16 min: Bowen goes down in the Arsenal box. Penalty? No, he was too obviously looking for it, and fell over Gabriel’s leg. Rob Holding breathes easy; his loose pass led to that scare.
14 min: West Ham much better organised than last week. That’s a plus. Antonio has a shot, but it’s not enough to beat Leno at his near post.
12 min: There is a break for VAR but nobody knows quite why. Referee Michael Oliver waves on play in any case. Clear as mud.
10 min: Arsenal not impressive here. West Ham ought to be relatively happy, though they perhaps lack a bit of quality.
8 min: West Ham free-kick. Cresswell takes it short and Rice whacks it off the wall for a corner. The corner is cleared then Lacazette fouls Cresswell. West Ham keep winning territory. But their set pieces have not been up to much. Ogbonna clears Cresswell’s free-kick.
6 min: Gabriel falters, and Jarrod Bowen almost steals in. Arsenal’s defence has not exactly looked rock solid.
4 min: Masuaku forces a corner, having made a long run down the byline. Rice rises to head it down and Ogbonna stoops to nod into Leno’s arms. A half-chance.
3 min: Willian and Lacazette link up in the West Ham box, only for the French striker’s touch to fail him. Had he controlled that properly a goal seemed highly likely.
1 min: David Moyes looks antsy on the sidelines. His pre-match interview as a tad moribund too. The fake Arsenal crowd are roaring on their heroes at the empty Emirates.
And away we go….
The players take the knee and West Ham get us underway.
The teams take to the field and a blast of the Premier League’s atonal new anthem greets them. It’s a classic of the corporate genre.
Some news: Kieran Tierney has pulled up in the warm-up and has been replaced by Sead Kolasinac, who is getting instructions from new boy Gabriel.
Mikel Arteta says it’s been a good news week, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing his new deal. He also says West Ham can be “a dangerous team”.
David Moyes says Mark Noble, his missing captain, has a toe injury, and has not recovered yet after having an injection.
Robert Lin has a prediction: “Expect a comfortable win for the Gunners tonight with some silky attacking football. I’ll say 3-0 with Auba and Laca both on the scoresheet.”
And the latest on Crisis FC from Jacob Steinberg.
A couple of lines from this week from the excellent Nick Ames.
Arsenal: Leno, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Bellerin, Ceballos,
Xhaka, Saka, Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Subs: Maitland-Niles, Pepe, Luiz, Elneny, Nketiah, Kolasinac, Macey.
West Ham: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell,
Soucek, Rice, Bowen, Fornals, Masuaku, Antonio.
Subs: Balbuena, Yarmolenko, Felipe Anderson, Lanzini, Haller, Johnson, Randolph.
Referee: Michael Oliver (England)
Let’s face it, a West Ham win here would be a severe shock. Last week against Newcastle they were hopeless, and the best thing that could be said was that at least the fans were not there to watch them at the London Stadium. David Moyes’ is an unhappy ship while Arsenal’s garden is relatively rosy after their 3-0 win at Fulham last week. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing up to a contract extension has also lifted spirits further for the FA Cup winners. It is five long years since Dimitri Payet inspired a 2-0 win at Emirates and a repeat of that would probably be one of the biggest surprises of the entire 2020-21 season.