An unwanted connection between West Ham and Arsenal

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Carroll against ArsenalWest Ham face former title-contenders Arsenal at an interesting time in both teams’ seasons. West Ham have won six of their last ten games, whilst Arsenal are ‘enjoying’ the fourth worst form in the Premier League, having won but three in ten.

It’s natural to think that based on form alone, we could get something out of this game, but I can’t help but be a little nervous about what’s going on away from the stadia and closer to the training ground. For me, my thoughts are turning to science— sports science, to be exact.

Think of teams drastically affected by injury this season, and your thoughts would not stray far from West Ham United and Arsenal. Both teams have experienced a run of horrific bad luck when it comes to players’ fitness, and each have dropped mass amounts of points as a result.

West Ham didn’t exactly get off to a cracking start to the season, but we hit new lows over the winter period when we lost the use of Andy Carroll, Ricardo Vaz Te, Mladen Petric, Matthew Taylor, Razvan Rat, Winston Reid, Joey O’Brien, James Collins, Alou Diarra, and George McCartney, which led to us suffering a serious dip in form.

Admittedly, not everyone was injured at the exact same time, but the majority of them were— plus we also saw injuries to Joe Cole and Stewart Downing in and around the same period of time.

For Arsenal, the injury issue has been similar and equally as heartbreaking for their supporters. Arsenal were off to a flying start to the season and seemed certain to force a close finish for the title . Unfortunately for them, injuries to their squad have resulted in a terrible turn of form for the Gunners.

At the time of writing, they are reported to be missing Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Ryo Miyaichi, and Abou Diaby with the potential to also have Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Serge Gnabry sidelined by knocks for the West Ham game. Add in the suspended Mathieu Flamini, and that Aaron Ramsey is only just returning from a lengthy injury spell, and you can see where Arsenal’s terrible run of results have come from.

Both clubs have been rocked by injury, with the only difference being when each respective teams injuries began— and here’s where things get interesting. Ramsey and Walcott were injured in late 2013 and early 2014 respectively, but it is evident that the majority of injuries to Arsenal’s side came after mid-January.

Similarly, West Ham’s injuries began to clear up around that time, and at the time of writing, we are only without O’Brien and McCartney (and possibly Collins) owing to injury. Knock on wood, but our injury woes have improved drastically since mid-January.

Here’s where the West Ham and Arsenal injury connection comes in. In mid- January, Head of Sports Medicine and Sports Science Andy Rolls left West Ham to become a physiotherapist at Arsenal. Keeping in mind that at the time the Guardian referred to us as “injury-cursed West Ham,” it’s surprising that Arsenal snapped him up. He might just be the unluckiest man in the world to coincide his career with two clubs’ terrible injury spells, but might there be something more to it? Is this a strange coincidence, or is something not right with the way players have been conditioned in this instance?

I feel for Arsenal, as it’s a terrible feeling to know your team could do so much better at full strength, but at the same time, I’m so grateful that the Hammers are now in a much stronger, and fitter position. Could be luck, could be science, but either way I’ll be disappointed if we don’t take something from the Arsenal game.

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  • JB says:

    Yes Emily, and I don’t want to put a dampener on West Ham’s seemingly premature celebrations & planning for next season just yet, as with all of the talk of who we may bring in in the transfer window, just relect on the fact , that Arsenal will be hot favourites to win tomorrow night’s derby clash, so before everyone gets carried away with thoughts on apparent safety for Premier League survival, how are people going to feel if we get zero points at the Emirates tomorow, & then Fulham get their 3rd win in a row at Spurs in Saturday’s early kick off, & Fulham go to 33 points with the possibility that Norwich pick up a point at home to Liverpool on Sunday. If we don’t get anything from Arsenal, or Palace this Saturday, then we could be only 4 points off of the relegation zone with 3 games left, being at West Brom, at home to Spurs & Man City away, so the point I am making, is that I think West Ham should really go off of their brains tomorrow night in an all out effort to get points, then and only then, being when we have another win under our belts, will I feel we can confidently plan for next season. Regardless of how many games Arsenal or West Ham have won in the last 10, that counts for nothing, Arsenal are THE mighty Arsenal & will be red hot favourites to win, and I will be very surprised if we get anything out of this game. What might work in our favour is that Arsenal had a grueling 2 hour battle at Wembley on Saturday, with this fixture coming just 3 days after. Arsenal will also be feeling a bit overwhelmed at the fact that Everton have leapfrogged over them & into 4th place & ease off of the gas as they won on Saturday & may be happy to focus on cup success, BUT, that final is over 1 month away, so don’t be surprised if Wenger hasn’t got them all fired up to grab 4th spot back? Which they will with a victory tomorrow night. I don’t like it. Palace are firing. West Brom gave Spurs a hell of a time on Saturday & were moments away from winning. Spurs will be going for as high a finish for the Europa League as possible, & Man City on the last day of the season? Say no more! We must stay focused & not let our heads go up in the sky thinking we are safe. WE ARE NOT!!!

    • JB says:

      What did I tell you? The media has the psychological battle with Arsenal won for Arsenal already (checked the BBC website match report eh? The media & world-wide fans all love the big 4 or big clubs. They have no loyalty, they just follow the money. That world-wide psychological following is powerfull, as it was against Livepool last weekend. Around the world they love the big clubs. WE ARE HARDLY EVEN KNOWN ABOUT). Their depth of squad is great. They are reported to have 3 previously injured stars returning back from injury. They have won all of the last 6 encounters against us. We haven’t beaten Arsenal since our win at the Emirates in 2007. They are red hot favourites to just BRUSH US ASIDE. The psychological war of the media is powerful. According to them we have lost all ready. Be prepared for the battle of your life West Ham as our Premier League lives may well depend on it. Arsenal’s doesn’t. All’s they want is their money bags little 4th spot back so that their gravy train can continue, as it has for the past 16 years of Champions league football. We WANT 3 points. Stoke on 43 pts are safe. West Ham on 37 ARE NOT! I have always hated Arsenal. I prefer to give them a more apt name of Ar**holes. Go for their throats & bloody well kill these stuffed shirt, big headed money bags. I love watching Wenger groveling with his touchline gyrations. Do them hammers. We hate them with all of our might.

  • JB says:

    IN OTHER WORDS, ARSENAL WANT THEIR CAKE & EAT IT. DON’T LET THEM WEST HAM COYI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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