By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal started with an unchanged side for Arsenal’s last match at Boleyn Ground against West Ham.
So still Ospina in goal and Cech on the bench. And Iwobi kept his place in the starting team. Welbeck still up front to lead the attack. And Elneny and Coquelin the midfield partners.
Arsenal team : Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Elneny, Iwobi, Ozil, Alexis, Welbeck
On the beach: Cech, Mertesacker, Chambers, Gibbs, Ramsey, Walcott, Giroud
A first dangerous situation in front of the Arsenal goal but it was a clear offside well called by the assistant, the ball went wide. Then Carroll with a dangerous kick from behind against Koscielny. A yellow card and a treatment for Koscielny followed but he could carry on. My match commentator said this should have been a red card. Much midfield play from both teams followed. Pawson ignoring a clear foul on Monreal… A bit later a cross that was put back in front of goal the assistant raised his flag and cancelled a goal. I think Bellerin was behind the striker when Carroll put the ball back in front of goal. Bellerin was in fact so a real escape for Arsenal and a referee decision going our way. Still 0-0 after 15 minutes.
Bellerin to Welbeck in an excellent position but a defender first on the ball to clear the danger. Arsenal more attacking now and Iwobi to Özil who seemed just offside but the assistant kept his flag down. The German player made no mistake and put the ball past the West Ham United keeper. GOAL! 0-1 to Arsenal after 17 minutes.
Alexis trying to give a smart ball to Welbeck but both times just not precise enough. West Ham with a free kick but headed out by Koscielny. Much midfield play again with not much goal mouth incidents from both teams. Alexis with a shot from distance but not much problem for the keeper. Arsenal still 0-1 up after 30 minutes.
Arsenal combining in the middle Iwobi with the ball, Welbeck making a good run and Iwobi with a lobbed pass in the path of Alexis who again made no mistake and put the ball over the line. GOAL! 0-2 to The Arsenal after 34 minutes.
Carroll with a good shot from outside the penalty area and an excellent save from Ospina. Welbeck almost away but a defender can prevent danger. Welbeck then with some pressure on the keeper and blocking the shot but the ball goes out for a goal kick. A West Ham player then deliberately puts himself on top of the ball so Arsenal can’t clear and the ref ignores it. Lucky the header from Carroll is too weak to trouble Ospina. But a bit later a cross to Carroll who heads the ball over the line. 1-2 after 44 minutes.
Monreal at the other end with a chance but blocked by West Ham defenders. West Ham with some pressure in the closing minutes and when Arsenal can’t clear the ball Carroll can score his second goal when he gets the ball back from his first missed shot. 2-2 in the last minute of normal time and at half time.
Carroll plants his elbow in the face of Gabriel at the start of the second half… but no second yellow card follows. Carroll then pulls back Koscielny and as a result Payet puts the ball over the line but lucky the ref called the clear foul. Carroll really was all over Koscielny. But a bit later a cross and again Carroll who heads the ball over the line. 3-2 to West Ham after 52 minutes. Carroll who should have been off by now.
Another cross from Payet but Carroll cannot get on the end of it now. Arsenal hanging on for the moment not getting their passing together. After one hour Ramsey comes in for Coquelin.
Arsenal trying to put some pressure on West Ham and Ramey forces a corner. Elneny goes off and Giroud comes on after 67 minutes. The corner comes to Monreal whose shot beats the keeper but a defender on the line can save West Ham. Welbeck now on the flank with Iwobi dropping in midfield. Arsenal with a corner that comes back to Özil. He gives it to Ramsey who flicks it on to Özil, a touch from Welbeck and Koscielny puts it over the line. GOAL! 3-3 after 70 minutes.
Carroll with a foul on Gabriel that is called and Gabriel sticks out his leg and trips Carroll. Much fouls now from both sides. Welbeck then called back when West Ham lose the ball and Arsenal could counter but it was no foul. Ospina with a good save on a Payet shot. Monreal with a cross but the header from Giroud goes wide. Still 3-3 after 75 minutes.
Ospina with a needed save on a shot from Cresswel. Reid bundles the corner wide. Both teams playing end to end stuff now. Alexis almost with a shot but the last defender can stop him when he turned to shoot. Welbeck goes off and Theo comes in minute 81 for Welbeck. Alexis on the left flank now.
Arsenal throwing everything forward to win the match and West Ham on the counter. But both teams look tired and too many missed passes. Antoino gets a yellow card for a deliberate foul in the extra time.
3 minutes of extra time bring no more goals. A thrilling match in which once again too many referee decisions looked not what they should be. I wonder if the opinion makers will make a lot of fuss that the hattrick scorer should have been send off before he could complete his hattrick.