WEST HAM 1-0 ARSENAL: Unai Emery’s Inconsistency Continues As Declan Rice’s Goal Seals Win For The Hammers.
There was an uproar with the omission of German playmaker, Mesut Ozil, on the squad list, as well as Lucas Torreira being benched.
For the home team, former Gunner, Samir Nasri, gets his first start in the EPL since 1st of May, 2016. Marko Arnautovic starts as the striker, amid transfer rumours.
Both teams have been somewhat inconsistent this season, as evident in their last five games. They have both managed seven points from a possible 15 points.
With both teams lacking defensive stability, with no clean sheets in West Ham’s last seven EPL games, and in Arsenal’s last five EPL games, this game was highly anticipated to be an entertaining encounter with goals expected at both ends of the pitch.
The Hammers started strongly, and with the first shot on goal, albeit weak from skipper Mark Noble. His clean one-two with Samir Nasri, opened space for him to test Bernd Leno, but unfortunately with a weak effort which was comfortably saved by the German goalkeeper.
Arsenal were close to scoring in the 13th minute. Alexandre Lacazette broke into the box, as Pablo Zabaleta ran into him, but his effort from a seemingly tight angle was saved by Lukasz Fabianski and his rebound was shot over the top.
Samir Nasri’s connection with his new teammates was becoming much of a worry for the Gunners. The Frenchman’s great run off the ball, then decides to try his luck from the near-post, but had his shot wide.
West Ham were close to scoring in the 32nd minute. Mark Noble’s fine pass to find Marko Arnautovic, opened up Arsenal’s defense too easily, as the ball fell to Samir Nasri who lays up play and finds Felipe Anderson unmarked. The Brazilian’s low, fine shot was just wide with Bernd Leno virtually beaten. Unlucky for the Hammers not to have gone up!
Ten minutes to halftime, Matteo Guendouzi’s 25-yard strike was so close that the Arsenal fans thought it had gone in.
Declan Rice missed a big chance before the break. The teenager, totally unmarked, heads out from 6 yards out from a Felipe Anderson corner. Lucky for Arsenal there!
The second half started brightly for Pellegrini’s men. Shkodran Mustafi was booked for his foul on Felipe Anderson. Nasri’s quality play finds Declan Rice whose first-time effort beats Bernd Leno and gives West Ham the lead in the 47th minute. This time he makes no mistake. The 19-year-old’s first goal for West Ham has every beauty of it on his expression! 1-0 to the Hammers!
Arsenal continued their search for an equalizer, and would have leveled in the 67th minute, as the Nigerian forward, Alex Iwobi, was close to balancing the game. Aaron Ramsey’s fine flick diverts Maitland-Niles’ pass which fell to Alex Iwobi. His shot was wide over the top corner. Close enough!
In the 83rd minute, Arsenal’s goal was disallowed. Rightly so. Sead Kolasinac was yards offside.
With 3 additional minutes only left to play, Arsenal got another disallowed goal through offside. Yet again, Sead Kolasinac was well-offside from the follow-up of Laurent Koscielny’s header.
A beautiful performance from man-of-the-moment Declan Rice, with quality display by new signing Samir Nasri, and arguably one of the most in-form players, Felipe Anderson, gives West Ham an astounding win!
West Ham’s first win over Arsenal since 9th of August, 2015. The big win for The Hammers sees them leveled on 31 points with Leicester, but are currently 8th due to goal difference.
Arsenal remain 5th on the table and are still four points behind Chelsea who are 4th. The North London club are three points above 6th-placed Manchester United. A United win against Spurs will see them level on points (41) with Arsenal.
Arsenal are in a tight position with this loss today, and face a tougher opposition next week at home to Chelsea. Another derby, another misery for Unai Emery’s men?