Arsenal v West Ham: the real Arsenal step forward with a brilliant display

By Tony Attwood

So we won the match, we won the possession, we won the corners and no one was caught offside.  It was exciting and encouraging, and certainly, for me entering the ground there were no confrontations with over-aggressive stewards, which made it a perfect night.   True there were lots of empty seats in the upper tiers that I could see from the front of the upper east, and whether these were people with tickets who chose not to come, or seats unsold, I don’t know.  But the rest of us made up for it.

And this morning, although the Mirror headline writer can’t actually bring him or herself to say something positive about the performance (they lead with LEAPFROGGED: Arsenal beat West Ham to move above them into fourth as Arteta embraces life without Aubameyang), the Telegraph is not so churlish running “Arsenal young guns vindicate Mikel Arteta’s hard stance on a thrilling night in north London

I am not sure the first half was “thrilling” – although it was enjoyable, but Bukayo Saka was superb time and again and Gabriel Martinelli really looked like being the player we hoped he would become after we saw him for the first time following his rejection by Manchester United (which always makes me smile).    Martin Odegaard was once more on form, and then when Smith Rowe came on, well, it made the team.  What a master the young scamp surely is.

And of course I can read the table as well as anyone and know that the number of games played can be as important as the number of points, but even so, why not enjoy the fun when it arrives?  The announcer at the ground always says “Football is back in N5”.  And now we can add “Arsenal are back in fourth”.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 17 13 2 2 40 9 31 41
2 Liverpool 16 11 4 1 45 12 33 37
3 Chelsea 16 11 3 2 38 11 27 36
4 Arsenal 17 9 2 6 23 22 1 29

Of course the papers have negatives to say, as the removal of Coufal is called “contentious” – but how many contentious dismissals have we had?  And besides it was the Coufal moment was only contentious because referees have generally agreed that Wham hardly ever do anything wrong.

But there is an interesting point made, say that the sending off shouldn’t have happened because West Ham suffered the “double-jeopardy of conceding a penalty”.  No, it doesn’t work like that at all.  There is no double jeopardy in football.  I know that.  I read the rule book.

It was also nice to see Lukasz Fabianski get warm applause from the north bank, and for him to acknowledge it too.   Even when our politicians haven’t got a clue was decent behaviour and honesty is about, football fans can still teach them a thing or two.

Anyway, the excuses for Wham were not long in arriving.  Injuries are “hitting them hard” says the Telegraph.  I don’t ever recall that phrase when Arsenal had lots of injuries, for in those days it was down to the manager’s training methods.    More to the point, West Ham are on the slide (one league win in six) and the defence doesn’t look that brilliant (although that is not to take anything away from Martinelli who was stunning, and Smith Rowe who was amazing after he came on, and Saka who was the ultimate player throughout.

Thankfully the WHAM coach Nico Javer was eventually told to calm down after it looked like he could do himself a mischief (a benefit of a front row seat in the east – these things are easy to spot).

And amazingly the media can’t find anything nasty to say about Xhaka – I’ll come back to that in a later article.

So we can now celebrate something else as well.  Arsenal have the second best home record in the League (not the best as the Telegraph over excitedly said, failing as ever to check their facts)…

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 9 7 1 1 25 3 22 22
2 Arsenal 9 7 1 1 17 6 11 22
3 Liverpool 8 5 3 0 19 5 14 18
4 Tottenham Hotspur 8 6 0 2 11 8 3 18

and even when the others catch up their game in hand, we will still have the second best.

Plus Mr Arteta made the point after the match that Captain Lacazette was superb, and yes he was.  The boss added, “Laca has always been like that in the dressing room. You see the way he acts with the young players, how willing he is to help. It is in his nature, he is not a selfish player. He is a player that is happy when he makes the rest better and he is like this in the dressing room.

“It was a big game for us to go above them and move fourth. It was a statement. We had been pretty strong at home so we needed to put in a good performance against a good team, and I think we did that.”

