Premier League
West Ham United 0-6 Arsenal  

Sunday, 11th February 2024
by Chris Wilkerson

West Ham produced one of their worst ever performances under David Moyes as they were hammered 6-0 by Arsenal at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It was their heaviest home defeat since 1963.

Four first half goal for The Gunners in an embarrassing half of football saw fans leaving in droves as The Hammers floundered. Nearly halfway into February and West Ham have still yet to win a game in 2024.

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It was a performance devoid of any hope, of anything to cling to for the watching support, and they were deservedly booed off at half-time. And it was a game that will have fuelled the anger that a growing collection of fans feel towards the manager, who has yet to sign a new contract.

The side was unchanged from defeat at Old Trafford, although Johnson moved to the left and Kudus back to his favoured right-hand side. There was no sight of Paquet?? nor Antonio on the West Ham bench, leaving Moyes with very little to use from the sidelines, if required.

It was a steady start to the game, Arsenal controlling most of the ball, The Hammers looking to burst into sudden attacks on turnovers. It soon became defence-vs-attack as the away side increased the pressure over time, and West Ham were pushed deeper and deeper without release.

There was one West Ham shot in the half, a deflected drive from range as Bowen was played into some space to run at the defence and chose to shoot early. The deflection took it soft into Raya's arms.

And that was it. That was about all there was to cheer, the fans as frustrated as Bowen, who ended up with only seven touches in the first half. That was just before the 20-minute mark, and it was from here that Arsenal really took over.

The chances kept stacking up. And these were good chances, not just a volume of half-chances like West Ham fans allowed themselves to enthuse over during a 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford last week.

The first few were warning shots, the growing storm that would build to four goals in 15 first-half minutes. Trossard should have done better after getting between Zouma and Aguerd in the box and being found by a wonderful Saka cross. Curling in at goal, the ball only needed to be guided on, but Trossard got under it and head over from eight yards.

The Belgian forced a good save a minute later after another cross from the right dropped over Havertz and was volleyed with some power at goal, forcing a good reaction save from Areola. Odegaard had an effort from the edge flicked just wide off the heels of Soucek, but it was just past half hour when Arsenal finally made the breakthrough.

It was as simple as you could get. Rice - booed playfully throughout, but applauded warmly as he went to take the corner - looped a ball to the far post, curling in at goal, and Saliba got up to head in before Alvarez could get off the ground. From three yards out, the centre back nodded in with consummate ease.

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A few minutes later, the lead should have been doubled. And again a minute after that. The minute after? Saka was downed in the box for an Arsenal penalty.

The first chance was a free header for Saka after a Kiwior cross from the left found the winger six yards out. He was shocked to see his header go wide. Then Saka was unfortunate to see a little dink over Areola bounce wide after Emerson allowed himself to be drawn to Odegaard, and the Norwegian slipped a ball down the right side of the box for the England winger.

Those scares were soon just part of the wider narrative as Saka finally scored, this time from the spot.

A simple pass over the defence saw the winger through on goal. Aguerd had stepped up, the three defenders alongside him hadn't, and none had picked up Saka. The line tried to catch Saka offside, and at least Aguerd had actually committed to that like a professional footballer, rather than stepping late in a last-ditch attempt to do their jobs.

The winger rounded Areola, who caught his foot on the way past and tripped him. There was no argument, Areola one of four West Ham players booked in the game.

Saka has scored four of his last five penalties, all going to the goalkeeper's right. It's where he went again, and if Areola had done his homework, he may well have saved a penalty at a decent height and not in the corner. Details like these can make a difference, but will be forgotten in the aftermath of a hammering.

There were only four minutes left of standard time to play in the first half, and you'd be forgiven for thinking a Moyes side might shut up shop for the remaining time and protect a 2-0 deficit. But when you're sat in your own box and being outplayed across the park, there's nowhere to retreat to. And Arsenal smelt blood.

