Harry Fitzpatrick > After a disappointing defeat in Manchester on Sunday, attention quickly turns to the next game. Sunday’s performance was extremely poor, with some fans questioning Moyes’ tactics where he seemed to set up for a 0-0 draw from kick off. Gary Neville on commentary was particularly vocal in his disapproval of West Ham’s set up.
The chance to rectify that below-par showing comes at home against Arteta’s Arsenal. It is another tough fixture but one that we need to pick up points from. Arsenal are currently down in 10th with only an outside shot at a Europa League place through the league. They played Olympiacos on Thursday evening and did rest some players given the advantage they had heading into the game. They will also be on a high after their North London Derby win on Sunday, so their league position does not tell the full story. However, Arsenal have always got a mistake in them with a shaky defence and midfielders who are very error prone, so I fancy us to score. I see Antonio being too much of a nuisance for David Luiz and the returning Lingard has the ability to cause Xhaka all kinds of problems. I would bank on a 2-1 win with the dangerous Saka causing Cresswell problems down our left-hand side.
We have a two-week break after Arsenal’s visit due to the international break. We return to League action at Molineux on a Monday night. Wolves’ have endured their first poor season since returning to the topflight in 2018 and lie in 13th, comfortably safe from relegation but too far back to mount a challenge for the top six. They have clearly missed Diogo Jota since his move to Anfield in September. This coupled with the loss of Raul Jimenez to a serious head injury earlier in the season has limited their attacking play. Their signing of Fabio Silva has not provided them with the goals they expected. They are currently 16th in terms of goals scored level with Newcastle. A win is a necessity here to maintain our European push. Wolves’ keeper Rui Patricio is potentially injured after a horrible head injury on Monday further increasing our hopes. A comfortable West Ham win to nil is my prediction. 3-0.
To round off our next three games is a visit from Leicester to the London Stadium. Brendan Rodgers will be keen for revenge after the 3-0 humbling in the reverse fixture but will be with a weakened team. The tricky Harvey Barnes had his season cut short after sustaining a knee injury that required surgery, which also cost him his place on the plane for Southgate’s Euro’s squad. The game could also come too early for the in-form James Maddison, who has been out with a hip injury. Promising full back James Justin is definitely out with an ACL injury. They have found a way to cope with these injuries and worse at times this season, but it was at a similar stage last season that their form fell off and they eventually plummeted out of the top 4 places on the final day. Moyes would love to kickstart a repeat performance this year. It will be a tough game, and I see the points being shared, however if Masuaku and Ogbonna return for selection they could provide the extra edge to steal the points.
It is another tough run of games, but they are all matches where we can collect points. Seven points is the minimum if we want to keep the top four push on, with five being the minimum we should manage. There is no reason why we can’t kick on and pick up all nine with a little luck and good performances. I back Moyes to correct his errors from the weekend and keep us in the hunt.