But let us not forget Martinelli.  We saw how brilliant he was when he first arrived.  He took a dip as so many youngsters do, but now he is back again.   And here’s a thought, only just under half of our goals this season have been scored by players aged under 22.   

Of course the excuses for WHAM are being rolled out as I write (lots of injuries) in a way that are never used for Arsenal but that doesn’t take anything away from last night.   And the fact is I haven’t even mentioned Ben White or Aaron Ramsdale who were both excellent when needed.   Yes it really was good last night.

Arsenal v West Ham: teams, and what you don’t need to know but is still interesting

10 Replies to “Arsenal v West Ham: the real Arsenal step forward with a brilliant display”

  1. Agree with you Tony an excellent performance .
    Anthony Taylor I thought had a strange game , 1st half Partey made a great tackle/block just outside our penalty area which was given as a foul , later in the half Soucek threw himself to the ground with no contact and in front of the assistant ref and a foul was called , two instances which were in very dangerous positions considering how may goals WHAM score from free kicks .

  2. If you want a bit of negativity try Etienne Fermies report in the Scum.

    His headline is :

    Martinelli shines……..Ødegaard disappoints.

    He gives Ødegaard a 5, as he does Tomiyasu and Xhaka, of whom he says was Cumbersome, Careless and Dawdling.

    He must of been at a different game to the one I watched.

    Some of them just can’t help themselves can they.

  3. An excellent article and and excellent performance. There still is a gap between the top 3 and Arsenal but when you look at the age of our players things can only get better. I must admit I had my doubts about Martinelli after his injury as he seemed to struggle a bit and had problems with the speed and his passing was not at a good speed. But now since been given a chance he gets better and stronger each game. Loved the ESR and Saka performances. And it feels so good that they are our kids. Still at times we pay the price for our youngsters not being at top level all the time (which is normal at that age) but man when they turn 22 -23 they will be much stronger and more consistent in their performances. The future looks bright… oh and then we have Balogun waiting for his chance… a player of whom I have really high hopes.

  4. Agree with Steve. I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the utterly excessive time taken for a free kick to be taken. Our two free kicks early in the game took a total of almost three minutes of playing time away. Why does the referee lecture the goalkeeper prior to a penalty being taken? Surely keepers are aware of the laws of the game. The same applies to speaking to players prior to a corner being taken. Speaking of referees following the abysmal display by Jon Moss at the Etihad on Saturday (aided and abetted by the pathetic Andre Marriner) how was Moss let anywhere near VAR at Burnley on Sunday? He was consistent in ignoring a blatant penalty for West Ham. Paul Tierney displayed his cowardice again on Tuesday evening. Having cautioned Firpo for a petulant pull back he inexplicably failed to issue a second caution to the same player for an identical foul in the second half. We were very impressive last night with all playing well. I have not seen a full back given a skinning like the one Saka gave. However there was one payer on the pitch who was head and shoulders above the rest – Declan Rice – hallmark of a great player – never in a hurry when in possession.

  5. Great to hear your thoughts Walter… If you ever get a few minutes you could consider writing for untold again! But I do know you have a life of your own to lead.

    I agree about Balogun, and there is talk that he will go on loan this January, covid conditions allowing. And yes, we are the youngest team in the league. It was a great night to be at the ground: I hope it came across on TV.

  6. One of the main points that impressed last night was how wham were restricted from winning corners something Im sure MA and his coaching staff worked on ,1 such instance came when Martinelli chased back and closed down Antonio and wasnt just happy to let the ball go out for a corner but made sure they just got a throw ,such things to some might not seem important but to cut off 1 of the opponents main threats is a major factor in getting the 3 points .

  7. Tony if I can find the time will try to write down my views again. But time…. can anyone lend me a bit of time each day ?? 😉

  8. Three points, another clean sheet at home and a Walter sighting! Great day for gooners everywhere!

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