A second assist came for Declan Rice even before stoppage time. A cynical foul by Coufal down the West Ham right saw the former West Ham captain curl in a lovely cross to the near post.

Three Arsenal players stood in a line offside waiting for the delivery, and it was Johnson who blinked first, dropping back at the last second just as they stepped towards the defence, and keeping all three men onside.

With that, Johnson had to win the header, and he didn't. Instead it floated perfectly for Gabriel to nod in from close range at the front post, and to see his side three goals ahead, with a goal for each of the centre backs.

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But the misery wasn't over yet. West Ham kicked off again in stoppage time, and found a way to concede once more.

A loss of possession in midfield, so easily once again, gave Odegaard an easy run from the West Ham half and to the edge of the box. He slipped it to his left, to Trossard in the area, and now the Belgian got his goal, cutting back onto his right foot and curling a beauty of an effort across goal, just out of Areola's reach into the top corner.

A fifteen-minute blitz had taken it from level to 4-0, Arsenal not even having to play their best to tear West Ham apart. Don't let this come across as sour grapes; Arsenal deserved their comfortable lead. But considering both set-piece goals were easily defendable, with the Saka penalty such a suicidal act from a wayward defensive line, and you can see why there was rage from the stands.

Many used the half-time break as a time to leave, although it should be noted that many pictures of a mass exodus just showed supporters standing the smoking area that is outside the stadium.

But who could really blame any fan for leaving. This was a lame performance, devoid of anything to cling to, but worse than that, roundly pathetic from all involved. With 0 touches of the ball inside the Arsenal box, and one shot that was fired off from 25 yards and deflected at goal, you could barely see a reason to stay.

The manager made changes at half-time, but it could really have been any player. Alvarez, on a yellow, was taken off, alongside the captain. Zouma may have never played so badly in his Premier League career, and his days are starting to look numbered. Alvarez had made a couple runs with the ball that were about the best thing his side did all half, and those ended with lost possession.

On came Kalvin Phillips into midfield, and former Gunner Mavropanos into the centre of defence. To be frank, this half will have less detail, and not just because Moyes's side managed to only concede two more.

There was just no possible way anyone could pay full attention and really care about what was happening. This was not a game that was going to have a mammoth comeback, and it wasn't even a game where The Hammers found a way to restore some pride.

Truthfully, they looked beaten at 1-0. Any intensity just completely dropped. It wasn't just that they were outclassed, they were clueless. Arsenal were sharper and faster, and whilst there's only so much a manager can do from the sidelines, it is worrying that the players capitulated so easily.

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They weren't just slower, beaten by better players. They weren't just completely uninspired and frankly desperate to be anywhere else. It was that they clearly didn't have any solutions, any fresh ideas, any fight instilled.

And to what could they look at on the bench. Even in this game, which was dead at half-time, we still ended with a right back on the wing with Cornet sat on the bench.

Any hopes of a half to rescue the pride were dashed very quickly as a vibrant Arsenal took to picking West Ham apart again. Maybe those two defeats this season had lingered in the mind; this looked like a team out for revenge.

Trossard could have scored a couple minutes into the half, skying a chance when Martinelli teed him up with a lovely cutback. Saka forced Areola into action, and any joy the Frenchman got from his save was quickly gone again when, five minutes later, Saka scored his second.

Arsenal were so comfortable moving it side-to-side, but whilst they joyfully played on instinct and waited for gaps, West Ham's lack of intensity meant they weren't closing those spaces.

With this, it was easy to move it to Saka, and he was left in between Emerson and Aguerd. Neither seemed aware of who was picking him up, and neither made the effort to close him down. Space, time and confidence will make finishing seem very easy, and it was with that that Saka smashed it into the bottom corner, beating Areola and making it five. There were still 27 minutes of normal time to play.

They would need only three more of those minutes to make it six, and this time it was Declan Rice. Who else could it be to tie the ribbon? It was a beauty of a goal, the ball rolling into his path some 25 yards out and Rice stepping up and smashing a curling drive that just kept bending away from Areola and into the far corner.

