In the penultimate Wenger home league game, we got a nervy win vs. West Ham.
The scoreline doesn’t suggest it was easy. the first half showed a strong West Ham performance, considering they needed the points amidst being in a relegation battle.
We didn’t really look sharp in the opening moments, and West Ham were playing the ball around well.
Aubameyang was on the bench, with Welbeck, Lacazette, and Iwobi up front.
Koscielny came back alongside Mustafi, and Ospina replaced an injured Petr Cech. Bellerin came back in at right-back.
At half-time, the game was mooted, but we didn’t really show much effort and impetus, and West Ham had a few good scoring opportunities.
The second-half was different, since we upped the tempo, and managed to score from a corner via Monreal. He was unmarked in the area, and hit a low left-foot drive past Joe Hart.
Despite bossing the first part of the second half, they equalised through Arnautovic and were boosted on the substitutions of Chicharito.
The goal was through bad defending on our part, as Arnautovic was free in the area.
Ramsey put us ahead through a cross/shot mix since I don’t believe he meant to score from that position. PEA was in the area, but it seems the West Ham defence/Hart misjudged the ball trajectory,or a s the BBC kindly suggested was not dealt with and it was 2-1.
Lacazette gained a brace, and in the end, we looked good for the win. It was not vintage, nor clinical, but we got the win nonetheless. So onwards and upwards to the Europa League Semi-Final so take advantage of Promo Betfirst
I think our attacking play, especially in the first half, was poor. We played too narrow, lacked width, were too intricate in front of goal. The next manager, whoever he is, needs to focus on more latter third efficiency. We should shoot on sight, since it may not go in, but it would be the most efficient use of the ball at that time. Football is simple, and it’s ultimately based on sound decision-making. There is no need to look for a pass, when the goal is in sight and it could test the keeper (even one as overrated as Joe Hart).
That said, this game echoed those vs. Soton, WBA, Stoke, and a few others, since they all had good chances. Our attacking play in the end, however, was too much for them. And we were clinical when required.
PEA on the bench was a peculiar decision, however, when introduced he looked to create. I do believe he is wasted, or not utilised fully, as a wide-man. However, he did try to affect the game once he was on.
Ospina (6) – Didn’t have much to do, and the goal wasn’t his fault.
Bellerin (5) – Defensively was OK, and did try to get forward when needed
Mustafi (5) – Showed more errors, and needs to see if the new manager can provide more stable coaching
Monreal (7) – Scored a great goal, and was consistent as always.
Koscielny (6) – Was fine throughout, and handled the West Ham attack well
Xhaka (6) – Tried to link play up
Elneny (7) – Was stable, though apparently, his injury is only a rolled/sprained ankle. Hopefully, he can make the 2nd leg of the Europa League and the World Cup.
Iwobi (4) – I like him, but he needs serious direction. Akin to Mustafi, we need to see if the new manager will him help.
Welbeck (7) – Was his usual high-work rate self.
Lacazette (7) – A great brace. Didn’t do much until then, but then showed his finishing prowess.
Ramsey – (7) – Scored a great goal, albeit unexpected.
Chambers – (5) – Didn’t have time to impact the game
PEA – (7) – Looked good, and provided the impetus for Lacazette to score. The combinations looks promising as it did early on last week v Newcastle
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (6) – Look composed, but his distribution at times was not the best.
Man of the match
Despite many critiques, I believe “dat guy” did well today. He showed his usual pace, power, and energy, and was key in all of our goals.