Arsenal finally got a win on the board against West Ham on Monday, coming from behind in a 10-minute blitz at the London Stadium.
Freddie Ljungberg named an exciting-looking team on Monday night, with Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli joining Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a new-look front three.
Things didn’t take long to go wrong though, with Hector Bellerin injuring himself in the warm-up and Kieran Tierney failing to last the first half-hour before picking up an injury of his own. Meanwhile, the team struggled to create any real chances.
West Ham took the lead, slightly fortuitously. Angelo Ogbonna appeared to divert the ball goalwards with his upper arm before a deflection off Ainsley Maitland-Niles took it past Bernd Leno. Arsenal certainly couldn’t complain about falling behind though.
The second half started poorly, but a Martinelli goal from almost nothing sparked Arsenal to life. Pepe scored an excellent curling effort before Aubameyang added to the lead to make it 3-1 in 10 minutes. The Gunners saw out the game for three points at last.
Let’s have a look at our player ratings for the match.
- Bernd Leno 7.5 – Made a few more saves, distributed the ball well. Was only beaten by a deflection after a possible handball. Continues to show good form.
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles 6 – Perhaps a little guilty of turning away from the ball for West Ham’s goal. Other than that, Maitland-Niles did fairly well on his return to the team. He regularly supported the attack and led the defence in tackles.
- Calum Chambers 7 – Excellent in the air, Chambers won all seven duels he contested. He also made a team-high three interceptions as well as three clearances and two tackles. We may see more of him at centre-back under Ljungberg.
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos 5 – Also good in the air, though not on Chambers’ level. Not so impressive at stopping attacks when the ball was on the ground, making no tackles and no interceptions. Too easily beaten twice by Antonio for one of West Ham’s best chances.
- Kieran Tierney 4 – Wasn’t having a great time of it even before the injury. The left-back struggled to get forward at all and had a few loose touches. Ended up coming off with a worrying shoulder problem.
- Granit Xhaka 4 – In a terrible first half, Xhaka looked at his worst, conceding possession in incredibly dangerous areas. He even had a penalty claim against him, albeit a soft one. He improved and seemed to find his confidence along with the rest of the team after Arsenal’s first goal.
- Lucas Torreira 6 – Like Xhaka, Torreira improved in the second half, though he wasn’t as poor before the goal and he was much better after it. The Uruguayan did a good job of finding Özil all night and he won all of his individual ground duels.
- Mesut Özil 5 – For 60 minutes, Özil’s performance was miles off the pace. He didn’t even seem to be trying, even before West Ham scored, and he completely lacked any self-belief. Then he turned up after Martinelli’s goal, playing a good ball into Aubameyang in the build-up to the second goal and again for the third. Needs a rest on Thursday.
- Nicolas Pepe 8 – One of few who actually seemed to be trying in the first half, even if a lot didn’t come off. He got his reward in the second half with a fantastic finish to give Arsenal the lead and set up a third by chipping the ball into Aubameyang.
- Gabriel Martinelli 8 – Worked incredibly hard as always, leading the team in tackles and continuing to push for goals throughout the match. Eventually found one to spark Arsenal’s comeback with a confident finish.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 7 – Played a good part in the second and third goals, but really struggled to influence the game before that. On the night, that wasn’t a problem. At least he took the only real chance he had.
- Sead Kolasinac 6 – Kolasinac was marginally to blame for the first goal, trying to play offside after a corner. After that, he did very well and finally found his elusive final ball to set up Martinelli’s equaliser. The importance of that assist can’t be understated.
- Matteo Guendouzi N/A – Managed to rack up 21 passes in less than 10 minutes, more than Martinelli or Aubameyang in the full 90, as Arsenal just passed around the back killing time.
- Reiss Nelson N/A – Great to see Nelson back, but like Guendouzi he played a very small part in a match Arsenal were trying to kill.