Arsenal travel to the London Stadium to face a strong West Ham side, contesting Top 4 – in the London Derby.
West Ham have been a real shock to many this season, incredibly solid defensively with summer signing Dawson and Ogbonna.
They have had one of the best midfield pivots in the league – with Tomas Soucek & Rice, where the latter is one of the most sought-after Premier League midfielders.
The former Soucek has been brilliant defensively and offensively, often being compared to Fellaini with his high goal tally of 8.
A major aerial threat Arsenal must be cautious of – along with Antonio who is a defender’s nightmare and Lingard who has started to hit form.
West Ham have one of the best home records in the league – behind City.
This is rare for Premier League teams this season, however Moyes’s side still have a very poor record against the ‘big 6’, winning only once this season.
A win today would bring a real sense of belief to finish in the European places for the Gunners who sit midtable.
Meanwhile, a win today for West Ham could give them the boost they need in these tough fixtures of games before the international break.
West Ham have lost their last 3 against the Gunners but have been good against the Gunners in recent times.
Having played twice in a short space of time, Arsenal refresh the starting XI.
Chambers fills in at RB, as an aerial ability to deal with one of the West Ham’s main strengths.
Mari comes in for Gabriel and Aubameyang & Lacazette start together, Saka returns and Ø retains his place.
West Ham go back to their 4 back, with Lingard coming back in, with an attack which consists of Benrhama, Bowen and Antonio.
A very strong side, which will be very hard to break down and stop.
Arsenal will feel more fatigued, after having their European game vs Olympiacos to West Ham may look to capitalise with a quick start.
The Hammers have scored 15 times from set prices – the most in the league, so Arsenal must be adept to prevent this, one of the reasons for Chambers playing.
Xhaka & Partey v Soucek and Rice will be brilliant to watch – 2 of the strongest pivots going in the Prem.
The battle of the Left back’s will also be very interesting – with Tierney & Cresswell who have been some of the best fullbacks in the league.
West Ham started the game off brightly, not allowing the Gunners a foothold in the first 10 minutes – pressing high and full of energy.
Before the first goal can be reported it’s 2-0 to the Irons.
Some good linkups play on the left-hand side from Benrahma plays it into Lingard who volleys it exquisitely. A brilliant goal and deserved.
A few minutes later, West Ham get a very soft free kick, catch Arsenal unaware as Lingard finds Bowen to squeeze past Leno.
Intelligent thinking but the Gunners are asleep – Leno must do better.
Arsenal have hardly had a sniff these first 20 minutes and haven’t been able to retain the ball at all.
This line-up has been completely off from Arteta and the tactics have been so negative for no reason. So disappointing.
A mountain to climb now.
Hard enough? Apparently not. A cross is whipped in for Antonio to head home off Soucek.
Utter misery for the Gunners, jubilation for the Irons.
A few minutes later a great Chambers cross finds Lacazette who controls brilliantly and slams home.
A dismal half where Arsenal easily could’ve clawed it back to 3-2, but that doesn’t change anything for how poor that was.
Starting Aubameyang & Lacazette never works, and I don’t know why it would today – particularly playing Saka on the left and Auba on the right – no balance.
Still hope for the Gunners after the goal, but the display was simply dreadful.
West Ham have been sensational however, full of energy, not allowed us space and have played brilliantly – full value for their lead.
Lingard has been superb, as he often is vs the Gunners.
A big 45 minutes awaits where subs are surely expected imminently.
Straight after the restart, Chambers plays a great ball in behind for Lacazette who clips it over the keeper, but his effort is brilliantly cleared off the line by Diop.
Arsenal couldn’t have started any different as West Ham can’t get out and a second goal is surely on the horizon.
You just must wonder where this intent was early on which got Arsenal into this problematic position.
A few minutes later, Chambers gets his second assist of the game. A brilliant ball in hits Dawson’s shin and hits the roof of the net.
West Ham were no joke on the counter either, as Antonio hit the post on the stretch for an empty goal.
Chambers cleared from a certain goal and Tierney made a crucial double block to keep the Gunners in with a chance.
After some positive subs – Pepe & Martinelli, ESR, Arsenal equalised with 10 minutes to play.
Ødegaard played a lovely ball in behind to Pepe, who put an inch perfect cross in for Lacazette who finds the net.
A brilliant end to a vastly entertaining game.
The game ends honour even. Both teams will feel they could and should’ve won it, but a draw is probably fair.
West Ham will feel very disappointed to lose a 3-goal lead, while the Gunners will take positives to recover a 3-goal deficit.
A point does neither team any real favours, but that is how the game has ended.
Man of the match:
A few players who were standout are Chambers, Lacazette and Lingard for the hammers.
Chambers started only his 2nd game of the season today and was there for his defensive contributions.
He got 2 assists however and was brilliant. A constant threat on the right-hand side and linked up brilliantly with Ødegaard.
For a man who’d come back from an ACL it’s great to see him doing well.
Lacazette got in behind brilliantly, linked up play well and took his chances really well.
The Frenchman scored the winner v Spurs and now the equaliser today. Hopefully he can continue.
For the Irons, Lingard has full of energy, intelligent, clinical and was all round brilliant.
A top signing, for a West Ham team who were brilliant first half.
There’s only one man who deserves this award despite these names – Martin Ødegaard.
The Norwegian controlled the game, picked passes effortlessly, kept consistent pressure phases.
He linked up brilliantly, leaded the team well and created a few great chances.
He is such an intelligent player who Arsenal fans would be truly hoping to sign on a permanent basis, the clear MOTM.
Leno – 6
Chambers – 8
Luiz – 6
Mari – 6
Tierney – 6.5
Xhaka – 6
Partey – 6
Saka – 6
Ødegaard – 9 (MOTM)
Aubameyang – 5
Lacazette – 8
Pepe – 7
Smith Rowe – N/A
Martinelli – N/A
The Gunners regained complete control 2nd half, but ultimately a lot of self-inflicted damage made things a lot harder in the 1st half.
Starting Saka on the left, Aubameyang on the right is tried and tested to fail, so persisting with it is confusing.
Aubameyang & Lacazette is not a combination which seems to work anymore – so it shouldn’t be persisted with.
Arsenal’s passing out from the back was their main issue, as West Ham pressed high and got a lot of success in this way.
Credit to Arteta and the Gunners however as David Moyes side dominated first half, but Arsenal came right back into it.
A determined display where the Gunners will be frustrated not to get the 3 points so his side and him deserve a lot of credit to do so.
Tactically Arteta is usually spot on, so changing it up is unnecessary and shouldn’t happen.
What next for Arsenal?
After a few weeks international break, Arsenal welcome Liverpool to the Emirates.
The Anfield side can’t be undermined, despite their poor season. They have a lot of quality and are still a big threat regardless.
The game should be a good and enjoyable one for a neutral, which will be very important to end the season strongly for both sides.
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool.
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