Premier League 2018-19, West Ham United 1-0 Arsenal: 3 takeaways
West Ham United beat Arsenal by 1-0 to cause one of the biggest upsets of the season in the Premier League. The Gunners remain at the 5th position with 41 points from 22 matches while West Ham moved to 8th with 31 points. This was Arsenal’s 5th defeat in the league, while Pellegrini's men registered their 9th win.
Declan Rice scored the match-winner in the 48th minute after the first half ended goalless. West Ham were the better side in the match with 59% possession and the better chances. They also had three shots on target against Arsenal’s two.
This defeat further jeopardized Unai Emery’s position at the club as Arsenal have lost 2 of their last 3 matches now. Emery again looked lost at times and could do nothing to improve his team’s fortunes. Arsenal should find it really difficult now to finish inside the top 4.
On that note, we would now take a look at the 3 takeaways from the match.
#1 Arsenal lacked a playmaker in their starting line-up
Arsenal started the match with a 3-5-2 formation, with Skhordan Mustafi, Sokratis and Laurent Koscielny as their 3 center-backs. However, Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka struggled to control the game in the middle third as West Ham dominated the midfield battle with players like Felipe Anderson and Michail Antonio dictating terms for the majority of the match.
Arsenal clearly lacked a creative player or play maker in their midfield. Lacazette kept falling back in order to to win possession and start attacks and also made some penetrations into the West Ham Penalty box. Aubameyang kept switching flanks, but could not create any move from there.
Arsenal needed one of their holding midfielders to play box-to-box, but neither Guendouzi nor Xhaka could do it for them. Xhaka stayed in his own half for the majority of the match before being substituted in the second half, whereas the former had some wild attempts at the goal.
Emery again decided not to play Mesut Ozil and it should be time now for the German midfielder to think about making a move to another club.