David Hautzig's Match Report
Since it’s the only thing anyone wants to or is talking about, I’ll chime in about Wenger. First of all, without meaning to sound disrespectful, I really don’t care that he is leaving. If anything, I took a sick satisfaction from watching a club as massive as Arsenal handle something that monumentaly so poorly. You wonder if somehow David Sullivan, David Gold, and Karen Brady had a hand in it. “Hey, Gunners. We screw up all the time. Just do what we do and all will be pear shaped in no time”.
At the end of the day, the result was pretty much what we expected.
After a few minutes of West Ham having a bit of possession, the likely tone of the match took over. Arsenal had the ball, attacked West Ham, and won two corners. The second came inches away from an opening goal for Arsenal when a Koscielny header went just wide.
West Ham showed a bit of quality in the 11th minute when Mario threaded a ball into the box that Fernandes just missed running on to. Minutes later Mario played the ball through the legs of Mustafi before sending a low shot that Ospina handled easily. West Ham stayed on the front foot with Arnautovic as the focal point. First Mustafi timed his tackle well to stop West Ham’s main man before he could get a shot off. A minute later a long ball was misplayed by Mustafi and landed well for Arnautovic on the left side of the Arsenal penalty area. He tried to curl a shot into the far corner but Ospina made a good save. Moments later Masuaku won a corner down the left. The delivery came to Kouyate but his header went over the top of the bar.
At that same moment I saw that Stoke took an early lead against Burnley and my stomach started to hurt.
If Fernandes has one weakness that keeps him from being a regular started for the long term, it’s his propensity to make dangerous defensive mistakes. In the 26th minute, he won the ball from Monreal but immediately lost it back and slipped while trying to recover. Monreal attacked down the left and found Welbeck at the top of the box. Welbeck unleashed a low shot that just missed the far corner.
Arsenal had a superb opportunity in the 34th minute when Rice was called for a foul on Welbeck. Xhaka took the free kick and curled it over the wall. Miraculously Hart not only punched it away but he didn’t give the ball directly back to an Arsenal player.
Gratuitous derogatory remark at Hart, check.
A minute later, Bellerin sent a cross from the right side that Welbeck did well to get a head on but he had too much to do to give Hart a difficult time and the ball went over the bar.
West Ham ended the half well with two corners. The first was won through hard work by Arnautovic and Masuaku, the second gifted by Lee Mason. When the team that’s been awarded a corner look stunned by the call, it’s a good bet that the official got it wrong. The visitors did nothing with either set piece, and Ramsay ended the half with a shot from just outside the eighteen yard box that went wide.
West Ham 0
Arsenal opened the second half with a good chance to take the lead. In the 47th minute Lacazette chipped a cross into the West Ham box. Welbeck appeared to give Zabaleta a little shove in the back as he tried to attack the ball. The ball fell to Monreal, but his right footed shot was stopped easily by Hart. But two minutes later another ball fell to Monreal, this time from a corner, and his left footed effort beat Hart at the near post. In fairness to Hart, Masuaku was covering that post but inexplicably moved away as the shot came in. He should have cleared it off the line. Instead he put out the red carpet for it. Criminally bad play from Masuaku.
Come on Burnley….
West Ham 0
Moyes made the move in the 60th minute that supporters screamed for against Stoke when Lanzini and Chicharito came on to replace Fernandes and Mario. Within seconds Hernandez had a chance when he put a header over the bar off a free kick. Two minutes later, Masuaku sent a cross into the box that Ospina punched out but right to Noble. The ball bounced around the area before Lanzini recovered and sent the ball to Arnautovic on the left side of the box and this time he buried it.
West Ham 1
Hmmmmm. A goal scorer comes on and creates a chance. Then a minute later we score a goal. Pretty cool, huh?
Arsenal came millimeters away from taking the lead in the 72nd minute when Xhaka tried a long range effort that Hart got him fingertips on to send it around the bar. He did it again in the 79th when Welbeck tried a curling shot from outside the box and again, Hart used those final digits to send the ball wide.
I don’t know what Rice was thinking in the 83rd minute when Ramsay sent a floating corner into the box. He should have calmly headed it away. He could have, too. And for reasons only he knows, he ducked under the ball and it lazily rolled into the back of the net. A reminder, perhaps, that he is still a kid. Kids make mistakes. This kid, I’m reasonably sure, won’t look back at it after he goes to bed tonight.
West Ham 1
Three minutes later, over 100 million pounds worth of strikers combined to give Arsenal a two goal lead when Aubameyan passed to Lacazette in the box and the French striker who was one David Sullivan bit of fiction from being a West Ham player buried it.
West Ham 1
Annnnndddd, he did it again a few minutes later. Details irrelevant.
West Ham 1
The question I would ponder, if I ponder at all, would be this. Had Rice not made that mistake, would West Ham have held on for a point? Truth be told, I doubt it. Maybe that’s just me rationalizing. West Ham’s defense fell apart after that second goal, and while I doubt it would have collapsed to the degree it did my internal West Ham meter still reads loss. Thankfully Burnley scores an equalizer and that game ended in a draw. So as it stands we are six points above the drop. It should be enough, especially if we can pick up one more point somewhere, to keep us in the Premier League.
Then we can go through this nonsense all over again next season.