Pellegrini: Maybe Arsenal will be ‘nervous’ or ‘desperate’

Sarah Winterburn

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has been speculating about the possible mental state of Arsenal’s players ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash.

The Chilean has picked up no points as Hammers boss from two games while Unai Emery has lost both his opening games at Arsenal.

The pair meet on Saturday at the Emirates and Pellegrini admitted: “I prefer to play against a big team when you are in your best moment.

“Maybe they will be nervous, maybe they will be desperate to win their first game, so I cannot know the reaction of Arsenal’s players at the moment.

“Emery is a manager who has done well in Spain and in winning the UEFA Europa League and his teams always play good football, so I expect he will do the same at Arsenal.”

Pellegrini confirmed that Lucas Perez could feature against his former employers while he will also consider Issa Diop, Carlos Sanchez and Anton Cresswell.

“We have a good squad, and it is impossible for them all to play when they are nearly all fit. I need the options available to me for the whole season.”

He also kept the door ajar for Ryan Fredericks, Declan Rice and Michail Antonio, all of whom were dropped from the squad after the opening-day defeat to Liverpool.

“We have most of the squad fit and that means some players will not play. I don’t think they played bad at Liverpool. There are a lot of reasons why I change the starting XI.”

He also reiterated that he was happy with the Hammers’ first-half performance against the Cherries, saying: “I think we improved a lot in the second game, especially in the first 45 minutes, when we played how I want us to play.

“When we conceded, we had a lot of fear about losing the game. I have said before that we have to change that and I think that will improve.”