|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
David Moyes’s West Ham revival continues with a point against Arsenal
David Hytner at the London Stadium
Date Published Wednesday 13 December 2017 22.05 GMT
Only Laurent Koscielny knew what he was doing in the 90th minute when he chipped a high-risk pass inside from the Arsenal defensive right, but the panic gripped in a heartbeat.
It was shocking to see how Arsène Wenger’s team lost not only the ball but their structure and when Mark Noble produced a rare moment of quality with a slide-rule pass for Javier Hernández, the scene was set for the West Ham United substitute to steal all three points. Hernández’s shot hit the underside of the crossbar before bouncing down and away. Petr Cech appeared to have got his fingertips to it.
What a steal it would have been. West Ham had offered next to nothing as an attacking force and it is difficult to see the club’s support grinning and bearing this sort of fare on a regular basis.
But it was a night when the result mattered more than the performance and, for the second time in five days, David Moyes departed the London Stadium with something to cherish. After the victory against Chelsea, this hard-fought point hinted at momentum under the new manager.
Had Hernández’s shot been slightly lower, Moyes’s game-plan would have been vindicated and Wenger would have been pressed to the depths of despair. All the frustration belonged to the Arsenal manager. Against the ranks that West Ham massed behind the ball, his team pressed on to the front foot but they could not find a way through.
They had plenty of possession on the fringes of the West Ham area but they were frequently too narrow and they struggled to pick the killer pass. It seemed quintessentially Arsenal.
Wenger lamented the lack of ruthlessness, which he suggested was a hangover from the Manchester United defeat on the Saturday before last. On that occasion his team had 33 shots but they could only score once. Here, they had 22 but only three of them were on target. The harsh truth was that Arsenal ran out of ideas in the final third while the Koscielny-driven implosion at the end hinted at their fragility.
Arsenal’s away-day woes go on and it is now three Premier League matches without a win for them. They lag seventh in the table – a point and a place below Burnley.
“I felt that the chances we missed against Man United have had an impact on us,” Wenger said. “I don’t deny we showed a lack of sharpness. It was 10 against 10 in the final third and we could not find an opening. West Ham are in a highly focused defensive phase and it works for them at the moment. We must continue to focus on the quality on our game and not on being ruthless. It will come back for us if we don’t make too much of a problem of it.”
Wenger had started with a back four for the first time since the Crystal Palace disaster last April and with three central midfielders, his team dominated the ball. Jack Wilshere had a decent enough game on his first league start in Arsenal colours for 577 days.
West Ham were happy to allow Arsenal to come on to them because they believed that they could land punches on the counterattack and Moyes’s 3-5-2 often became 5-3-2. But the performance was marked by discipline and organisation.
The first half drifted by with little in the way of penalty box action. The West Ham forward, Marko Arnautovic, had an early header correctly ruled out for offside while the closest to a breakthrough was Alex Iwobi’s touch and quick unload on 29 minutes. The Arsenal winger’s low shot hit the outside of the near post.
Arsenal pushed in the second half and the game seemed to distil into a single issue. Would Wenger’s team summon a moment of ruthlessness in front of goal? They did not. Mesut Özil prodded wide, Wilshere lifted over when well-placed and Alexis Sánchez was denied by Adrián from a free-kick. Had Hernández finished after Koscielny’s aberration, it would have been even for the visitors.
“We are trying to change the mood and the results have given us a good platform,” Moyes said. “I would have taken four points against Chelsea and Arsenal, and we were unlucky in the game before at Manchester City. There have been good signs, although performances will have to change because we will be playing different opposition. We now need to take it on to the next level.”
Daily Mail: MATCH FACTS, LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
West Ham (3-5-2): Adrian 6.5; Reid 7, Ogbonna 7.5, Cresswell 7; Zabaleta 6, Noble 6.5, Obiang 6, Lanzini 6, Masuaku 6.5; Antonio 6.5 (Hernandez, 82), Arnautovic 6
Subs not used: Carroll, Sakho, Collins, Ayew, Hart, Rice
Booked: Lanzini, Reid
Manager: David Moyes 6.5
Arsenal (4-3-3): Cech 6, Bellerin 6, Koscielny 6, Monreal 6, Maitland-Niles 6; Xhaka 6, Wilshere 6.5, Ozil 6; Iwobi 6 (Welbeck, 70), Sanchez 6.5 (Lacazette, 83), Giroud 6
Subs not used: Ospina, Chambers, Kolasinac, Coquelin, Elneny
Manager: Arsene Wenger 6
Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)