Woeful West Ham bring their guilty away-day secret to Arsenal
Arsenal v West Ham, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, Saturday October 30, 3pm
ANYBODY surprised to see West Ham propping up the Premier League table need look no further than their miserable away record that has seen them fail to win for their last 22 games.
The first game of last season, August 15, 2009, was the last time the Hammers headed back to east London with three points, courtesy of a 2-0 at Wolves.
Since then they have been beaten 14 times and drawn eight games on their travels, the kind of run that makes it fairly miraculous that they are still coming to places like Emirates Stadium this season.
Having stayed up with a meagre 35 points last term, well short of the benchmark 40, this season Hammers cannot rely on teams going down as meekly as the likes of Portsmouth, Hull and Burnley last time around.
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One win from nine games has not been the best of starts for Avram Grant, who seems to have jumped from frying pan into fire by swapping the chaos of Fratton Park for the uncertainty in east London.
New owners David Gold and David Sullivan are not short of an opinion, and Grant could be on borrowed time if things do not improve soon.
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The sack would be harsh on the Israeli, who has mainly dealt in bargain and loan signings since taking over from Gianfranco Zola in the summer. That said, the spine of the side that should play on Saturday is both experienced and strong, with Robert Green in goal, former Gunner Matthew Upson the captain at the back alongside Manuel Da Costa, English duo Mark Noble and Scott Parker more than capable of winning a battle in midfield and Frederic Piquionne, Carlton Cole and Inter Milan loanee Victor Obinna among the striking options.
But the rest of the squad is struggling to match up, with only seven goals scored and 17 conceded the toxic mix of not enough goals scored and too many conceded leaves the Hammers rock bottom.
Salvation could come in the form of Kieron Dyer, who has impressed in recent displays and may get the nod at the Emirates, where he scored a fine individual goal on his last appearance, for Newcastle in 2006. His side drew on that occasion, but they are unlikely to do so tomorrow.
Arsenal 3 West Ham 0