Arsenal 3-1 West Ham United – Premier League review
Irons eventually got rusted…..
This wasn’t sexy football. It was winning ugly – and how.
It was good to win this relegation six-pointer though, wasn’t it?
Senor Emery got his first win as our new head coach, and it wasn’t easy. I didn’t agree with the narrative in some quarters, as this would be an easy win for us. West Ham may not have many players, who would get in our team nor the other top six, but then they too had issues, and it was never going to be easy.
And it wasn’t. West Ham played well, and should have got a draw.
We looked to get the ball forward, but our attacking play was limp somewhat. We had a goal ruled out for offside early on, and it’s pretty much that West Ham and ourselves had some good chances. Iwobi did well on the left, and Mkhi did on the right, and got some low crosses in their box.
Moreover, old boy Wilshere contributed to some chances for the Irons, such as Snodgrass, Anderson, and the goal from Arnautovic. Maybe he was channelling his Stoke form against us, but then he cut in slightly from the left and hit a low drive past Cech.
We did well to equalise a few minutes afterwards, when Bellerin beat the defender to get a cross in. It was missed initially, but Monreal managed to connect with the loose ball, and it was 1-1.
Overall, the result was fair at this point, as both ourselves and West Ham had some good chances.
The evenness of the game continued, with good chances to both sides.
Anderson was providing good width on their left, and managed to get some sound crosses in, which the defence handled capably for the most part.
However, we got in front after Lacazette’s introduction, and via a Diop own-goal.
West Ham still had some chances, and were looking to equalise themselves, but then lacked the cutting edge to convert.
Our third came again from good work from Bellerin, and he found an unmarked Welbeck to score.
Overall, the game was not classic “sexy football”. But it was ugly in appearance, but beautiful in the fact we got a win. And arguably in a weaker performance vis a vis City and Chelsea.
I thought this game was in parts boring, and scrappy. Whilst the chances were plentiful for both teams, I believe we had more of them, and on that basis deserved to win. Another positive is that we showed good resilience when we go behind. We did vs. Chelsea, and we did here again today.
However, it was not very flowing, and we were in fairness more clinical than West Ham. Had this been Liverpool/Salah, or City again, or dare I say it Spurs/Kane, it could have been curtains very early. West Ham don’t have many top six worthy players, but today they played very well, and from their standpoint could have thought they warranted a draw.
We used to win ugly on occasion under Wenger. But now under Emery, this was apparent here.
The defence was mixed. Organisationally, we still have problems persisting from the latter Wenger era. Granted, these won’t disappear overnight. However, they were evident here, as they were vs. City and Chelsea. There were also some good clearances, tackles, and headers in crucial moments. Individually, our defenders are not that bad, but collectively we need some work and it will take time to enhance and improve. Sokratis and Mustafi, and again individually, did fine on occasion. They were able to deal with the crosses West Ham provided.
Passing from the back was fine, and none of the defenders made any critical errors. It seems that the players are learning, and developing, and akin to other facets of our play, it will take time to institute.
The midfield was scrappy, but did well to press and win the ball back. Their pressing was good too, and I think this midfield battle contributed to the dullness of the game. The pressing overall was capable too, both in terms of midfield and attack.
Welbz did well when he came on, and his goal was well-taken. Lacazette too was fine, but PEA has been poor in the three games thus far. I believe he’s not been getting the service, and most of his goals last season were from penalties (we haven’t had one yet), or throughballs. Our attacking play was a mix of crosses and interplay in front of the box, and this doesn’t suit PEA’s strengths. He will come good, but it’s something Emery needs to encourage.
The game was ugly – but to get the win was beautiful.