West Ham United 0 – 2 Arsenal
Faubert OG (75), Adebayor (90)
An interesting game at Upton Park yesterday saw us claim the win and of course the three points that we needed to keep in touch with the top of the table. It’s one part of the double whammy of London derbies, with Sp*rs coming up on Wednesday (with ‘Arry Redknapp an’ all).
It was a strange game yesterday with West Ham giving it ago and our new line up struggling to find the net; Robert Green was inspired and the woodwork was shaking.
Arsene opted to rest Adebayor. After a few calls for him to be dropped after some lacklustre performances, it was a good time to give Bendtner an opportunity. Denilson wasn’t in the squad at all and was believed to be fit but potentially looking jaded after a sucession of games in central midfield. Song started along side Cesc in the middle and Silvestre started ahead of a fit again Kolo Toure. The line up looked like this:
Eboue – Gallas – Silvestre – Clichy
Walcott – Song – Cesc – Nasri
Bendtner – Van Persie
With a break from last Tuesday until this Sunday, we started a little slowly, “strolling” the ball around without any real pace or penetration. But it was only a matter of time until young Theo exploded down the right hand side of midfield. He’s been a bundle of energy recently and after he had a few little runs in the first 15 minutes, but had a real chance around about the 20th. He young England International went mazilypast 3 players, jinking and close control and had a shot on goal, with the cross bar saving West Ham.
A great little run, albeit Bendtner free at the far post if Theo squared – but you can’t take that away from Theo, the run itself was worthy of the shot. It could have been costly as missed chances in recent games have been very very costly – cite Sunderland… and we missed another when Cesc laid on Van Persie who set up Theo only for Robert Green to pull out an excellent save.
Robert Green, as the game went on, became increasingly important for West Ham and increasingly frustrating for us. Having said that, Almunia did keep us in it on a number of occasions, with an especially brilliant save from Bellamy as he raced clear.
The game continued into the second half in a similar vein, and with the quality on show and the end to end action, it was hard to believe it was still 0-0. With 25 minutes to go, Arsene opted to make a change and Ade and Diaby came on for our two wingers, Nasri and Walcott. I was a little surprised at the substitution, as I really though Walcott was having an awesome game.
It wasn’t long after than Ade’s presence became more obvious as the Togo international had a golden chance from a corner. But then with 15 minutes to go, some smart play saw Ade on the run, a tame shot, but in the right direction, which Faubert deflected into his own net. Once we had the goal, we were able to defend well and also break when needed. The second came on the stroke of 90 minutes, when Bendtner sent Ade through from his own half to round the keeper and score into an empty net, despite the on rushing defenders.
A deserved win, but a hard win. With a few players rested and Walcott and Nasri given a second half break, we should be able to have a real go at Sp*rs!
Before I’ve had a chance to post this, we’ve had a few comments on the preview post. Debs has pointed out an observation regarding the front players:
Just watching the highlights again and I’m actually impressed with the combination play between Ade and Bendtner, considering all the earlier skirmishes from last season! I think Ade Bentner is a better combination than Bendtner Van Persie… Let’s see how the rest of the season pans out!
And I’m quite agreeable, when Ade and Bendtner play there is a different sort of game played to VP and Bendtner, but in reality it’s good to have many positive options rather than just one.
Paresh also rated the players and gave his comments. Take a look here.
Let’s take a listen to what Arsene had to say:
“It is a big win for us because if we had come out of it with a frustrating 0-0 draw, we would have felt that we had wasted an opportunity to get closer to the top. For us it was important not to make a mistake and to take one of our own chances. We gambled a lot and fortunately we had some strikers on the bench and in the end that made the difference. We knew before the game that we couldn’t afford to drop points today but I must say that West Ham can feel frustrated because they defended very well and gave absolutely everything today. In the end we got a little opening, maybe they got a little bit fatigued in the last 20 minutes.”
I have to say, I was beginning to think it would be one of those days, especially as West Ham had a few chances and if it hadn’t been for Almunia, we may be been trying to claw a goal back!
On Adebayor, Arsene was very happy:
“What is fantastic is that he is a regular starter in my team and he fights very hard. Today he came on with 25 minutes to go and fought for every ball. That is more than any speech I can make. We have a great spirit in the side and we have great quality. We are of course very determined to come back to the top. If you look at the results against Fulham and Hull and you see where we are it is quite positive.”
So all in all, a decent weekend of results, where Liverpool became the first team to beat Chelski in a million years and saw United get held at Goodison. A bit more reaction to the game tomorrow and possibly a early Sp*rs preview.