The former Irons captain didn't celebrate, maybe made easier by the fact his side were embarrassing his friends. There were still 25 minutes left, but who cares? None of our players seemed to, that's for sure.

The debate around the manager was fierce even when it wasn't called for, so God knows how this week will play out. At least he wasn't met with a chorus of boos at the final whistle: there were too few left to muster the indignation.

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Manager's Rating

David Moyes: 2/10
"The players should be up for it" absolves the manager of blame, and one basic part of his job is to enthuse and motivate. His team crumbled. The tactics didn't work, his selection of Johnson is a meme, the side barely improved. The squad's weaknesses are as much on him as anyone else.

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Player Ratings

Alphonse Areola
Not much chance with the goals, but he let in 6. No command of his box, doesn't look like he did his homework on the penalties.

Vladimir Coufal
Another goal from a set-piece where he's committed a foul after a mistake, and committed a foul with anger and malice. The least of our worries at the back.

Emerson Palmieri
Looked like he gave up. He looked the player people thought he was as a Chelsea reserve. Appears to be useless unless Paquet?? plays.

Kurt Zouma
Maybe he just physically isn't capable any more? It looked that way, although that doesn't explain how he let Saka and Trossard dominate aerially in the box. All over the place and rightfully hooked.

Nayef Aguerd
Starting to look like he's not got it at this level. Or, more likely, he just cannot take the volume of defending he's expected to get through, especially in his own box and with such tight margins. Lackadaisical.

Edson Alvarez
Stupid challenge for the early yellow, a quite impressive 12th booking of the season. The only one who seemed to be able to dribble with the ball, but was lost at sea defensively.

Tomas Soucek
The deeper midfield players did not know how to track the movement into the middle. Havertz's false nine role allowed a lot of central runners, and West Ham were baffled. Still did better than our centre backs.

James Ward-Prowse
At least he keeps the ball. With the amount other players give it away, I'll take his safe and sometimes stale passing over the dross from others.

Ben Johnson
I don't know what he's doing there, I really don't. He doubled up on Saka and Saka got two goals. Not sure it's working.

Mohamed Kudus
A couple bright moments were fleeting. He was soon just an auxiliary wing back, struggling to do defensive work, struggling even more to form attacks.

Jarrod Bowen
Nothing to go on. Just no service, no presence, no protection from the ref, and not the physicality to make something of nothing like Mic does.


Konstantinos Mavropanos
(Replaced Zouma, 45) Looked better than all the other defenders. And his dribble forward was arguably the best attacking moment of the game for his side, and all he did was run until he bounced into someone.

Kalvin Phillips
(Replaced Alvarez, 45) He gets credit for getting a bit physical in the middle. It's about all he brought.

Aaron Cresswell
(Replaced Alvarez, 45) He certainly got onto the pitch.

Lukasz Fabianski
Did not play.

Oliver Scarles
Did not play.

Angelo Ogbonna
Did not play.

Maxwel Cornet
Did not play.

Danny Ings
Did not play.

Divin Mubama
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Alphonse Areola, Vladimir Coufal, Emerson Palmieri, Kurt Zouma, Nayef Aguerd, Edson Alvarez, Tomas Soucek, James Ward-Prowse, Ben Johnson, Mohamed Kudus, Jarrod Bowen.

Goals: None.

Booked: Edson Alvarez 0 Alphonse Areola 0 Mohammed Kudus 0 Kalvin Phillips 0    .

Sent off: None.

Arsenal : Raya, White (Cédric 77), Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Rice (Elneny 67), Ødegaard, Trossard (Nketiah 67), Saka, Martinelli (Nwaneri 77), Havertz.

Subs not used: Ramsdale, Jorginho, Nelson, Bandeira, Walters.

Goals: Saliba (32), Saka (pen 41, 63), Gabriel (44), Trossard (45+2), Rice (66).

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: Craig Pawson.

Attendance: 62,474.

Man of the Match: .