Premier League
West Ham United 0-3 Arsenal 

Saturday, 15th January 2011
by Staff Writer

West Ham suffered a second successive heavy Premier League defeat - on a day when on-field proceedings were overshadowed by speculation surrounding the future of manager Avram Grant.

Since news of Grant's impending departure broke in the early hours of the morning - via a club 'source', who claimed that the Israeli will depart the club within 48 hours - all the pre-match talk had been of Grant's exit and the purported arrival of Martin O'Neill, rather than today's visitors Arsenal.

Whilst the game appeared to be on the periphery of supporters' pre-match thoughts, so it appeared to pass many of West Ham's players by as they failed to come to terms with the title challengers who strolled to victory through goals from Van Persie (2) and Theo Walcott.

Never at the races, United fell behind as early as the 13th minute when Robin van Persie's precision finish did enough to evade Rob Green's depairing dive. That lead was double four minutes ahead of the break when van Persie beat West Ham's offside trap before centreing the ball for Walcott, who took maximum advantage of debutant Wayne Bridge's slip to convert from a matter of yards.

Arsenal continued to dominate the game in the second half against a virtual West Ham second string and the only surprise was that the third goal took so long to arrive. It was further bad news for loanee Bridge who was penalised for giving away a totally unnecessary penalty when felling Walcott on the edge of the box as the youngster was moving away from goal; the spot kick well converted by Man of the Match van Persie.

West Ham's best chance of the game - one of few efforts - fell to Carlton Cole who was perfectly placed to meet Freddie Sears' excellent cross from the left as United sought to profit from a rare counter-attack four minutes ahead of the half-time break. However Cole failed to meet the ball properly and could only head against a defender who deflected the ball out for a corner.

The defeat leaves the Hammers in deep trouble at the foot of the table with a trip to Everton to follow - a place where the club have traditionally fared poorly.

Whether it will be Avram Grant, Martin O'Neill or someone else altogether in charge of first team affairs remains to be seen.

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Player Ratings

Robert Green
Comments to follow.

Julien Faubert
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Wayne Bridge
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James Tomkins
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Matthew Upson
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Jonathan Spector
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Mark Noble
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Radoslav Kovac
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Fred Sears
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Carlton Cole
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Zavon Hines
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Luis Boa Morte
(Replaced Boa Morte, 20 mins) Comments to follow.

Pablo Barrera
(Replaced Sears, 64 mins) Comments to follow.

Frank Nouble
(Replaced Bridge, 89 mins) Comments to follow.

Ruud Boffin
Did not play.

Winston Reid
Did not play.

Danny Gabbidon
Did not play.

Benni McCarthy
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Robert Green, Julien Faubert, Wayne Bridge, James Tomkins, Matthew Upson, Jonathan Spector, Mark Noble, Radoslav Kovac, Fred Sears, Carlton Cole, Zavon Hines.

Goals: None.

Booked: Julien Faubert 15          .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Arsenal: .

Subs not used: .

Goals: Van Persie (13, 77 pen), Walcott (41).

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: Andre Marriner .

Attendance: 32,682.

Man of the Match: Robert Green.