Arsenal made it two wins from two games with a hard-fought victory at home, thanks to a late goal from supersub Eddie Nketiah.
The Gunners were made to work hard for this win, with David Moyes’ West Ham turning up to The Emirates with a sound game plan and plenty of motivation to earn a different result than they had in their first matchday. Plenty of running from the likes of Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio caused us more than our fair share of problems, but we won the game despite that.
This was definitely a game that Arsenal would have dropped points from last season or before. We have developed teeth under Arteta and more importantly – a plan B or even C. When things aren’t going well, we can solidify and then look to attack at more opportune moments. This is what we did against the Hammers. We registered just three shots on target, but we crucially kept our opponents on a leash, with Bernd Leno not called into action too much.
Arteta made some changes for the lineup, with Maitland-Niles and Elneny both dropped in midfield in favour of Saka and Ceballos. Tierney tweaked something in his hip in the warmup and so Sead Kolasinac stepped in his stead. We were unchanged up top from last week.
The first twenty minutes or so was an exercise in containment for us, as we didn’t quite come out of the blocks. Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell in particular, were full of running down the left and we couldn’t unleash our forward trio.
We did eventually break the deadlock though, with our first chance. Aubameyang was in space out wide and clipped in a fantastic pass for the lurking Lacazette to head home.
Was it deserved? Who knows, but we were patient and we had held them at bay.
West Ham were foraging for any chinks in our armour and we were being uncharacteristically wasteful in possession, so the Hammers were always in the game and just before half time, the game was level again.
West Ham barrelled forward and Fredericks, the wing-back, put in an inviting cross for Antonio to meet and put away. It was then half time and the game was on a knife-edge.
We began the second half much like the first – plenty of possession but not quite clicking where it mattered – and West Ham looking to utilise pace out wide to create chances. Neither side were creating too much and it meant that both managers looked to substitutes to change the outcome and flow of the match.
Nothing really differed in terms of tempo, but as we approached full-time, we struck what ended as the winner. Dani Ceballos found the space to pass to Eddie Nketiah in a dangerous area. The young striker did what he does best and put the chance away – and we managed to hold out for the win.
So, another win but this time under different levels of scrutiny – what did we learn?
The Gan man is much moe than just goals. Hs pass for LAcazette that made the first goal took the conventional, unconventional. H e made the right choise. If Abus can keep this up, we will have a huge asser.
True Depth Achieved
Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Eddie Nketiaah, our skills were being tested but the aforementional players came on when given and the Gunners could maintain their shape. We have backup in every position and this will be under the microsope this season.
Eddie Offers Something Different
Nketiah came up with the goods, and his positioning and finishing are great assets to change things from the bench. A supersub Eddie won't want to be, but it is working for him.
Magalhaes, Holding – they both looked after the ball well and certainly kept tabs of their enemy. For both players being so young is a great sign for our future too.
Next up is a Carabao Cup tie against Leicester City on Wednesday, followed by a trip to Anfield next weekend.