre Lacazette to start today; well he has been brought off the bench, in place of Alex Iwobi, for the second 45 minutes.
SAVE! West Ham's full-backs are getting high up the field early in this second half, so Pellegrini clearly feels that three points are there for the taking. Up the other end, Shkodran Mustafi's header was heading for the back of the net, if not for a good save from Lukasz Fabianski.
Marko Arnautovic had more time than he realised when thumping the ball wide of the target from inside the box. This has been a very evenly matched contest thus far, and there is no real sign of that changing as we head towards the hour mark.
SAVE! Pellegrini still has all three changes available to make, and we will likely see the first of those - possibly Hernandez if he is feeling brave - in the next 10 minutes. A good passing move from Arsenal ends with Lacazette's shot being easily kept out by Fabianski.
SAVE! The home side have looked a lot better in an attacking sense in this second period, with a few shots on target in the 10 minutes since the restart. A good opportunity for Arnautovic, too, but he hit the ball straight at Cech when picked out by Anderson.
ARSENAL SUB! Summer signing Lucas Torreira comes on as a second-half sub for the third game running, this time taking over from Matteo Guendouzi. Granit Xhaka will operate on the left of that two-man midfield.
SAVE! A good turn from Alexandre Lacazette and a decent shot at the end of it, but Lukasz Fabianski was equal to the effort. Nacho Monreal could not quite get on the end of the rebound. Javier Hernandez is now on for Arnautovic with 30 minutes to go.
A little over an hour played in North London and there is still little to separate the two sides. Arsenal have looked the livelier since the restart, but United have also had a couple of good openings and are good value for their point as things stand.
ARSENAL SUB! Another former Arsenal player is now on the pitch as Lucas Perez has come on for Michail Antonio. It looks as though Perez will play on one flank and Anderson on the other, with Snodgrass and Hernandez central.
Arsenal have had 70% of possession in the second half and have racked up four shots on target, only one of which truly tested Lukasz Fabianski in the West Ham goal. One change left to make from the bench for both managers.
Javier Hernandez opted to cross the ball rather than take it on himself, but the ball went right through the box - the wrong choice. The game is going through a quiet spell at the moment; neither team doing too much in the final third.
Nothing of note has happened for a good 10 minutes now at the Emirates Stadium. The game is still gripping enough, though, as there is little between the sides and plenty on the line. Will one of thee teams find a winner?
GOAL! ARSENAL 2-1 WEST HAM UNITED (ISSA DIOP, OWN GOAL)
Arsenal take the lead for the first time under the management of Unai Emery! Moments after Felipe Anderson had a shot saved by Petr Cech at one end, Arsenal were attacking down the other and got a huge slice of luck. Alexandre Lacazette's cross hit Issa Diop in the midriff and trickles past Lukasz Fabianski.
SHOT! Arsenal have pushed on since edging in front and nearly bagged a second. Aaron Ramsey raced in behind down the left and picked out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose shot was blocked right in front of goal.
Alexandre Lacazette is at full stretch but could not quite turn the ball goalwards in front of Lukasz Fabianski. Aubameyang then sent a shot down the middle, as this Arsenal onslaught continues - very one-sided since they went in front.
Here come those final changes - and it is much needed from United's perspective. Robert Snodgrass has faded over the last 15 minutes and is replaced by Andriy Yarmolenko, while Danny Welbeck
replaces Aubameyang for the hosts.
West Ham have struggled to put together any sort of attacking move since Issa Diop's own goal. Arsenal are now well on top and looking the more likely to score the game's fourth goal, which really would kill the Hammers off.
YELLOW CARD! Ryan Fredericks is cautioned for a trip, becoming the second West Ham player to enter the referee's book this afternoon - Issa Diop being the other. West Ham need to try and find some inspiration from somewhere; they have lacked it since Arnautovic went off with an injury.
Arsenal finding that the best form of defence is to attack at the moment. It has been pretty straightforward for Emery's men since edging in front, and they are now just 10 minutes or so from a first win under their new manager.
SAVE! Lukasz Fabianski is going to earn West Ham a fair few points this season. The former Arsenal stopper produces a good stop to keep out Aaron Ramsey's drive, which came through a number of bodies before reaching the target.
CHANCE! More brilliant play from Felipe Anderson on the counter. The winger slipped it through for Lucas Perez, who could only direct the ball wide of the far post when he had options alongside him. West Ham could easily have levelled up there.
After looking so comfortable for 15 minutes or so, Arsenal are now looking a little more nervous following that chance for Lucas Perez. Just a minute of normal time left to play, plus presumably four minutes added on by the referee at the end.
Andriy Yarmalenko could not quite get on the end of Felipe Anderson's cross, which went right the way across the face of goal. Arsenal could do with that full-time whistle now as the Hammers have finally managed to step things up.
GOAL! ARSENAL 3-1 WEST HAM UNITED (DANNY WELBECK)
Hector Bellerin squares the ball to Danny Welbeck, who had all the time in the world to convert past Lukasz Fabianski from five yards. The Gunners have won in the league for the first time under new boss Unai Emery!
FULL TIME: ARSENAL 3-1 WEST HAM UNITED
Arsenal get off the mark under new boss Unai Emery at the third attempt thanks to a 3-1 win over West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners trailed to a Marko Arnautovic goal, but a Nacho Monreal strike, Issa Diop own goal and Danny Welbeck tap-in ensured that the three points would be theirs.
That concludes Sports Mole
's live text coverage of events from the Emirates Stadium. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here
, and be sure to stick around for updates from the late kickoff
between Liverpool and Brighton. Thanks for joining!