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. [Read more…]

West Ham v Arsenal predictions- What do the pundits think of the Hammers’ chances against the Gunners?

Game Week 16 concludes with West Ham host Arsenal at the London Stadium later this evening. It is a return to home comforts for Manuel Pellegrini’s side after two successive games on the road against Chelsea and Wolves respectively. The Chilean has often stressed on the importance of winning at home, and again did so after Wednesday’s disappointing loss to Wolves. Arsenal have a caretaker manager in charge in the form of Freddie Ljungberg after sacking Unai Emery and come into this game on the back of a shock loss to Brighton in midweek.

Here is what the pundits think of the Hammers’ chances in this GW16 clash.

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro says that both teams “have got problems”, but if West Ham turn up for this one, he thinks the Hammers will win. Has worries about both Arsenal’s defending and their away form, and has tipped Manuel Pellegrini’s men to win this 2-0.

Lawro’s celebrity opponent for this round, tennis star Andy Murray, has gone for a 1-1 draw.

Charlie Nicholas: Over at Sky, Charlie Nicholas says these are “two teams in a right mess”. Adds that while the Hammers have class upfront, they’re “not showing a lot” at this moment, and has gone for a 3-1 win for Freddie Ljungberg’s side. [Read more…]

Much improved Felipe Anderson, Big Snodgrass miss & More- Talking Points from Wolves vs West Ham

West Ham’s first ever Premier League game on Amazon saw Manuel Pellegrini’s men slump to a disappointing 2-0 defeat away at Wolves on Wednesday night. Hopes had been raised following Saturday’s stunning 1-0 win over Chelsea, but Nuno Espirito Santo’s men, who have managed the pressure of playing both in the Europa League and PL with aplomb this year, brought the visitors down to earth at Molineux.

West Ham have never won a Premier League game this season after conceding first, which meant it was crucial for Wolves to open the scoring, and they did so through a deflected Leander Dendoncker strike midway through the first half. Patrick Cutrone sealed all three points for the home side four minutes from time.

Manuel Pellegrini made only change to the side that had beaten Chelsea, with Michail Antonio rested and Sebastien Haller brought into the XI. Haller was again disappointing, and how Pellegrini would’ve wished for the French striker to show the energy and physicality that Antonio brought on Saturday- a key reason for West Ham’s triumph at the Bridge.

The success of the Balbuena-Diop pairing against the Blues meant they kept their places in the XI, but Issa Diop, available for selection after serving his one game suspension, dropped out of the 18 altogether.

Here are our talking points from the clash.

Much improved Felipe Anderson: The Brazilian has been disappointing this season, but put in a much improved performance yesterday evening. He was easily the Hammers’ best player, and ran rings around the Wolves’ midfield, causing them all sorts of problems. Much of West Ham’s recent struggles on attack can be put down to Anderson being off colour- he scored ten goals across all competitions in 2018/19, but is yet to find the back of the net this season.

Big Robert Snodgrass miss: A big moment in this game came on the hour mark. Wolves were 1-0 up, and an excellent ball from Pablo Fornals found Snodgrass in acres of space and in a one on one situation with the opposition keeper. His first touch was decent, but the second was absolutely horrendous, and Wolves escaped. At 1-1, and with West Ham having the better of the game in the second half, things could’ve finished very differently. The Scottish international’s corners, normally so reliable, were also disappointing at Molineux. [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings Wolves (A)- Fornals decent, Haller terrible

Wolverhampton Wanderers extended their unbeaten league run to ten games as they comfortably saw off West Ham 2-0 at Molineux on Wednesday night. Not since 1972 have the Midlands outfit managed this feat in the top flight, and the victory took them to 5th in the table- the same position they eventually finished in that historic 72/73 season.

For West Ham, it was a case of probably taking one step forward and two back. Given Wolves’ congested fixture list (this was their 28th game of the season), and West Ham’s stunning win against an in-form Chelsea side on Saturday, the visitors would’ve been hopeful of taking something from this clash, but instead slumped to another disappointing defeat.

Here is a look at how some of the major newspapers and media outlets rated the Hammers following the 2-0 loss. [Read more…]

Premier League debut for David Martin, Pablo Fornals & Declan Rice Very Good, 16 Fouls to 0 & More- Talking Points from Chelsea vs West Ham

West Ham secured their first ever win at Stamford Bridge since 2002 as they upset Frank Lampard’s men 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. The Hammers, winless in their last eight games across all competitions, were rank outsiders for this clash, with questions marks also being raised over the future of Manuel Pellegrini. They however put in a fine defensive shift to come away with all three points.

Chelsea were all over the Hammers for the first 25 minutes, but the visitors recovered and slowly worked their way back into the game. They took the lead against the run of play through Aaron Cresswell, and also had a second denied by VAR.

Chelsea had 66% of the ball and made 666 passes. They didn’t even commit a single foul (the first time it’s happened for the Blues since Opta began recording stats)- the Hammers won that department 16-0!

Here are our talking points from this GW14 clash:

David Martin makes his Premier League debut: When Martin signed for West Ham, playing Premier League football would’ve probably been the last thing he would’ve expected. However Lukasz Fabianski’s injury and Roberto’s horror run in goal saw Pellegrini turn to his third choice keeper, and he did his job at the Bridge as the Hammers secured a much needed clean sheet.

There were several nervous moments for Martin- twice he spilt first time shots, but fortunately they didn’t cost the Hammers. He however looked way more assured than Roberto, and it seemed to rub off on his back four, with Cresswell, Balbuena, Ogbonna and Fredericks all putting in decent performances.

Martin’s tears at the end of the game told just how much this meant to him. While probably not in the same league as Fabianski, he’s probably done enough to earn himself another start against Wolves in midweek.

Declan Rice and Pablo Fornals good: Pablo Fornals has been a bit of a disappointment this season but today was probably his best game for the Hammers since his summer switch from Villarreal. We didn’t see too much of him on attack, but he was very good defensively, with his work rate and determination to thwart Chelsea attacks very encouraging.

Fornals started on the left wing with Anderson playing behind Antonio, but most of West Ham’s attacking moves went through the opposite wing- more than 50% of their attacks in the first half were through the right flank.

Declan Rice would probably admit that he hasn’t been at his best over the last few weeks, but today was a much improved performance- more like the Rice of old. Even made several marauding runs down the left wing! [Read more…]