Alexandre Lacazette and Martin Odegaard were the shining lights as Arsenal registered a fabulous comeback draw with West Ham United to steal a point.
Arsenal showcased excellent character to secure a 3-3 draw with West Ham United on Sunday, despite going 3-0 down at one point. The draw at the London Stadium does not necessarily help them in regards to the club’s aspirations in the Premier League, but the extraordinary comeback should instill confidence ahead of the upcoming Europa League matches.
It was always going to be a difficult game for Arsenal, after Mikel Arteta made several chops and changes from the side that faced Olympiacos in midweek. And quite predictably, the Gunners endured a horrendous start to the game, with goals from Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek helping West Ham seal an unassailable 3-1 lead heading into half-time.
A galvanised Arsenal team, though, changed the complexion of the game with an inspiring performance after the restart. They created more chances and looked more dangerous going forward. While the visitors had pulled one back through a Soucek own goal in the 38th minute, their sustained pressure on the Hammers helped Craig Dawson score another in the 61st minute.
It set the stage up perfectly for Arsenal to chase a comeback victory and while they did eventually level things in the 81st minute through Alexander Lacazette, they could never manage to break apart the West Ham defence during the final ten minutes of the game. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will now run the rule over the Arsenal in their sensational draw with the Hammers.
Bernd Leno: 3/10
Bernd Leno had an awful game in between the sticks for Arsenal – perhaps one of the worst of the campaign as the German was quite incompetent. He should have done much better especially for the second goal while remaining helpless for the third goal as well. Not the best of matches for the Arsenal goalkeeper.
He has to do better. pic.twitter.com/FyPzymLW3J
— Arsenal Presser (@ArsenalPresser) March 21, 2021
Calum Chambers: 7.5/10
It was a welcome return to the pitch for Calum Chambers, who has been largely overlooked by Mikel Arteta for the most part of the campaign. The former Southampton defender did not disappoint either, producing a lot of great moments going forward. It was his cross that led to Lacazette’s opener, although the goal was later attributed as a Soucek own goal.
David Luiz: 5/10
David Luiz looked clueless at the heart of the four-man backline. His poor decision making and questionable positioning made it difficult for him to deal with the early onslaught from West Ham as the Arsenal backline looked extremely vulnerable. The experienced operator did improve as the game progressed but primarily due to the opposition taking the foot off the pedal.
Pablo Mari: 5/10
Coming back into the side at the expense of Gabriel Magalhaes, Pablo Mari did not make too much of an impression at the heart of the Arsenal defence. He was a crucial outlet in the build-up play, threading 62 accurate passes. However, he looked rattled when West Ham exerted the early pressure, lacking any sort of discipline whatsoever.
Kieran Tierney: 6.5/10
Kieran Tierney had a disappointing game given his lofty standards. He was culpable of conceding the third goal as he lost possession in a key area of the pitch. Also got caught lacking in the quick set-piece goal.
Tierney didn't have one of his best games, but the block that kept us in the game. 👏 pic.twitter.com/9wHlhSrDIa
— AfcVIP⁴⁹ (@VipArsenal) March 21, 2021
The Scot, though, was quick to make amends, especially with his forays down the flanks that helped Arsenal power a second half comeback. Unlucky not to register at least one assist.
Thomas Partey: 6/10
Thomas Partey had a mixed game, as he did make numerous turnovers in the middle of the park but also lacked the fluency going forward. His attempts on goal were also wayward, translating into a bit of a balanced display from the former Atletico Madrid holding midfielder this afternoon.
Granit Xhaka: 5.5/10
Granit Xhaka did not have the best of games in the middle of the park. He struggled to control things in midfield, as West Ham looked far better with their physically astute midfielders in Soucek and Declan Rice. As such, the Swiss international had difficulties in distributing possession as well as keeping things neat and tidy during defensive phases.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 5/10
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked lethargic to begin with, barely showing any signs of creativity or pace on the flanks for Arsenal. It appears the former Borussia Dortmund star clearly does not enjoy playing on the right flank, with the forward being eventually taken off during the final phase of the game.
Martin Odegaard: 8/10
Martin Odegaard was one of the best performers for Arsenal in this entire game. He was the only player who looked consistent and menacing throughout the ninety-minute, often looking for that defence-threading forward pass to create chances for his team. In fact, the playmaker completed all four of his dribbles while creating an equal number of chances in the final third.
I think Martin Odegaard praise deserves a Tweet of its own.
Even in that bad spell he was the one stand out player for us. He has incredible technical ability, helped us control parts of that 2nd half, and his character is fucking spot on too.
Please make it permanent. pic.twitter.com/zAaLLwOWnk
— arseblog (@arseblog) March 21, 2021
It appears the on-loan Real Madrid starlet has indeed become an indispensable figure in the Arsenal midfield and it will be interesting to whether or not the Gunners can keep hold of his services beyond this summer.
Bukayo Saka: 6/10
Recovering from an injury in midweek, Bukayo Saka looked sort of clumsy and inconsistent in the final third. He was not quite effective as he normally is and in fact, it was he who conceded the foul just outside the box, thus leading to Bowen’s goal in the 17th minute. Needs more game-time to settle in properly after that injury scare.
Alexandre Lacazette: 8/10
It was yet another valiant effort in the final third by Alexandre Lacazette, whose effort led to the first goal in the latter stage of the first half, before he eventually scored the equaliser in the 81st minute. In between, the Frenchman worked his socks off, dropping deep to influence the approach play while holding the ball up well in the final third. A complete attacking display from the attacker.
Most Premier League goals scored away from home so far this season:
🇪🇬 Mohamed Salah (10)
🏴 Patrick Bamford (9)
🏴 Jamie Vardy (9)
🇫🇷 Alexandre Lacazette (8)
🏴 Dominic Calvert-Lewin (8)
🇵🇹 Bruno Fernandes (8)
Road warriors. 💪 pic.twitter.com/iiPZ6uuH3U
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) March 21, 2021
Nicolas Pepe: 7/10
Nicolas Pepe replaced Bukayo Saka in the 74th minute and made a quick impression. He set up Lacazette’s equaliser and looked quite dangerous in and around the penalty with his unpredictable movements. Could have done a bit better in regards to his finishing though.
Emile Smith Rowe: 6/10
Emile Smith Rowe came in for Xhaka in the 74th minute to offer more creative essence in the final third. Nothing extraordinary but the youngster did do enough to keep Arsenal on top during the final phase of the game.
Gabriel Martinelli: N/A
A late replacement for Aubameyang. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.