An utter disappointment. West Ham earned a rare win over the Gunners as Unai Emery was given a reminder of what his side lacks, to the tune of a 1-0 loss.
Declan Rice scored the solitary goal, but for once it wasn’t our defence that let us down this time - it was our distinct lack of a cutting edge.
Despite our squad receiving a boost with the news that Mesut Ozil was fit, the German was again left out of the matchday squad, apparently due to a lack of match sharpness.
This meant that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette started together, with Alex Iwobi given the unenviable task of loading the bullets for our star strikers.
There was no Lucas Torreira either, with Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi in the engine room, and we went with the wing-back system, Maitland-Niles and Kolasinac taking the wide responsibility.
The first twenty minutes were in direct contrast to the rest of the game, as we actually looked half decent. We were on top, although West Ham fashioned the first chance of the game through Noble, but Leno saved well.
Lacazette had a great chance with just 13 minutes on the clock, receiving from Iwobi but scuffed his shot when well placed. We would come to regret that miss.
We were exerting ourselves well though, with Kolasinac causing the home side real problems, and his cutback nearly found Lacazette, but again, no cigar.
At this time though, West Ham began to take a foothold. We had puffed and blowed but not blown them down - so they went toe to toe.
It began to be a real battle, but one thing was clear - we only began to press the ball in our final third, whereas West Ham, while not the best press, were giving us little time to build play like Emery wants us to.
Ten minutes before half time, they gave us a real reminder of their danger, as Felipe Anderson drilled a low shot inches past the post. Leno wouldn’t have stopped it, and we had got lucky.
Then, the tale of two chances just before half time. Guendouzi smashed a shot just wide, hitting the side netting and our fans cheered, thinking it had gone in, allowing the Hammers fans some sardonic humour. Then, Declan Rice connected with a header only to divert his effort wide. That was it for the first half, and the game was on a knife edge.
Three minutes in, the home team were a goal up. Anderson was at the heart of it, driving into the box, having his cross cleared but Nasri rescued the situation and laid off to Rice, to finish well past Leno.
We were really up against it now, and yet, we were toothless in attack. We failed to press the issue after going behind, so Emery shuffled his pack, bringing on Torreira and Ramsey for Mustafi and Xhaka.
We at least started to play on the front foot, but we were still struggling to string more than three forward passes together, although Auba should have done much better with a chance, but he blasted over.
Then, the best chance we had. Iwobi was set free and his idea was a good one, to shoot to the far post, but his execution was slightly off, going an inch wide.
We were being frustrated, and time was dripping away. We were getting into the minutes where aesthetics matter little, what mattered was getting the ball forward, but it seemed we lacked urgency. This wasn’t the problem though.
We just couldn’t orchestrate those passages of play that give us chances. We were trying, but we didn’t have the vision or the nous.
We had the ball in the net in the final minutes, but it was ruled out for offside, and rightly so. We were out of ideas, and the home team saw out the game comfortably.
West Ham may have not been spectacular, but they stood firm, and kept us quiet. The onus was on us, and we failed to deliver.
Now, the top four is looking a real challenge, and the tight pursestrings that are forbidding us to strengthen the squad looks to be a potential season-killer.
Next up, we have Chelsea and Man United...