Former Arsenal legend, George Graham, has admitted that he was actually surprised by Arsenal’s poor performance against the Hammers on Sunday.
It wasn’t just the outcome that he was disappointed with, it was the way we seemed to completely forget who we were and what we’re about.
During our pre-season, we had an 100% record, including a crucial win against Chelsea in the Community Shield. We’d not only won all our matches but played well and despite players constantly harping on about how pre-season is different to the Premier League, you’d think we were at least a little prepared to face West Ham in our opening game.
Instead, the east London side completely out-played us in every sense.
“When was the last time West Ham came to the Emirates and got a result, never mind a performance?” Graham said. “I was really disappointed and very surprised by Arsenal. Their pre-season form had been excellent and I thought, ‘right, let’s go at West Ham.’”
He continued, “But it amazed me that after the first 20 minutes, both sides had 50 per cent possession – when does an away team come to the Emirates and get that sort of possession? Very, very rarely.
“I was really surprised Arsenal didn’t really press the ball early in the first half and put West Ham under pressure, and maybe that just shows you the lack of leadership at the club.”
He also seems to believe our whole set-up was wrong, with players not playing in their preferred positions and big name players being anonymous.
“I didn’t see anyone get a grip of the game. Arsenal have some brilliant players, but Mesut Ozil was very quiet – you never really saw him – and Santi Cazorla was on the left wing in the first half and he doesn’t like playing there.
“You’re looking for your big names, your big players, to perform, and they didn’t do that yesterday.”