Honeymoon bubble bursts!
West Ham 1-0 Arsenal
A trip to the worst football ground in the country as Arsenal went all cockney at the London 'Athletics' Stadium to face the Irons! A must win if Arsenal wanted to keep pace with the top four. The team news showed the same eleven that had struggled to get past Fulham including three defenders on the bench, Ozil again missing despite being fit. Emery obviously feeling there was enough creativity and guile in the squad to put this West Ham side which included panto villain, Sami Na$ri, to bed.
After a cagey start from both teams the home side were nearly silenced on 13 mins. Good work from Aubameyang in midfield feeding Iwobi who dithered until a West Ham challenge played in Lacazette. With Aubameyang now free in the box for a tap in the Frenchman went it alone and ultimately put his chance over the bar.
West Ham's best work was all going through Sami Na$ri, first a good one two which saw him miss when he probably should of scored...( a fitter Na$ri would have finished).. then another chance as he set up Anderson for a shot on the edge of the box that just fizzed wide. (No sign of any defensive Arsenal midfielder either!).
Most of Arsenal's best work was from outside the area as they struggled to penetrate a well drilled West Ham defence. As good as Iwobi think's he is, he's no winger and on the other side the best option was Maitland Niles, a CM at best. Arsenal choosing to rely on cut backs from wing backs. All that being said, Guendouzi started a six pass move from one end of the pitch to the other which resulted in a glorious shot, missing inches from the top corner. Would have been a worldy!
The final chance of the half fell to West Ham from a corner, which Arsenal haven't really conceded from all season, that has a lot to do with poor finishing rather than any defensive nouse and they got away with it again as Rice, hardly challenged by Mustafi, rose as free as a salmon but headed wide. 0-0 HT, #phew!
No changes this time by Emery and that seemed to spur West Ham on at the start of the second half, they started with more purpose and drive and with the interval bubbles still in the air, Mustafi went to ground on Anderson when Guendouzi was covering. This stupid challenge ultimately ended up at a corner which Arsenal failed to clear properly, still not getting to the second ball or the resulting cross. Xhaka being the first line of defending did what Xhaka does, get nothing on the header and place it straight to Na$ri. The soft header was easily controlled and passed to the impressive Rice who made no mistake, curling the ball into the roof of the net. Leno, no chance. 1-0 to the Hammers.
Arsenal nearly responded in the 64th minute, good work between Iwobi and Kolasinac on the left finding Aubameyang in front of the West Ham defence with the keeper to beat, ...he skied it!
Another miss to add to the growing catalogue and ultimately decisive on the day. Three minutes later and Iwobi got in on the act, although not as straight forward, there was never any confidence in his chance finding the bottom corner, just wide in a five minute purple patch for the Gunners.
That really was the game there. A lot of huffing, puffing, energy, possession and subs made but no real chances were mustered apart from a goal rightly ruled offside for a Koscielny diving header. Desperate stuff!
A poor result, poor set up and poor from Emery. The Ozil zit needs to be squeezed, if he's not going to be used, sell him and reinvest in the squad, what Arsenal don't need is another saga and a sulking German infecting his misery on the players. Arsenal are in a situation where they have a centre-forward desperate for assists, the biggest assister sitting at home playing Fortnite and an attacking CM coming off the bench who's head is in Italy, whilst a disorganised defence playing in a three one week then four the next struggles against poor opposition. A bonkers place to be, meanwhile in the US, KSE Holdings watch on as the LA RAMS march on towards the Super Bowl aided by Silent Stan...... #choices
Positives: Maybe some change will come after this result, why not try some kids?
Negatives: Zero creativity
Leno: Little to do, could do nothing with the goal. 7/10
Maitland-Niles: Struggled at both ends, not the answer. 6/10
Mustafi: Went to ground.... AGAIN. 5/10
Koscielny: Looks off the pace. 5/10
Sokratis: Solid enough, need help or better partners. 7/10
Kolasinac: Ok going forward, missing in defence. 5/10
Xhaka: Another assist for the opposition. 6/10
Guendouzi: Runs a lot, needs coaching. 7/10
Iwobi: Probably the most dangerous player, but zero end product. 7/10
Aubameyang: A bad miss, needs to find his mojo again. 6/10
Lacazette: Tried, but failed. 6/10
Torriera: Added something that had been missing in midfield. 7/10
Ramsey: Looked a threat and creative. MOM (36 mins) 7/10
Bellerin: Better than Maitland Niles instantly. 7/10
Next up Chelsea at home, I shudder at the prospect!