Rewind: Arsenal 0 West Ham Utd 2
PUBLISHED: 13:06 10 August 2015 | UPDATED: 13:06 10 August 2015
What we predicted
We did warn that Arsenal’s habit of emerging slowly from the blocks might resurface and went for a 1-1 draw. Overly optimistic, as it turned out…
Arsenal looked the better side in the first half, but they were largely unable to find a way through.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s sizzling volley over the bar and a deflected Aaron Ramsey strike that clipped the woodwork were all the Gunners had to show for their efforts as half-time approached.
When the interval did arrive, they were behind as the classy Dimitri Payet floated in a free-kick and Cheikhou Kouyate peeled off Nacho Monreal to glance his header past the floundering Petr Cech.
And further clumsy defending cost Arsenal again in the 57th minute as Francis Coquelin gave the ball away and Mauro Zarate had time to fire home a low drive that left Cech motionless.
In desperation, the Gunners threw on the half-fit Alexis Sanchez – but the talismanic forward could not inspire a comeback, although Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud all went close to reducing the deficit.
Buy him a pint
As Arsene Wenger admitted, there were few convincing performers – but, although he failed to stop Zarate getting his shot in for West Ham’s second goal, Oxlade-Chamberlain was probably the best of an under-performing bunch.
The Gunners’ best moments came when Oxlade-Chamberlain burst down the right flank and he set up a number of opportunities that team-mates – notably Giroud – failed to capitalise on.
Get your coat son
Plenty of candidates here – Giroud had an off day, Mesut Ozil was superbly shackled by 16-year-old Reece Oxford and Monreal was at fault for Kouyate’s headed opener.
But, while it may be easy to point the finger at Cech, we’re going to anyway. His reactions were slow for both West Ham goals and frankly it’s hard to imagine that David Ospina or Wojciech Szczesny would have done any worse.
The sight of Sanchez entering the fray in a game he’d been ruled out of some time ago. It looks as if Arsenal may be heavily dependent on him again, just as they were at the start of last season…