Cottee: Why Arsenal first up is a great start for West Ham

Upton Park

Former West Ham United striker Tony Cottee does't feel his old side facing Arsenal on the opening day of next season is a burden.

Former West Ham United striker Tony Cottee told the club’s website why he thinks it’s a good thing that the Hammers take on Arsenal on the opening day of the 2015/2016 Premier League season.

The official fixture lists for each Premier League club were released yesterday and Slaven Bilic has been handed a trip to the Emirates Stadium for his first Premier League game in charge of the club.

However, Cottee feels it’s a fixture with a silver lining for the club and a challenge which Bilic should look to relish.

“I always believe if you’re going to play the big boys, you’re better off playing them early in the season when they’ve perhaps not found their rhythm,” he said.

“Arsenal don’t always get out of the blocks that quickly, particularly last season, they had a very sluggish start, so let’s hope we can get them on an off day.”

Arsenal finished last season in good form, comprehensively beating West Brom on the final day and seeing off Aston Villa in the FA Cup final.

However, by the time the next round of Premier League games kick-off, it would have been a very long break for the Gunners since their last competitive fixture.

West Ham will head into the match with a new boss, a new style, a new philosophy and new players.

It will be a difficult game for Arsenal to prepare for because they’ll have little to base West Ham on and the side, which features for the Hammers in the qualifying round of the Europa League is likely to be different to the one that features in the Premier League.

It’s a game where not many are going to give West Ham a chance, but they have nothing to lose ad everything to gain.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch