West Ham 1 – 2 Arsenal: Subs Change The Game

As expected, Arsene made some changes to the starting line up. Interestingly, the defenders got no respite and I doubt if they will at any point this season. Vela, Wilshere and Merida were handed starts along with Silvestre and Fabianski.

Overall the team looked like it should win comfortably as the Hammers didn’t really offer any genuine threat. The game, for most parts, turned out to be a scrappy affair fought largely in the central third with both sides lacking any incisiveness in the attacking areas.

I thought Arsenal were a little nervous at the start and the front players dropped too deep with Wilshere and Vela spending more time on the half way line instead of making runs behind the West Ham defense. These players have not played regularly and it showed as the movement and passing never got off the ground. The young stars failed to impress as the physical demands of playing a premier league team proved a shade above their level.

West Ham were able to press high up the field as neither team created any clear chances. It all changed in the first half stoppage time when Gallas was slow in stepping up allowing Diamanti a clear run at goal. Fabianski should have done much better with the save as the ball went under his arm.

Even with a 1-0 score line West Ham were under pressure as Wenger had a couple of first team players on the bench while Zola had already played his best available line up. The second half saw Arsenal play with more urgency without really creating the final ball.

It all changed with the double substitution just after the hour mark. Diaby and Nasri restored the first team feel and the Gunners started knocking on the door. It was only a matter of time before we got a goal.

The first goal came from a lovely passing move that started deep in our half with Ramsey collecting from Vermaelen. Rambo also applied a finish that would have made any striker proud. The second came from a brilliant cross from the left by Vela who looked far more dangerous after the change in personnel. Eduardo beat Upson for the header and showed that a lack of height can be countered by technique.

We could have scored more and I was really delighted to see the team continue the search for the third giving the hosts no glimpse of a recovery. In the recent games we have also seen Arsenal push four or five men into the opposition box and it’s starting to yield results. In this game Song and Diaby looked like two tigers waiting to pounce on the opposition at every opportunity. The speed with which they moved the ball from the half way line towards the opposition penalty box was fascinating to see. I have always believed that we can trouble any team if we can keep the tempo high and hopefully the players are starting to believe that they can do it.

Individual Performances

Fabianski: Looked nervous and was partially at fault for the goal. Also made a couple of decent saves. I think Arsene needs to work on the keepers’ confidence as the problem is common to all three.

Sagna: Played as expected, one of our most consistent, even if not remarkable, performers.

Gallas: Partially at fault for the goal, had a good game otherwise.

Vermaelen: Another quality game.

Silvestre: Could have done better in attack.

Song: Was playing a more defensive role initially and transitioned smoothly into attack later on.

Ramsey: Was missing in the early parts except for a couple of long balls for Vela. Came into his own after the changes

Merida: Had a night to forget. Looked nervous and was woeful with his set-piece delivery. He has a lot more quality than this and needs more regular games to develop.

Wilshere: Drifted in far too often, lost possession in dangerous areas and made many other mistakes. I think it’s good that he had such an experience as it will help him keep his feet on the ground.

Vela: Somewhat like Ramsey, came into his own after the substitutions and picked up a couple of assists.

Eduardo: Still needs time. This goal should give him some confidence.

Nasri: Helped us raise the tempo and shift a gear.

Diaby: West Ham found him unplayable. Should have scored.


9 Responses to West Ham 1 – 2 Arsenal: Subs Change The Game

  1. Diceman1984 says:

    Diaby has to stay fit now, it’s his time to establish mine and others’ belief in him. What a run of good form for him.

    And people complain about Wenger’s reluctant to play Wilshere. He’s already got a world class talent but he’s under the best coach to guide him, Wenger knows what he’s doing.

    Nice to see Dudu scored again.

    It will be a very interesting month without Song and the window. It’s speculation time…..

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah, Diaby has to remain fit. It’s important for the team confidence as well.

      I think by now most young players with access to EPL would have realized Wenger is the best man for them.

      I am quite keen for us to complete the transfer business early.

  2. nicky says:

    Regret that Man Utd are out of FA Cup due to woeful ref. Did he not know that at OT, if Utd are behind, the ref must allow added time to continue until Utd win or at least draw level. All refs visiting OT should be issued with a Fergie type stop-watch. My heart goes out to Ferguson who is so hard done by.

    • desigunner says:

      lol. Chris Foy needs some training on refereeing at OT. Managers find funny excuses in the heat of the moment. Have to feel for Fergie, must have been a long time since he had such a bunch of losers.

  3. 0.9 Calibre says:

    Good observation on both Fran and Wilshere.. Merida kept looking for that killer pass that never came .. misplaced all the passes and eventually lost confidence.. But he has the quality to learn from all this and do better.. Wilshere i thought had a very quiet game compared to the previous carling cup fixture against Man Shitty.. Both these youngsters have to get accustomed to the Arsenal game and stop trying to do something great everytime they have the ball.. after all, “Genius is in simplicity” thats the Arsenal motto..

    A bit too harsh on Fabianski aren’t you? I think he did his best to get his hands on the Diamanti shot that led to the goal.. its not easy for any goalie, seeing a striker running onto them unimpeded.. he pulled a couple of spectacular games.. I felt he kept us in the game.. Maybe the Boss needs to give the Pole a run of games and see if he can save some cash on a new keeper

    @Nicky: Lol man.. spot on.. initially when i read his rant i didnt understand.. Your team is a goal down and the ref awards 5 minutes.. So why complain? Even though I got the point that he wanted more time my brain couldnt quite comprehend the outrageous demand! Fergie Fergie why were you Knighted?

    • desigunner says:

      I am sorry if I came across as harsh on Fabianski. I just felt he was not very confident as even his distribution was tentative. I don’t doubt his quality.

      • 0.9 Calibre says:

        ah.. glad you touched on the distribution part.. almost forgot.. didnt you get the feeling he released the ball far more quickly to a player than almunia? I felt so.. sort of reminded me of Reina.. As far as being tentative we have to go easy on him considering his experience.. or maybe thats his body language..

      • desigunner says:

        I thought he was unsure with the distribution as compared to what I have seen from him in the past. One game isn’t enough to compare with Almunia, I guess.

  4. […] West Ham 1 – 2 Arsenal: Subs Change The Game « Desi GunnerI thought Arsenal were a little nervous at the start and the front players dropped too deep with Wilshere and Vela spending more time on the half way line instead of making runs behind the West Ham defense. These players have not played … […]

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