It was a lovely Wednesday night at the Emirates Stadium, one like we haven’t had in a while.
It feels like it’s been months since we won a match and played this well – especially in the second half.
With West Ham in trouble, and our starting line up missing Coquelin, it sure looked like it would be an easy win for us.
A frustrating first half was followed by an inspiring second with three goals, and brilliant performances from our midfield that has been missing so many times over last month or so.
But, let’s see who impressed the most…
Emiliano Martinez – 7
Martinez stepped in against West Ham after both Cech and Ospina were ruled out with injury – and he did well. He has always left a good impression any time he’s performed and it’s clear to see why he’s so highly rated at the club. He didn’t disappoint against the Hammers. Sure, West Ham weren’t that good up front, but Emi had some saves to make and looked pretty comfortable the whole time.
Nacho Monreal – 7
After a great performance against City, Nacho continued on the same path against West Ham. A good match for our left back, with more work up front than in defence, and he did well. If the referee knew how to do his job, he would have won two penalties. But alas, a fair referee is just too much to ask these days.
Shkodran Mustafi – 7
Mustafi wasn’t too busy in defence but did well when needed – even after being elbowed in the head (but hey, it’s not a foul!). He was joining in attacks often, and was one of our top passers. No mistakes from what I can remember but, again, the Hammers weren’t so interested in attacking.
Gabriel – 8
Although his and Mustafi’s performance were very similar, Gabriel impressed me more. Stats show that he made 15 ball recoveries – that’s a lot! He didn’t put a foot wrong in defence. I really enjoyed his performance and wasn’t worried at all.
Hector Bellerin – 7
We saw a glimpse of last season’s Bellerin, as he attacking more than defending during the whole match. Some really great runs down the right side, but his attempts to cross mostly ended up as a corner kick. He could have easily put his name on the score sheet but his shot, after Alexis’ pass, was just wide. Still hate his hair though.
Granit Xhaka – 8.5
A brilliant performance from Xhaka, shutting up all those who were pointing at his price tag after City. Our top passer, Xhaka bossed the midfield, feeding Alexis and Mesut with quality balls and not losing his nerve during his defensive duties. No yellow card for him. He managed to provide some long-range passes as well. A great match, needs to keep doing the same!
Mohamed Elneny – 8
It’s such a shame when you think that, if Coquelin was available, we wouldn’t get to enjoy Mohamed Elneny. A great performance by the Egyptian who clearly loves playing with Xhaka. Kept the ball well, had a good pverview of the game, and he even attempted a few shots although they weren’t too good. It’s great to have him ready to step in and put on a performance like than! He’s so reliable.
Theo Walcott – 8
Theo was our captain for the night and he put in a good performance. He was constantly trying to score and creating chances, finally adding his name to the scoresheet with our second goal after lovely play between Mesut and Alexis. This was his 19th goal of the season which isn’t, apparently, good enough for England.
Mesut Özil – 9
After being called lazy and accused of going missing once again by clueless people who don’t appreciate football, Mesut put in a MOTM performance against West Ham. He scored Arsenal’s 100th goal this season in all competitions, and added an assist for Walcott for his goal. Besides that, he was our main creator, constantly putting his teammates in good situations or getting on the receiving end of great passes.
Alexis Sanchez – 8.5
Well well well, Alexis Sanchez decided to show up too! Jokes aside, Alexis is always “there”, running around, but against the Hammers it was much more productive. He was bullied often, fouls unpunished by Atkinson naturally, but he managed to produce some lovely passes and great runs. That backheel to Mesut before Theo’s goal was phenomenal. And, he passed to his teammates more often than usual!
Danny Welbeck – 7
Welbeck got yet another start but failed to score again. He had some good chances, and could have easily been our first goalscorer in the first half but he didn’t react that well to Alexis’ cross. He managed to hit the side netting in the second half, before being subbed off for Giroud. I have to be honest and say I expected more from him, at least sharper reactions.
Olivier Giroud – 7
Giroud is turning into a super sub, which is great for us and perhaps not so great for him – although, judging by how much Danny has been playing, he might get a start next match. He came on, he scored, he didn’t celebrate (why?), but he made an impact for sure.
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain – 7
Much like Giroud, he came on and made an impact – assisted the Frenchman for his goal.
Aaron Ramsey – 6
I don’t remember if he did anything special, suppose that says it all?