Arsenal welcomes West Ham to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday for their first Premier League match of the 2015/2016 season.
Despite the Gunners being in fine form following their brilliant performances in pre-season, the match against the two London clubs is expected to be a cracker.
Here are four things we would need to do to ensure we beat the visitor this weekend.
1. Start Giroud in centre forward
Recently, Theo Walcott has been the preferred choice upfront for a large section of Arsenal fans; but on Sunday, we are going to face a side who will sit deep with their tall centre defenders like against Chelsea.
And even though West Ham have become more attacking minded under Slaven Bilic, facing a team like Arsenal would see them do more defending than attacking.
Walcott obviously doesn’t have the physical strength to match, nor the height to pose any aerial threat as Olivier Giroud would; Giroud will hassle the center backs, creating space for those behind him to shoot, and would be on hand to get headers.
2. Beware of counter attacks
West Ham being expected to sit deep will rely heavily on counter attacks with their pacy wingers on hand to cause the Arsenal defence problems.
3. The wings must be used
With the physicality of the West Ham team, playing a narrow game would just suit them.
For Arsenal to penetrate, two wingers will be needed to stretch the Hammers backline wide, allowing Mesut Ozil space in the middle. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott would be the preferred options to add pace and crosses to the attack while also being able to chip in goals when given the opportunity.
4. First half goals still does it for us
If our performance for the bulk of last season and the just concluded pre-season games is anything to go by, we always have the upper hand when we score in the first half.