West Ham 0 – 3 Arsenal: Game Analysis

Evening All.

A London derby, away…. 3 points on offer and 3 points duly earned…

The starting line up was as predicted:

Szcznesy

Eboue – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy

Wilshere – Song

Walcott – Cesc – Nasri

Van Persie

With a bench of Shea, Gibbs, Denilson, Arshavin, Vela, Chamakh and Bendtner

Rosicky was omitted in favour of Carlos Vela, and you would have to wonder why considering we had Chamakh and Bendtner on the bench too – either Carlos Vela is in the shop window and we’re trying to loan him to the highest bidder… or Rosicky had an injury or something niggling…

Of course, before the game there was a lot of speculation about whether or not Avram Grant would still be manager after the game – and potentially being replaced by Martin O’Neill – we weren’t sure whether that would be good for us or not, would the uncertainty galvanise the squad and would they be able to spring a result against all the odds. For me, the news that Scott Parker was not in the squad was big as he is one of their best players and it definitely gave the fans a lift before the game started.

We started the game very well, with an immediate seizing and control of the possession, from the outset, closing down and not letting West Ham have any space. The front four of Walcott, Cesc, Nasri and Van Persie has been our most successful attacking quartet so it was good to see them re-united… and it didn’t take too long for us to get in our groove, with Cesc combining well and becoming the central hub that is he forte.

We took the lead early on in the 13th minute, with a good move and goal – the ball going out to Walcott on the right, who squared it into the middle, with Nasri purposely leaving the ball for Van Persie – the Dutchman duly taking the opportunity and finishing with his right foot with pinpoint accuracy. It was an excellent goal with his “chocolate leg” as he calls it! But I am happy that he took it on with his right and he did so well to connect and score in one move. The dummy from Nasri sublime in the build up – with Theo making the right choices today.

It’s an interesting one, as Theo does have a Jekyll and Hyde-ness about his play – sometimes he makes the right decisions, plays well, shoots when he has to and sometimes he drips over the ball. But today was one of his more inspiring performances, picking out the right pass for RvP to slot the ball home.

Nasri was named the player of the month for December and he continued in his rich vein of form with some sublime inter-play with the rest of the team and although he starts on the left, his forays into the middle of the park and general movement is a big asset to the team. A drive through the centre saw him slip in Van Persie who struck against the bar – an excellent move, unlucky for it to not end in a goal. It was so important for us to capitalise on the domination we had, and we managed to get a second before half time.

Van Persie’s movement was sublime throughout the game, and he moved out wide a little to receive the ball, and was pushed a little further out – personally, I thought the ball was going over the line – but he kept it in and squared it into the middle where Bridge and Walcott were… a yard behind became a yard in front and little Theo’s pace out witted the lacklustre ex Man City defender and he nipped in to score the 2nd.

Djourou looked a little rusty to me, but he has played more games than his quota and perhaps it’s a little fatigue.

The second half was less explosive but we maintained the pressure and passing. The main talking point being the penalty – which was awarded when Walcott chased a loose-ish ball into the box and Wayne Bridge slid into him. Van Persie stood up and dispatched the ball into the back of the net.

At 3-0, there was no coming back for West Ham…

Arsene summarised the performance and commented on the flow of the game:

It became pretty comprehensive because I feel on the whole we had a very strong first half. That certainly affected West Ham’s morale and in the second half it looked as if it were a bit more flat. West Ham in the second half didn’t put us under pressure, didn’t really get out of their own half, and we always looked like we were closer to scoring the third goal than to conceding one. And from then on it became a comprehensive victory. But we had a good, mature performance today.

He also reflected on the games tomorrow and the pressure the other team will now be under:

I think it’s in our hands. In the fact that we play all of the big teams at home and that we have a strong run at home now. We have played many away games, so now we’ll see that it is down to us. Tomorrow we have many big games, but we have done the job today. So we can watch them in a relaxed way a little bit. But we are very interested in one because it is a big test for Tottenham and Man United tomorrow.

A good day’s work, time to enjoy… MOTD here we come!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    I can’t believe how easy that game looked for us!! My only criticism would be that Djourou was woeful, I know we kept a clean sheet but that boy was trying his best to help them score, didn’t seem to have any balance.

  • yemi

    The men showed up at the party

  • devday

    @goonergetya!

    So true – he kept on falling over all day! Considering his time out of the game, he is suddenly playing a lot of games and I think he needs a breather! The problem is – we have no other centre backs!!!

