Premier League
West Ham United 1 Arsenal 3

Saturday, 7th December 2019
by Chris Wilkerson

West Ham capitulated pathetically to turn a 1-0 lead to a 3-1 defeat against Arsenal on a desperate Monday night performance.

Coming up against an Arsenal side that had not won for nine games, West Ham led at the break but conceded three goals in nine second-half minutes.


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It was as weak a showing as you're likely to see. Arsenal had not from behind at half time away from home in eight years.

It leaves The Hammers a point above Saturday's opponents Southampton, a point above the relegation places.

But more than position in the table, this West Ham side reached new depths of underachievement on the pitch, with a team that lazy and disorganised.

The misery of the home side will live longer in the memory than the match itself, which can only be politely described as attritional.

In a first half where almost nothing happened, West Ham came out as the least awful of the two teams.

Arsenal were allowed the ball and given the chance to play however they wanted in their own half. Pellegrini clearly sent out his players to pounce on mistakes rather than force them, which seemingly worked to stifle any inspiration from the visitors.

Michail Antonio, returning to the side for Haller in the only change from the Wolves defeat, blazed over once and shot straight at Leno another time, but these flashes of opportunity were all that was created.

A limp Arsenal created the best chance of the half with 32 minutes gone, Aubameyang easily creating space and crossing into the six yard box, where Ozil was free to head the ball tamely over the bar.

Not long after, hope was given to West Ham fans. Arsenal failed to clear a corner, and the bobbling ball was passed well by Rice to Fornals down the side of the box. His cute cross was attacked by Ogbonna, whose effort was deflected in by Maitland-Niles and gave the home side the lead.

VAR took a minute to check, but ruled the ball to have come off Ogbonna's shoulder before it was diverted goalwards.


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It brought a moment of life to the game, albeit momentarily as it again settled to the rhythm of West Ham allowing The Gunners to have the ball and see how badly they could play.

Half-time was a welcome relief.

The second half started much the same, but there was a little more desperation in Arsenal and a few more Claret and Blue bodies throwing themselves forward to try get a second goal.

Cresswell was forced off injured, a moment that had a surprisingly big influence on what was to come.

And what that was was some of the worst examples of defending in the full back areas that even this modern West Ham team can call upon: Julien Faubert and Carl Jenkinson be damned.

First Kolasinac broke down the left hand side and could pass neatly into the area under no pressure where Gabriel Martinelli jogged into the box unmarked and slotted beyond Martin to put Arsenal level on the hour.

Six minutes later, Nicolas Pepe was almost asked to shoot by Arthur Masuaku to get his first Premier League goal and put the away side in the lead.


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Played the ball just inside the area on their right, the winger was allowed three touches to set himself and then a fourth to bend a lovely finish into the top corner of the far post, all watched comfortably by Masuaku. There was never any sense he would try stop him.

Another three minutes later and the game was over. Again Pepe received the ball on the top corner of the box on the right. Again Masuaku stood off him. The winger clipped in a cross that deflected off the back of the full back and dropped kindly for Aubameyang to volley through Martin for a 3-1 lead.

Very little happened from there. No West Ham player fought to turn things around, with most looking devoid of motivation and energy.

Arsenal could have added another late on, but the contest had finished the moment the third Arsenal goal went in, at least that's the impression West Ham gave.

Pellegrini's side have now conceded 21 goals in the last ten games, winning only once in the spell since Fabianski's injury.

Even as they led, there is no reason to think they were playing well. West Ham were slightly less awful than Arsenal, but gave their opponents the opportunity to prove otherwise. When pushed, West Ham crumbled.

It gives them a Saturday evening game, their last before Christmas, against Southampton to try and salvage some pride. Defeat could well see them in the bottom three, and will at least see them fourth from bottom.

There is very little else to say that hasn't been said before about this Pellegrini side, at least in recent weeks (and months). It was all of those usual criticisms, but amplified and arguably at a new low.

Arsenal had not won away in the league since the opening day, hadn't won in nine games at all. It didn't matter against West Ham.

Sometimes players are just bad. It's hard to work out whether this side is just a poor football team or a spineless and disorganised one.


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Player Ratings

David Martin
Conceded three goals, probably should have done better with the one he had a chance with.


Ryan Fredericks
He's culpable on two goals, awful on the ball a lot of the time. Hard to see that he's Premier League standard, seems to be based on being able to run fast.


Aaron Cresswell
Managed Pepe much better than anyone else. Put in a few strong tackles. Much lamented, but he'll be a miss now he's injured.


Fabian Balbuena
Defence was ripped apart on the times it was tested.


Angelo Ogbonna
As above, the defence wasn't good enough. Did well to score.


Declan Rice
A few decent defensive moments, covering Balbuena and Noble mistakes in particular, but lost in a midfield that is substandard around him.


Mark Noble
Looks dead on his feet at the moment. Hasn't played at all well for a good while, but there's no alternatives.


Felipe Anderson
Started in the centre then went to the left. Lost cover down there as he won't work as hard as Fornals. Lost influence on the ball out wide too.


Robert Snodgrass
Worked hard and put himself about, but lacks sharpness on the ball.


Pablo Fornals
Fornals is continuing to work harder than anyone else in the forward positions, his touch is getting better and he set up the goal wonderfully. Let down by the rest of the side, who don't match his application.


Michail Antonio
Didn't look anywhere near match fit. Threatened the defence with his running once.



Substitutes

Arthur Masuaku
(Replaced Cresswell) Gutless. Gets a lot of support from some West Ham fans because he's fast and runs at people, but his basic fundamentals in defence are appalling for the majority of the time. He allowed Pepe to do as he pleased.


Sebastien Haller
(Replaced Anderson) Given little to do as the team had given up by the time he came on, but strolled about harmlessly and joined the malaise.


Nathan Holland
(Replaced Snodgrass) The lad should be kept away from this first team squad as they'll do him no favours. A late cameo in a side of professionals with experience that had given up playing.


Roberto Jimenez Gago
Did not play.


Pablo Zabaleta
Did not play.


Issa Diop
Did not play.


Carlos Sanchez
Did not play.



Match Facts

West Ham United: David Martin, Ryan Fredericks, Aaron Cresswell, Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna, Declan Rice, Mark Noble, Felipe Anderson, Robert Snodgrass, Pablo Fornals, Michail Antonio.

Goals: Angelo Ogbonna 38                  .

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Chambers, Tierney (Kolasinac 29), Torreira, Xhaka (Guendouzi 86), Ozil, Pepe (Nelson 88), Aubameyang, Martinelli.

Subs not used: Martinez, Luiz, Saka, Lacazette.

Goals: Martinelli (60), Pepe (66), Aubameyang (69).

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: Mike Dean.

Attendance: 0.

Man of the Match: Pablo Fornals.