A disappointing draw it was for the Gunners in their London derby against West Ham, but a point the opposition would gladly take, as they seem to come to life under new manager David Moyes. For Arsenal, it is a game they’d rue as they fail to grab maximum points to force their way into the top 4.
A late night Wednesday kick-off at the Olympic stadium witnessed yet another derby between these London teams, with the Arsenal manager making changes from their last outing. Arsene Wenger opted for a formation change when he lined his team in a 4-3-2-1 than the usual 3-5-2 we are used to seeing his team.
Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Granit Xhaka, Alex Iwobi, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez & Olivier Giroud, were Wenger preferred starting XI to face the Hammers. Seeing Jack Wilshere start this match was heart-fulfilling as he battles his way up to a new contract and into the first team.
Things almost got off to a bad start for the Gunners, as Hammer’s striker Arnautovic scored a nice header but was cut short in his celebration after he realised the linesman flag had gone up for an offside. Although most Arsenal fans were happy to see the call for offside, which was a right call by the officiating units of this match.
I can’t stress how much Wenger needs to bench underperforming players and replace them with players deserving of a starting place. Granit Xhaka once again was ineffective in this match, giving away possession and just raking in pass numbers when he passes the ball sideways instead of forwarding passes that could put us in the attack.
Our best chance of the half came through Alex Iwobi who was impressive in this match but would rather count himself unlucky to have hit the post when he was aiming for the near post of Adrian. The youngster showed good feet in the Hammers box before he unleashed a left-foot shot that bounced off the post of Adrian.
The second half was filled with missed chances that lacked the final piece to the attack. A number of occasions, Maitland-Niles would deliver a cross into the box for Giroud or any player lurking in the Hammers penalty area, but failed to utilise the delivery as Giroud couldn’t force Adrian into making an incredible save, least mount pressure on the Hammers defence until they crack. Yet they were able to withstand our advances towards them.
Arsenal’s defence is looking like an area of worry and until it is sorted out properly, I can see us making our way into the top 4, talk more about the championship. The defence cracked up in the 90th minute of play and almost resulted in a Hernández goal but we got lucky as the crossbar denied the Mexican of yet another goal against Cech.
Laurent Koscielny played an overweighed pass to Monreal who couldn’t stop the ball before it found a West Ham player, who played a reverse ball to Hernández before he smashed it onto the bar.
Arsenal football club is in sheer need of an overhaul and needs a very disciplined manager who wouldn’t mind to bench players that are underperforming or being bad blood to the rest of the players. Wenger’s calmness on his players seems to have back around and have an effect on everything Arsenal.
Before I end this, bear in mind it’s not yet Christmas and we are 19 points behind leaders Manchester City. What position do you think we’ll finish this season and with how many points?