  • devday

    @Yemi!

    Great performance!
    You have to wonder why / how we couldn’t motivate ourselves last week!

  • piresistible

    Thoroughly enjoyed that and while people will say it was west ham (and they are awful) I think we turned up with a mindset that would have made us a handful for anyone today and hopefully the players and manager have shown a positive reaction to the thoroughly deserved criticism they received after two bad cup games – Keep this up!! Thought our midf was dominant and all played great but jack wilshire was immense at the heart of alot of our moves but doing so much of the dirty work and breaking up play and winning the ball back & he wonders why we fans have taken to him so quickly & fondly!! Love the guy!!

    I thought chesney was very solid again and I dont feel anywhere near as panicky with him in the team. I dont see why fab should be back as number 1 when fit. Also great to see van p getting some goals and looking much sharper for some more game time. Play him weds as well to get him sharper even further. As a side note very much liked cesc bringing up this game last year in the changing room at half time. He gets criticised as a captin a bit on here but that was very good leadership to skip any complacency out of his players. If only we could have this kind of attitude and drive every week. Now have the pleasure of watching spurs or united losing points & can read a paper or watch sky without someone slagging us off. Simple pleasures!!

  • arseneknows

    this site should be called the ‘moan’ of Arsenal – it seems that most comments occur when we have a ‘bad’ performance – very few comments when we do well!!!!

    I think we have really found a balanced first 11 – which is really exciting – we’ve conceded very few goals with that team – I think only 1 in the last 4 prem games – it’s looking very good.

    Come on Gunners – sort yourselves out – get into positive frame of mind!!!!!

    peace

  • edison

    @ devday please please do a post on Arshavin. he is technically our best player.
    yet since the start of the season, or even Russias failure to qualify for the World Cup – the little russian has been a shadow of his former self.

    all i have to say is Liverpool 4 – Arshavin 4

    its strange to think he isnt our attacking player to go to anymore, when we were stuck in a game for chances – he would be one of the only players who could really make something out of nothing.

    I urge everyone to please watch this video, and remind themselves how phenominal Arshavin is and how he should be playing week in and week out for Arsenal.

    the video is the goals from the memorable game in the 2008/09 season

    Liverpool 4 – Arshavin 4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulGCUC9u3QY&feature=related

  • Vazy

    agreed!

  • Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    We played EXTREMELY well against the Hammers. We attacked from the onset, showing we can play when we really want to. Long may it continue!

  • olutoni

    Good game all round and with Man U dropping 2points yesterday, it can’t be any better. Chelsea seems to be on our heels, so its time we maintain concentration and get max points in coming games. My only worry is that our bench still looks like they are not up to it even with the likes of Arshavin, Chamakh n Bendtner not showing the class we know they are. A couple of defenders this Jan will also go a long way to determine how serious Wenger wants to win the title. Tomorrow is another day

  • theovanasergas

    I gotta admit I’m starting to shit myself a little bit here. I’m getting a tincey wincey bit nervous.

    Watching Manchester United grind out a goal-less draw with Spurs today had me thinking, it had me thinking something bad. What I was thinking of was horrendous, more horrendous than the jumper my Nan lovingly knitted me for Christmas.

    What was going through my mind might upset you, it may even scare you, you might want to look away for it could scar you for life.

    I’ve tried knocking my head against a wall to remove this thought from my brain but alas it remains and the wall is battered. Are you ready for this monstrosity? Are you ready for this sick thought?

    Could Manchester United remain unbeaten for the season? Could they do what we did? Be Invincible over a campaign?

    The thought sends shivers down my spine but it is a realistic possibility.

    United are more notorious than Biggy Smalls for becoming a stronger force in the second half of the season and they haven’t seemed to have hit top gear yet. But they remain unbeaten!

    That said they could go unbeaten and not actually win the league, it is that tight at the top of the table.

    Luckily they have a lot of hard games to play, including playing us at the Emirates so it will prove to very difficult for them to equal our fantastic achievement but it is achievable none the less.

    I hate the thought that they might do what we did. That is our fame to claim. We are the Invincibles, not them.

    The image of Fergie with that bright red nose crowing over the fact they can claim to be invincible too, sickens me. It sickens me more than vomit.

    They can’t do it can they?

  • Kieran
  • devday

    Thanks Kieran!

    I still don’t get the point!