Saturday, August 25

Poor finishing costs Hammers result at Emirates

Arsenal 3 West Ham 1

We really should have got something from this. I’m up among the Gooners for this, sitting opposite the West Ham fans in the Library. 

Ramsey has an early header correctly disallowed for the Gunners. But West Ham, wearing the new blue and yellow away kit, play pretty well in the first half, looking speedy on the break through Masuaku, Antonio, Fredericks and the excellent Anderson. Sanchez has come into midfield for the injured Noble and does the simple things well in front of the back four.

The home fans become frustrated with Arsenal’s tactic of Cech playing the ball short to his centre backs, both rapidly pressed by the Hammers forward line. After Arnie hits the side netting following a fine through ball from Snodgrass and Antonio shoots straight at Cech, the Hammers take the lead on 25 minutes. Anderson plays a one two with Arnautovic, leaving the Austrian plenty of time to slot into the corner of the net.

“How shit must you be, we’re winning away!” chant the away fans. The Irons don’t keep the lead for long enough though. Five minutes later Bellerin is given space to cross and the ball flicks off Iwobi to Monreal who finishes. Before the break West Ham have more chances with Arnie having an effort disallowed for offside and then Snodgrass fluffing a one-on-one as Wes Ham walk through the home defence.

Lacazette comes on for the Gunners and makes a difference. Fabianski has to make a couple of fine saves, most notably from Mustafi's header. Anderson's shot ricochets off Cech and Arnie injures himself as he fails to connect properly after a great Anderson break and cross. Hernandez replaces him as Pellegrini pops up in the technical area looking like Peter Capaldi trying to apply a sonic screwdriver to Arnie’s injured knee. But on 70 minutes the Gunners score a rather fortuitous second as Diop's sliced clearance causes confusion in the box and Lacazette’s chip into the box is luckily deflected in off Diop’s body.

Surely WHU can still grab an equaliser? The worst miss is when more good work from Anderson sees sub Perez shoot across the Arsenal goal. Crosses still come into the Arsenal box in added time, only for the Gunners to break and Welbeck to have an unacceptable amount of time and space to score, after Masuaku allows a cross to come in too easily.

It’s a flattering score for the Gunners. But there were signs here that this group of players could develop into a decent team, while Anderson looks like he will be a delight to watch. The defence needs to improve and the partnership of Balbuena and Diop is a work in progress, while Masuaku gets exposed in a back four. There might be a case for playing five at the back to shore things up, as with Anderson we now have a player who can break at speed. We just need to learn how to finish. A bad result, but a better performance.

PLAYER RATINGS: Fabianski 7: Fredericks 6, Diop 5, Balbuena 6, Masuaku 5; Snodgrass 5 (Yarmolenko 5), Sanchez 6, Wilshere 5, Anderson 8, Antonio 6 (Perez 5); Arnautovic 7 (Hernandez 5).


Rob Graham said...

Good review of the game, while I am trying not to panic its hard being bottom of the table, but as you say there was a lot to feel optimistic about and we did look good to watch (away!).
Fingers crossed we will become a good team under MP and the players have to get confidence again.
As supporters we need to build out confidence which is also low, but we have been doing this the hard way for the last 25 years so we do know turn its possible to turn things around.
Think I am over for the Man U game just the sort of game we could win! COYI

Pete May said...

Yes, it will take time. Like you I'm more optimistic when we play good teams and nothing much to lose... we really could have had three or four goals at Arsenal. Though playing three defenders with no PL experience is a worry...