West Ham United 1-0 Arsenal
The Premier League is an exciting source of fantastic football for the eager sporting fan. The English top flight is full of clubs with capable players that can keep up with the best of them.
Of course, the top six clubs get all the attention with the quality of players they manage to draw. One great example of a club with a strong roster is Arsenal. The Gunners have brought in players who are among the world’s best simply through the club name and the vast amount of resources they have.
However, West Ham proved that you don’t have to buy the best players in order to be successful. Their 1-0 victory over their neighbours at London is a masterful display of superb defending and planning by Manuel Pellegrini’s men. Meanwhile, Unai Emery has to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to win these kinds of games.
Highlights of the game
Everyone and their mother knew that Arsenal would have a bit of a problem coming into this match: their failure to win games have seen them fall short of the lofty standards set by the board and the fans. Emery tried forcing the team past the rut by fielding an attack-oriented 3-4-3 that has Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Alex Iwobi up front.
However, Mark Noble was the first to make a threatening shot to Bernd Leno. The Hammers captain took a powerful shot from the edge of the box around the seventh minute, and the German stopper had to pull off a superb save in order to stop the ball.
Alexandre Lacazette was soon able to put in work with his own shot attempts in the fourteenth minute. His first shot was blocked by former Arsenal man Lukasz Fabianski, and his follow-up went way above the crossbar and ended up with a goal kick for the Hammers.
Aaron Ramsey leaving Arsenal as Samir Nasri assists the winner for West Ham
There hasn’t been a lot of significant moves that happened since the Lacazette attempts, the next being a near goal by Felipe Anderson. He was supplied a great ball by former Arsenal man Samir Nasri, but his shot was just wide of the left post. Matteo Guendouzi tried to respond with a mid-range shot of his own, but the ball drifted wide of the right post.
Declan Rice tried to end the half with a superb header from inside the penalty area, but his shot was also wide of the post. The referee blew the half-time whistle, and many in the London Stadium can feel that it is only a matter of time before a goal would be scored.
And that moment came at the start of the second half. A tussle inside the penalty box saw the ball land in front of Nasri. He then made the pass to Rice, and the teenager wasted no time in smashing the ball past Leno and into the top-right corner of the goal.
Emery eventually reverted the formation back to have four defenders in the back to bring in both Lucas Torreira and Aaron Ramsey, who made big Premier League 2019 news by reportedly joining Italian powerhouse Juventus in the summer.
The substitutes tried everything they could to rattle the Hammers and get an equaliser, but Pellegrini’s well-trained lads didn’t show the vulnerabilities that bit them dearly against Manchester City.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s struggles away from the Emirates continue. They cannot progress towards the Premier League title if they cannot stop losing on hostile grounds.
This is the fifth straight away game that they have not won, and three of the five were defeats. The last time they won away from the Emirates was November 2018 at Dean Court.
This loss is especially painful for the Gunners as they had 58% possession of the football but were more than sloppy with it. Fortunately for them, West Ham also weren’t able to capitalise on their chances, only having three of their 11 shots on target.
Rice’s superb goal against Arsenal is his first-ever professional goal. He has been developing his trade under the West Ham system since 2013, and it is exciting for Hammers fans to see one of their academy products showing results in the top flight.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery reacts with a match official
West Ham have a couple of winnable fixtures for the rest of January. They will play Bournemouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League while they will face AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup. However, all of their games will be away from London Stadium.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have a tough schedule ahead of them. They will play Chelsea at the Emirates, and the Premier League 2019 odds will definitely be tougher. What follows that is a tough FA Cup tie against Manchester United, and that will be followed by a relatively easier league game against Cardiff.
Make sure to check the us Blog for more stories about the two club’s attempts to reach the pinnacle of English football.
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