West Ham 1-0 Arsenal: 3 Talking points from Arsenal's loss to the Irons
Arsenal went down 1-0 to West Ham United, in what would be the first of two London derbies in succession. This game, in East London, at the London Stadium, will be followed by a game at home to fellow Champions League contenders Chelsea.
This game, however, saw a defeat to a recently improved West Ham United side. Their manager, Manuel Pellegrini, who won the Premier League at Manchester City in 2014, is no slouch and would surely have produced a gameplan to win this encounter. And this is exactly what happened, since they showed more battle, fight, and clinical finishing to win this game.
West Ham overall didn't have more clear cut opportunities than Arsenal. But they pressed the ball better in the midfield, and were more efficient in dispatching the chances they had.
Lacazette, Aubameyang, and Iwobi, had good chances for Arsenal, but none could convert them. And overall, Arsenal demonstrated a lack of creativity in the final third, and this ultimately cost the team the game.
West Ham must be commended for their greater heart. From their standpoint, they will be lifted via a deserved win in this sense.
For Arsenal, it shows long-standing tactical and positional woes evade correction. Defensively though, despite losing and conceding the goal, Koscielny, Sokratis, and Mustafi, all did well. But it was, as aforementioned, the attacking and midfield areas that suffered.
Arsenal's Champions League-contending rivals, Chelsea, won 2-1 over Newcastle at home, and this makes the forthcoming game with them critical. It will be for both teams - but arguably more so for Arsenal.
Regarding this game, however, Arsenal's performance rested on two prime points:
- A lack of creativity
- Poor tactics and team selection from Emery
It's not a terminal defeat - but the club needs more if it is to get in the top four at the end of the season.
#1 West Ham are recovering as a club
A post shared by West Ham United (@westham) on Jan 12, 2019 at 10:47am PST
After the furor of them moving from the Boleyn Ground to the current home in Stratford, it seems that the club is starting to settle into the London Stadium. Moreover, manager Pellegrini is looking to get the team to play good football, and thus the "West Ham way" established over several decades.
They also hold good players like Arnautovic and Anderson, and today they showed more fight and commitment than Arsenal. They also were more clinical when it mattered, and this told via the finish from youngster Declan Rice.
West Ham could be a top ten team in the league with ease and on this form, could be an outsider for the Europa League positions.
For a club which in 2016 was in turmoil, this would be an immense turnaround. The London Stadium is also being increased to 66,000 capacity soon, and perhaps the Irons could have funds to buy even better players. Pellegrini is stabilizing things, which for West Ham is naturally pleasing.