Gunners Fire Whilst Hammers Run on Empty

After being in the Champions League places for so long, West Ham United are now down to fifth place in the Premier League table after a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.

Pablo Fornals was preferred to Saïd Benrahma as David Moyes made one change to the team that played out the goalless draw away at Burnley three days earlier. Michail Antonio retained his place and made his 200th appearance for the Hammers.

Youngsters Ajibola Alese, Harrison Ashby and Armstrong Oko-Flex were named amongst the substitutes.

Moyes was managing his 600th top-flight game here and having never tasted victory against the Gunners, he wanted to make the occasion a special one and beat Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta who was his captain during his long spell at Everton.

It was a tight start to the game but once it settled into a pattern, West Ham had a great opportunity to go in front. They won a free-kick which Manuel Lanzini took and sent it over to Captain Declan Rice. His cross found Craig Dawson who tried his luck but unfortunately, the defenders effort was miles off target.

Arsenal were really applying pressure by this point and Rice managed to clear the danger on three separate occasions from a number of set pieces.

Up the other end of the field, the visitors earnt a corner of their own. Jarrod Bowen sent it into the area and Antonio caused a problem for home goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale but there wasn’t a West Ham player able to get the ball and the hosts were able to regain possession.

Arsenal were still in control but it took them some time to open the scoring due to a number of superb blocks from Dawson.

Martin Ødegaard set up Alexandre Lacazette but he wasn’t able to work visiting goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański.

Moyes then saw his side have a spell of pressure after Arsenal defender Ben White cleared a Bowen free-kick, but it only found Fornals. The Spaniard took stock of the situation but unfortunately his effort went wide.

Arthur Masuaku combined well with Lanzini to create the next opportunity for the Hammers but the Democratic Republic of Congo defender’s attempt didn’t trouble Ramsdale and flew over the crossbar.

Dawson prevented Ødegaard from scoring when he again produced a tremendous block after Bukayo Saka had played in the Norwegian.

Fabiański then made a quite brilliant save from Kieran Tierney, as the Scotsman’s effort looked like it would go beyond the Pole and give Arteta’s men the advantage.

Shortly before the break, the hosts were still searching for that elusive goal and nearly got it, only for the impressive Dawson to get in the way of Gabriel Martinelli from grabbing an easy goal after Fabiański had already dealt with Lacazette’s effort.

West Ham had withstood everything that Arsenal could throw at them when referee Anthony Taylor blew the whistle for half-time but they didn’t stay level for too long after the restart.

On Forty eight minutes, Lacazette who was handed the armband for the game played in his strike partner Martinelli, who finally put the home side in front.

Dawson was soon thwarting Arsenal again when Granit Xhaka was bearing down on goal but the Irons missed their own great chance to equalise shortly after. Bowen had pounced on a mistake from Ødegaard and sent the ball towards the far post. However Martinelli got his leg in the way but Ramsdale was still able to make a great save.

After former Gunners’ stopper Fabiański had made another stop from Ødegaard, Dawson superbly robbed Thomas Partey of possession.

Bowen looked to provide some respite for his team but could only shoot wide.

With Arsenal remaining a goal in front, the evening was about to get a little worse for the visitors who saw Vladimír Coufal, who had been already been booked earlier in the match, given a another somewhat harsh caution, meaning Moyes has lost another defender for Saturday’s visit of newly-promoted Norwich City to Stratford.

Not only was Coufal sent off, the East Londoners were dealt a double blow when Taylor also awarded Arteta’s men a penalty but there was some redemption, as Fabiański saved from Lacazette to the delight of those in the away end.

On seventy six minutes, Moyes made his first change bringing on Benrahma for Lanzini.

Issa Diop was soon following in Dawson’s footsteps making a great block to stop Saka from adding his name to the scoresheet.

Arsenal continued to dominate which made the Scotsman bring on another substitution just eight minutes after he had made his first. Fornals was the unlucky man as he was withdrawn and his place was taken by Ashby.

Ashby has impressed in his recent appearances and he looked assured here but he wasn’t going to be on the winning team as just three minutes after his introduction, the hosts made sure of the points when Emile Smith Rowe struck the ball into the net.

That result leaves the Hammers without a victory since that amazing comeback against Chelsea.