Arsenal and Unai Emery register their first points for the season after victory over West Ham at the Emirates, although it was by no means easy.
Arsenal and West Ham both came into this game at the back of two defeats in their opening two games of the season. A win for one team was always going to add pressure on the other, and luckily for Arsenal, it wasn’t to be them this time.
Arsenal finished off the game with a 3-1 scoreline, but it was the Hammers who drew first blood, with Marko Arnautovic scoring in the first half. Nacho Monreal then within a few minutes of that West Ham goal equalised and ensured both sides went into the break level on scores.
Arsenal, despite all the possession against West Ham, failed to create any clear-cut chances and for long periods it looked as if this game would end in a draw. But the second Arsenal goal came, an own goal from Hammers’ defender Diop, although Alexandre Lacazette did very well to create danger.
Finally, Danny Welbeck, came off the bench to score Arsenal’s third and it was this goal that calmed the nerves of the Emirates stadium after it seemed that Arsenal were limping their way to the finish line.
Here’s how Arsenal’s stars rated in their much-needed win over West Ham, adding the pressure on Hammers’ manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Petr Cech – 6
A steady presence in goal, but not really impressive. This display did not match the performances against City and Chelsea in the first two games but overall was solid enough to be trusted. There’s a feeling he should have done more about West Ham’s first goal but otherwise did not place a wrong foot for the rest of the game.
Hector Bellerin – 6
Bellerin had a hand in two of the three Arsenal goals, yet a relatively low rating for his defensive lapses. For the Spaniard is a defender by trade, and showed visible lack of awareness of West Ham attackers, as time and again he played them on-side. Yet his attacking talents mask his defensive problems, although there’s always a scope for improvement.
Shkodran Mustafi – 7.5
Arsenal’s best defender on the day. Showed an immense sense of awareness on the defensive side of things, and played the off-side line pretty well. With his new found freedom as a defender, he is instead performing solidly, and it definitely helps Arsenal to succeed.
Sokratis – 6
He was stable enough in the last twenty minutes of the game but was visibly shaky for the rest. The previous period, however, showed a different side of Sokratis, as the Greek defender was rough and aggressive with West Ham’s attackers. Some of his excellent work also ensured the scoreline remained the way Arsenal wanted to manage.
Nacho Monreal – 5
Again, like Bellerin his defensive flaws were masked by what he does in attack. For Monreal, it was the equaliser that covers up for his defensive issues. Monreal was time and again exposed, and the right-sided attackers got the better of him.
Matteo Guendouzi – 7
Another impressive performance from the young midfielder. Guendouzi was at the ball again and tried to win it everytime West Ham had it. He gives Arsenal something different every time as an option in both attack and defence. Taken off in the second half when Emery felt that he was getting loose.
Granit Xhaka – 7
Granit Xhaka had his best game so far this season and made some crucial contributions in attack and defence. First, on the defensive side, Xhaka made some excellent tackles to deny West Ham some attacking moments in the game. And late in the game, the Swiss midfielder seemed to have found his usual passing range back.
Alex Iwobi – 6
The rating for him indicates that he was tidy enough in his play for the duration he was on the pitch. Did not put a foot wrong and always played well when on the ball. Also somehow got the assist for the first goal, although to all eyes it was Bellerin who seemed to have laid the chance for Monreal to score. Taken off at halftime for tactical reasons.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 6
A decent showing from the Armenian if not anything of substance. The attacker made some decent runs but did not have a single chance to his name, despite appearing to create them. The biggest drawback of his game was the fact that he gave the ball away five times against West Ham.
Aaron Ramsey – 7
Mesut Ozil’s absence was an opportunity in disguise for Ramsey to showcase his talents as a No.10, and he did. He was a constant threat to West Ham and did an excellent job in a role he was considered not good at. Still a bit unpolished in the No.10 role, but it now looks like Ozil and Ramsey are to compete for the position in the team.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7
Aubameyang showed a different side to his game today with an all-round display. Although he did not score a goal but was all over the attack. Created four chances and was innovative in his game. The goals are expected to come if he continues to play like this.
Alexandre Lacazette – 7
Another confident performance from Lacazette off the bench. Like in the other two games, even today when he came on everything about Arsenal’s attack changed and much to his credit, he does offer a different option in attack. It was his work on the ball that led to Arsenal’s second goal off West Ham’s Diop. He is not far enough from starting games for the side.
Lucas Torreira – 6.5
Like Lacazette, he too gives a different option to the team. It was his presence that gave Xhaka more freedom to play his usual game. Still getting used to the pace of the English game, but as soon as that happens, he too, like Lacazette would start games.
Danny Welbeck – 6.5
Came off the bench, got a goal that calmed the nerves inside the Emirates. Did not contribute much to any attacking moves, but was there at the right time to finish off a decent Arsenal move right at the end of regular time.