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Premier League
Saturday, 20th March 2010

Arsenal 2
West Ham United 0

by Staff Writer


West Ham slumped ever closer to the relegation zone after going down to a goal at either end of the game at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.

Despite having held out little hope of getting a result in a fixture that has been more profitable than many others of late Gianfranco Zola's side were in with a shout until a late contentious Arsenal penalty secured all three points for the title-chasing Gunners.

For the third game in succession the Irons found themselves behind early on after Brazilian midfielder Denilson put the home side ahead after just five minutes of play; United failing to learn their lesson from the games again Bolton (two down after 11 minutes) and, more recently, Chelsea ( behind in the 16th minute).

But in the final minute of the half, Zola's charges were given a great opportunity to restore parity when Gullermo Franco was adjudged to have been sent tumbling inside the box by Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen. TV replays confirmed that the penalty decision was soft as there didn't appear to be too much contact - the red card flashed at the Belgian defender being an added kick in the teeth.

Alessandro Diamanti, who prior to the game had converted all four spot kicks this season struck his effort well enough but into the same corner as his previous efforts. Gunners 'keeper Manuel Almunia has clearly done his homework and dived the right way whilst diverting the crestfallen Italian's effort to safety.

West Ham's record against ten men this season is far from impressive and thus it was again, as they struggled to make the extra man advantage count. The second half introduction of Carlton Cole and Benni McCarthy gave United some added impetus - Cole going closest to erasing the home side's slender lead when grazing the post late on with a well-struck effort from the edge of the box - but once again they failed to break down a resolute defence.

With time rapidly running out Arsenal secured all three points when Matthew Upson was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the penalty area after it was aimed at him from no more than a yard away. The fact that it would have been impossible for Upson to remove his arm from the ball's path was lost on referee Martin Atkinson who duly awarded his second controversial spot kick of the day, which was duly converted by Cesc Fabregas much to the relief of a nrevous home crowd.

The only bright spot on another dour day for the Hammers was defeats for both Burnley and Hull, who remain three points adrift of Zola's side (who have one game in hand on Hull and two on Burnley). Next up for West Ham is a huge game against a resurgent Wolves, who climbed above United by virtue of a battling point at neighbours Aston Villa.



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Player Ratings

Robert Green
Comments to follow.


Fabio Daprela
Comments to follow.


Jonathan Spector
Comments to follow.


Matthew Upson
Comments to follow.


James Tomkins
Comments to follow.


Radoslav Kovac
Comments to follow.


Valon Behrami
Comments to follow.


Junior Stanislas
Comments to follow.


Alessandro Diamanti
Comments to follow.


Mido
Comments to follow.


Guillermo Franco
Comments to follow.


Substitutes


Carlton Cole
(Replaced Franco, 57 minutes) Comments to follow.


Mark Noble
(Replaced Kovac, 70 minutes) Comments to follow.


Benni McCarthy
(Replaced Mido, 75 minutes) Comments to follow.


Marek Stech
Did not play.


Herita Ilunga
Did not play.


Jordan Spence
Did not play.


Ilan
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Attendance: 60,077.

Man of the Match: tbc.

West Ham United

Robert Green, Fabio Daprela, Jonathan Spector, Matthew Upson, James Tomkins, Radoslav Kovac, Valon Behrami, Junior Stanislas, Alessandro Diamanti, Mido, Guillermo Franco.

Goals: None                   .

Booked: Radoslav Kovac  Matthew Upson  Fabio Daprela  Alessandro Diamanti     .

Sent off: None.

Arsenal

.

Substitutes: .

Subs not used: .

Goals: .

Booked: .

Sent Off: None.

 

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Staff Writer's Man of the Match: tbc


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