Match Review: Arsenal vs West Ham

All the talk before the match was about whether Arsenal are serious contenders for the league this season but two errors from Petr Cech have put Arsenal off to a bad start as West Ham stunned the Gunners.

Arsenal fans have been gloating all summer about the capture of Petr Cech from Chelsea and how it has helped make them stronger but today it was two errors from Cech that cost them 3 points.

The first goal came towards the end of the first half, Dimitri Payet  played a free-kick into the Arsenal area that Cech got all wrong. Cech raced off his line into no man’s land, his arms out in front of him not up high, leaving Cheikhou Kouyate free to head the ball in.

Things got worse for Cech halfway through the second half when Mauro Zarate won possession just on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, turned and hit a low shot that beat Cech at his near post. It was a brilliant strike and great goal.

Two West Ham goals, two Petr Cech errors. Not the sort of debut he would have wanted at his new club.

Cech aside it looked to be the same old problems for Arsenal. Enjoying plenty of possession. Playing just outside of the opposition’s penalty area. But struggling to break the opposition down and create clear goal scoring chances before getting hit on a counter attack and conceding.

Arsene Wenger had wanted to rest Alexis Sanchez for the first couple of weeks of the new season after he played a key role in Chile winning the Copa America this summer but had to reverse that decision, bringing him on late in the game in a bid to breach the West Ham defence. It didn’t work.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if during the week Arsenal go in with another big bid for Karim Benzema. They might also want to look at improving their defence while they are at it, they could do with another centre back. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny looked vulnerable and exposed on a couple of occasions.

However don’t let that take anything away from West Ham who were simply brilliant today at the Emirates. They fully deserved their win.

They defended superbly and Arsenal just couldn’t break them down and create any clear chances. The few chances Arsenal did create the West Ham players would either block by throwing their bodies in the way or Adrian dealt with.

And it wasn’t just in defence where West Ham were impressive. Going forward they looked good too. They had a few excellent counter attacks, breaking with speed  or with a killer pass.

The West Ham players were also comfortable in passing the ball about to maintain possession or to take on a man and beat them on the dribble.

Reece Oxford, who is just 16 years old, had a fantastic game and deserves recognition for the job he did in keeping Mesut Ozil quiet.

If West Ham can play like that more often this season they will give teams a lot of problems.

After the disappointment of going out in the Europa League it was important for West Ham to get off to a good start in the Premier League and they did more than that today.

I have to give a mention to referee Martin Atkinson who was disappointing today. He was inconsistent in what he gave fouls for and what he gave yellow cards for. There’s no excuses for that.


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