West Ham United dealt a hammer blow to Arsenal’s title hopes after playing out a riveting 3-3 draw at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday.
Arsenal dominated the initial exchanges and quickly went 2-0 up inside 35 minutes after neat finishes by Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. However, defensive lapses by the Arsenal rearguard gave West Ham striker Andy Carroll the opportunity to level things up at the stroke of half time. West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was left ruing the linesman’s decision to wrongly disallow Manuel Lanzini’s first-half goal because of a contentious offside call.
The home side went on the attack early in the second half and took the lead seven minutes after the restart through Carroll, who completed his first career hat-trick against the Gunners. However, Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny scored from close range midway through the second half to tie the score at three goals apiece. A frantic finish saw both sides come close to grabbing the elusive winner at the Boleyn Ground through efforts from Sanchez and Payet respectively.
The 3-3 draw means that Arsene Wenger’s side now trail Premier League front runners Leicester City by 10 points with six games left to play in the season.
— West Ham United FC (@whufc_official) April 9, 2016
West Ham United
Adrian (5/10): The Spanish goalkeeper let in three goals but was not at fault for the opening two strikes from Ozil and Sanchez. Adrian got a hand to Koscielny’s leveller in the 2nd half but was unable to keep it out.
James Tomkins (4/10): James Tomkins played as the right sided central defender as part of Slaven Bilic’s three-man backline in the first half. Arsenal’s opening two goals came from Tomkin’s side of the pitch and he was substituted at half time.
Winston Reid (5.5/10): The hard-tackling New Zealand defender put in yet another workman-like shift in the centre of West Ham’s defence. He dealt with aerial balls quite well and made some crucial tackles towards the end of the match.
Angelo Ogbonna (5/10): Ogbonna had a relatively error-free afternoon alongside Winston Reid in the West Ham defence, but failed to close down Koscielny for the Gunners’ second-half equaliser.
Aaron Cresswell (7/10): The fact that most of Arsenal’s attacks came down West Ham’s right hand side is a testament to the work-rate of Hammers left-back Aaron Cresswell. The Englishman constantly bombed down the left flank and whipped in a glorious cross to set up Andy Carroll’s opening goal in the first half.
Michael Antonio (5.5/10): Antonio struggled in Bilic’s 3-5-2 system as the right sided wing-back in the first half and was partially at fault for the opening two goals. However, Antonio made up for his errors by putting in a stellar display in the 2nd half, which included an assist for Carroll’s 3rd goal.
Mark Noble (5/10): Mark Noble is normally West Ham’s engine in the middle of the park. However, the English midfielder endured a rare off day as he failed to take control of proceedings for the majority of the match.
Cheikhou Kouyate (5.5/10): Like Noble, Kouyate put in a lacklustre display in central midfield. However, he worked hard and tracked back effectively whenever West Ham lost the ball.
Manuel Lanzini (7/10): The Argentine wonderkid was unlucky to not get on the score sheet after his first half goal was wrongly disallowed for offside. He also linked up well with Dimitri Payet in the attacking third.
Dimitri Payet (7/10): Like Lanzini, Payet too had a goal disallowed in the second half after Andy Carroll was adjudged to have committed a foul in the build up. He failed to find the back of the net from any of his trademark free kicks in the first half, but did manage to bamboozle the Arsenal defence on occasion through his skill and trickery.
Andy Carroll (9/10): Andy Carroll firmly put his name in Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 plans after grabbing a devastating hat-trick against Arsenal. Carroll was a constant menace in the opposition 18-yard box and took his chances well in either half. A yellow card picked up in the first half was the only blot on an otherwise perfect performance from the English striker.
David Ospina (4/10): Although Ospina was not directly at fault for any of West Ham’s three goals on the night, his inability to come out and take effective control of the situation caused mayhem amongst his defensive guard.
Hector Bellerin (5/10): The Spaniard did not pose any attacking threat throughout the match and was at fault for not stopping Cresswell’s cross for West Ham’s opening goal.
Laurent Koscielny (5.5/10): The Arsenal captain was poor defensively during the entire course of the match as he failed to effectively organize Arsenal’s fledgling rearguard. His second half equalizer earned the Gunners a point away from home.
Gabriel (4/10): The Brazilian centre-back put in a poor display and was partially at fault for each of Carroll’s goals. He was reckless while going into his tackles and was lucky not to see red following a high foot on Carroll. It was a match to forget for the Arsenal central defender.
Nacho Monreal (5/10): It was a tale of two halves for the Spanish left-back. After a sound first half showing, Monreal endured a torrid time dealing with the marauding runs of Michael Antonio on the right flank. His failure to stop Antonio’s cross led to Carroll’s third goal.
Francis Coquelin (5.5/10): The French central midfielder failed to grasp the pace of the game for the majority of the match. He tracked back well whenever Arsenal lost possession but was substituted at the hour mark as Arsenal went searching for an equalizing goal.
Mohamed Elneny (5.5/10): Elneny put in a near identical display as Coquelin and was substituted after 68 minutes for Olivier Giroud.
Mesut Özil (6.5/10): Like most of Arsenal’s players, the German playmaker had a stellar first half but faded away noticeably in the second. He scored the opener for Arsenal in the first half but failed to find the incisive passes in the second half to lead his team to victory.
Alexis Sanchez (6.5/10): Sanchez scored Arsenal’s second goal and was among the Gunners’ more potent attacking threats in the game. However, he did not quite succeed as a creative force for the majority of the match.
Alex Iwobi (7.5/10): The 19-year-old was Arsene Wenger’s best attacking player on the night and served up two delicious assists for Arsenal’s opening goals. He showed great composure for the majority of the match and looks a bright prospect for the Gunners in the years to come.
Danny Welbeck (4.5/10): The former Manchester United striker had a match to forget as he failed to lead the line effectively. He posed no major threat to Adrian’s goal for the majority of the match.