David Moyes’ West Ham United were thrashed 4-1 by Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with Nacho Monreal, Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette on the scoresheet for the Gunners and Marko Arnautovic for the Hammers, here are Five Main Talking Points from the London derby.
Individual Errors Cost Hammers Dearly Once Again
Much like much of the latest few seasons from a West Ham perspective, errors from certain individual players came back to haunt the Hammers in North London on Sunday afternoon, ultimately preventing them from coming away with anything.
After a strong defensive performance in the first 45 minutes, the defence being where the bulk of these mistakes were made, the visitors got the second half off the worst possible start at the back, a sign of things to come.
Granit Xhaka’s corner delivery found Monreal, who had slipped away from marker Aaron Cresswell, to fire a first-time volley past Joe Hart between the sticks and a rather static Arthur Masuaku on the near post, who seemed keener to get away from the ball rather than hoof it clear.
However, arguably the biggest of them came in the 82nd minute with the score 1-1, Ramsey swinging a tame delivery in from the left and youngster Declan Rice, starting for the fourth successive time for the first time, ducking out of a header to clear it, believing that Hart was waiting behind him to collect the cross.
The shot-stopper, who was easily beaten at his near post for Arsenal’s third goal, was nowhere to be seen and the ball trundled on into the far bottom corner to the shock of the Emirates, the guilty players may have cost the Irons majorly this time around, but will undoubtedly be keen to bounce back next time out.
Gunners Rally Late To Inflate Scoreline In Close-Knit Affair
The notion of either team winning by a margin of three goals when put to anyone at the Emirates with ten minutes to play yesterday may have been met by a dismissive response, but that would be exactly how the final ten minutes transpired.
The aforementioned Rice error and subsequent Ramsey “ghost goal” would open the floodgates for the Gunners with the score at 1-1 before it, paving the way for two further strikes.
Both of those were scored by Frenchman Lacazette, the summer 2017 signing having worked hard for the pair throughout the 90 minutes and up until that point, left largely frustrated.
His first arrived on 85 minutes, in the middle of the devastating late flurry and perhaps with a slice of good fortune after his effort after a pass from substitute Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was deflected by left centre-back Cresswell to get the better of Hart rather softly.
The keeper got a palm to the second just prior to added-time, but was unable to keep out the shot from the centre of the box from a silky attaching move from the home side, the trio of strikes certainly made the scoreline look emphatic at the end of what was, for the most part, an even affair, although it’s not a case of how but how many at this stage of the season.
Red-Hot Arnie Back In The Goals
If there was one positive for the travelling Claret & Blue Army to take with them on the short journey back to East London on Sunday evening, it surely came in the form of another barnstorming performance and goal from their favourite Austrian.
With the home outfit a goal to the good approaching the 70-minute mark in the capital and having missed a few notable opportunities so far in the encounter, top-scorer Arnautovic stepped up to equalise for the East Londoners.
The rebound of a David Ospina’s punch found its way to captain Mark Noble to shift the ball to his midfield partner Cheikhou Kouyate, finding Manuel Lanzini to poke it through to Arnautovic on the left side of the penalty box.
Playing as a lone striker, the physical front man looked up and hammered a half-volley with his weaker foot back across goal and into the far corner of the net, giving the small section of Hammers supporters something to cheer about and at the time, a chance to go on and grab a point.
Arnautovic is now into double-figures in the PL this season, two more than his closest challenger for West Ham’s Golden Boot prize in Javier Hernandez and although if he had taken some of his earlier openings, things might have been altogether different in the tie, the forward continued to wing his way towards the Hammer of the Year award.
Wenger Send Off Begins In Style For North Londoners
One could argue, and many did argue, that the job the Hammers had of facing Arsenal away from home just days after the announcement emanating from the Emirates that sent shockwaves around the football world, was always going to be an impossible task.
After 22 years, three Premier Leagues, seven FA Cups and seven Community Shields, it was revealed on Friday that Gunners boss Wenger would be leaving his role at the club at the end of the season.
Tributes from players past and present, managers, coaches, pundits and fans of all football clubs poured in for his remarkable achievements and reign, and the players and supporters of the London club were keen to make their feelings known to him during the affair with their city rivals.
His name was sung loudly and proudly at various stages during the 90 minutes and he was applauded graciously at both the start of the match and full-time in what was his third from last home English Top-Flight match at the helm of the team he first joined in 1996.
The Frenchman was duly rewarded with three points, a sixth straight home win in all competitions for his team and they now have little under a month of his tenure left to play out, albeit there is still the hope of glory in the Europa League, the first leg of the semi-final of which they play on Thursday evening at home to Spain’s Atletico Madrid.
Irons Slip Back Towards Danger As Home Side Boost Top Six Chances
While it was clear what Sunday afternoon’s result meant to both sets of supporters, the managers and the players, what did the outcome mean for each team’s position in the table and their outlook for the rest of the term? Let’s find out.
As a result of gaining three points, the Gunners closed to within six points of London rivals Chelsea in fifth place, remaining sixth themselves and outing some distance, four points, between them and Burnley below with a game in hand in the race to finish sixth.
Meanwhile, the end of a run of three Premier League matches unbeaten for Moyes’ boys meant that they fell a single pace from 14th to 15th now on 35 points, there are six positions between them and Southampton in the first relegation spot of 18th.
Sunday’s victory for the Gunners wasn’t the first time that one of their teams has beaten a Hammers side in the last couple of days, however, the Young Gunners overcame the Young Hammers at London Stadium on Friday night to win the Premier League 2 Division 1, making it a double whammy for them against their local rivals.
In terms of the PL, however, things are now hotting up with both teams only having four matches left to play, yesterday’s hosts must try to salvage sixth position or even better, while the visitors still are yet to secure their safety and avoidance of the drop to the Sky Bet Championship, all is still very much to play for.
So, now that everything there was to discuss from an afternoon to forget for the Hammers in North London once more has been well and truly talked about, will there be more positive points to draw on come next Sunday, after Pep Guardiola’s PL champions have dropped by London Stadium for an afternoon visit? Join us once again then to find out.