1 nil down1-3 up – West Ham FC 1-3 Arsenal FCPosted: October 7, 2012
I missed the first 2 mins of the match. Reasons will not be disclosed because they are not worthy enough to be written.
Majority of the first half was played inside West Ham’s half. Its not that Arsenal were playing very well – its just that this was scripted. West Ham under Sam Allardyce, or any team under Sam Allardyce play in spells of counter attacks and have a good defensive setup. When they face Arsenal, they are bound to concede most of the possession, hoping to strike on counter-attacks.
Uptil the West Ham goal, there was no real chance for Arsenal. Yes, Arsenal held more possession than West Ham, were playing in their half, and carved no real chance. Diame in the 21st min, tricked his way past Ramsey before opening up his body and shooting in Mannone’s net. Can Mannone be at fault ? Maybe 1 %. For the rest its a tie between Mertersacker and the Arsenal midfield. Its simple common sense, that when an attacker enters the D-box, it should be atleast crowded. The gap between Mertersacker and Jenkinson was huge, and when Diame entered the ONLY player tracking him was Ramsey. He went past Ramsey, and then the chance presented itself. He took it, and the score was 1-0.
Arsenal responded well. It was not in terms of chances, but rather in their approach. The play was more direct, with an attempt to carve out chances. And the team was rewarded with 5 mins to go, when Olivier Giroud nicked in a waist high cross from Podolski.
The second half however saw a different West Ham. I am probably suspect the manager telling his players to get at the Arsenal defense. A fair point to make after analysing the first half.
In the 67th min Carroll missed a superb chance to put West Ham, in the lead when Mannone was caught in no mans land. Fortunately for Arsenal, the Liverpool loanee headed wide. Moments later, Cazorla nimbled his way infront of the West Ham D-box only to shoot wide.
In the 72nd minute, Ramsey was tripped outside the box. It didn’t look like a foul to me, but the commentator had a different opinion. Mine matched with the referee. The commentators with Wenger’s.
With 15 mins to go, Arsenal took the lead courtesy of Theo Walcott. Cazorla from the back squeezed a pass to Giroud. The Frenchman took it forward before slotting a through ball to Walcott on the right. I have never been a big fan of Walcott and people who read this blog know this. But even I agree that Walcott can finish. And he did. For the first time this evening Arsenal led…1-2.
With 7 mins to go it was 3. A moment of magic from ”Cathorlaaaaa.” A classic Ronaldinho shot outside the D-box. Slick, beautiful and into the West Ham’s net. Minutes later, Wenger brought in Koscielny for Podolski – the formation changing to a 3 man defense with Jenkinson and Santos being asked to move forward.
The game was won. And Arsenal deserved to win. The performance was good. But more importantly it was professional. Something the Arsenal of last season missed.
As I said before, in the first half Arsenal did not play very well. I maintain that. Yes, they had possession, but just having possession does not imply one is playing well. It is what one does with it that counts. The difference in the second half was that Arsenal made it count. Each % of it.
The team has improved but there is still some scope of improvement in the defense. That is something Steve Bould should look into – In conclusion that attitude of “We need to get the job done” is slowly being inculcated in this side, and that is very important for Arsenal given its history of playing the beautiful way even if it means sacrificing points, USELESSLY.