Arsenal 3-1 West Ham United: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis
In what was a must-win encounter for both the clubs, Arsenal hosted West Ham at the Emirates earlier today. Both teams have had a torrid start to their respective campaigns, both operating under the mentorship of new managers for this season.
In what was an extremely free-flowing first half, the Irons drew first blood as record signing Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic teed up on the break with the latter scoring with a fantastic finish into the bottom left corner of Petr Cech's goal. Arsenal's emergency warrior Nacho Monreal then equalized for the home side after a cross parried by Lukasz Fabianski fell kindly for him.
Alexandre Lacazette's attempted cross ricocheted off Issa Diop into his own net thereby giving the Gunners the lead for the first time on the night. Substitute Danny Welbeck then scored in stoppage time from close range to finish off the game and seal Arsenal's first three points in the Premier League under Unai Emery.
Here are the five talking points from the game.
#1 A very open first half
Given that both Arsenal and West Ham were coming into this encounter on the back of two consecutive losses, you'd expect both of them to start off conservatively, which was, in fact, the case. However, this phase only lasted for the first 10 minutes or so, when both the teams were growing into the game. Post then, it was pure end-to-end football.
Both teams had a plethora of chances in the first 45 minutes - 7 and 8 for Arsenal and West Ham respectively - though it has to be said that the visitors looked more threatening on offence.
The likes of Antonio, Anderson and Arnautovic continued to stretch the Gunners' back line, often hitting them with pace on the counter. The Irons were rewarded for their efforts with the West Ham No.7 opening the scoring in the 25th minute. Arsenal drew level through Monreal soon after, and a long-range Aubameyang shot very narrowly missed the target.
The instability of the defences of both the teams, especially Arsenal's, definitely played a part in this game being an extremely exciting watch so far, as Manuel Pellegrini's side finished the first half on top.