Rare come from behind Arsenal win, Masuaku disappointing & more- Talking Points from West Ham vs Arsenal

Arsenal secured their first win under caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg as they beat West Ham 3-1 in Round 16’s final game on Monday evening. The result sees the Gunners back in the top half while the Hammers are now just one point above the drop zone, with next week’s game against third from bottom Southampton shaping up as a massive one for both the Irons and the Saints.

Arsenal were woeful in the first half and when Angelo Ogbonna headed the Hammers into the lead at the interval, many Hammers fans would’ve felt their side could repeat last season’s feat- when Declan Rice’s first ever goal saw them edge the Gunners 1-0, but a three goal burst in the space of nine odd second half minutes from the visitors put paid to those hopes.

Here are our talking points from this GW16 clash.

A rare come from behind win for Arsenal: In the fifteen league games this season that Arsenal had played before this clash, they had come from behind to win in only one- against Villa.

The Gunners were absolutely woeful for the first hour or so, but found their groove once Gabriel Martinelli scored the equaliser, with Lucas Torreira pulling the strings from midfield. West Ham unfortunately capitulated instead of taking the fight back to a travelling Arsenal side that was low on confidence and there for the taking.

Sky pundit Charlie Nicholas got his prediction absolutely spot on, having predicted a 3-1 win for the Gunners.

Unai Emery’s tenure started with two losses, before victory against West Ham saw him embark on a six game winning streak. Will it be the same for Freddie Ljungberg?

Arthur Masuaku disappointing: Both sides lost their left backs to injury in this game- Kieran Tierney departed in the first half while Aaron Cresswell (playing three games in 10 days) had to be subbed off five minutes after the interval. West Ham were leading 1-0 when Cresswell left the pitch.

Nicolas Pepe was lively and energetic the whole game for Arsenal, but found a new gear once Masuaku came on the pitch. He scored an stunner to put the Gunners ahead and it was his delicate cross that was converted by Pierre Emerick Aubameyang for the visitors’ third. On both occasions, Masuaku didn’t exactly cover himself in glory with his defending.

Ljungberg rings in the changes: While West Ham made just one change (Antonio for Haller), Ljungberg effectively changed half his side. Out went David Luiz, Sead Kolasinac, Joe Willock and Alexandre Lacazette, and in came Calum Chambers, Tierney, Pepe and Martinelli. There was another late change as well- Hector Bellerin’s hamstring caused him issues in the warm-up, which forced Ainsley Maitland-Niles to come into the XI at right back.

WHUFC starting lineup vs Arsenal 2019

Arsenal clinical, West Ham not so much: Martinelli’s goal was Arsenal’s first shot on target in the entire game and by the time Aubameyang scored, it was 3 shots on targets & 3 goals.

West Ham had plenty of chances on the counter- Arsenal were poor and often gave the ball away while attemping to play out from the back (see Leno and Xhaka’s passes for example), but couldn’t quite capitalise. While the Gunners had all the possession, they threatened very little in the first hour- West Ham had 14 touches in the opposition box at half time, but Arsenal had only four.

Southampton game a massive one: If the Hammers hadn’t beaten Chelsea, they would be in the relegation zone now.

With Liverpool at the Club World Cup, West Ham’s next assignment after the Southampton game will be nearly two weeks later- away at Palace on Boxing Day. Should they lose to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side this weekend, it’s not inconceivable that Pellegrini could face the axe.

West Ham 1 (Ogbonna) Arsenal 3 (Martinelli, Pepe, Aubameyang)

Attendance: 59,936

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