Arsenal slump to shock opening day defeat against West Ham

Arsenal's goalkeeper Petr Cech

Arsenal's goalkeeper Petr Cech - Credit: EMPICS Sport

Arsenal 0 West Ham Utd 2

Petr Cech endured a debut to forget, conceding two soft goals as Arsenal crashed to a shock defeat by West Ham at the Emirates.

The £10m signing from Chelsea was slow to react as Cheikhou Kouyate stole in to nod the Hammers into the lead just before half-time, and was beaten again by Mauro Zarate early in the second period.

It meant that West Ham ended their 10-match losing streak against the Gunners – who lost their opening match of the season at home for the second time in three years.

West Ham began brightly, but it wasn’t long before the home side started to threaten going forward – without actually giving Adrian too many anxious moments.

Laurent Koscielny directed a looping header beyond Adrian but wide, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went close with a rasping volley after Winston Reid’s careless clearance sat up neatly for him.

A penetrating run from Oxlade-Chamberlain set up another good chance for the Gunners, with his cross met by a measured Santi Cazorla volley that dipped onto the roof of the net.

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And the home side came even closer to opening their account on the half-hour mark as Aaron Ramsey’s strike deflected off Aaron Cresswell and clipped the crossbar with Adrian back-pedalling frantically.

Cazorla finally forced a save from the Hammers goalkeeper with another free-kick seven minutes before half-time, while Nacho Monreal and Francis Coquelin combined to tee up Ramsey for a tame attempt that dribbled wide.

And Arsenal were then hit by a sucker punch as Dimitri Payet floated a free-kick into space and Kouyate got away from Monreal to nod the ball beyond Petr Cech.

Unsurprisingly, West Ham played with increased confidence after the break, although Olivier Giroud had two opportunities to equalise, blazing into the side netting and then bringing a low stop from Adrian.

But the Gunners found themselves 2-0 down in the 57th minute after Coquelin gave the ball away on the edge of the penalty area and Zarate was afforded time to turn and rifle a low finish past a motionless Cech.

Adrian dived to keep out another Giroud header soon afterwards but, with time running out, Arsenal turned to Alexis Sanchez in the desperate hope that their Chilean playmaker could spark a recovery.

Despite being some way short of match fitness, Sanchez did his best – but there was no way back for the home side, although Theo Walcott had an effort blocked and Oxlade-Chamberlain hit the side netting.

Cazorla also went close and Giroud scooped a chance over late on, but it was the Hammers who looked more likely to score again on the break and only Koscielny’s challenge prevented Diafra Sakho from doing so.

Arsenal: Cech; Debuchy (Sanchez 67), Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin (Walcott 58); Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud.

West Ham Utd: Adrian; Tomkins, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Oxford (Nolan 79); Payet, Noble, Kouyate; Zarate (Jarvis 63); Sakho (Maiga 89).

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