Arsenal made it two wins out of as many games after beating London rivals West Ham in their first home game of the season. Here are our talking points from this fixture at the Emirates.
Hammers opt to match Gunners with three at the back:
Having previously employed a 4-2-3-1 formation, West Ham opted to match Arsenal defensively here, playing the same three at the back formation as the Gunners. They went for a Ogbonna, Diop and Cresswell back three, with Arthur Masuaku effectively playing as a left wingback. On several occasions, West Ham effectively defended in a 5-4-1 formation- a tough shape for the Gunners to break down, and they were a far improved side from the one that had lost 2-0 to Newcastle at home on the opening weekend.
A tale of two super subs:
Substitute Eddie Nketiah scored the winner for Arsenal, but Andriy Yarmolenko, who had replaced Jarrod Bowen just minutes before, was guilty of ball watching as Arsenal scored. One of the reasons Bowen and Fornals start ahead of Anderson and Yarmolenko is their willingness to do the tough defensive work, and it was a moment of weakness that cost West Ham dearly.
Late disruption to Arsenal’s starting XI
Mikel Arteta had originally gone in with two changes- Bukayo Saka for Ainsley Maitland Niles and Dani Ceballos for Mohamed Elneny. He was forced to make it three after Kieran Tierney pulled up with a injury, thus forcing Sead Kolasinac into the back three alongside Gabriel and Holding. The defence had a tough time, with Michail Antonio constantly a nuisance with his pace and running threat.
The Premier League has no easy games
We say this often, and it was again demonstrated. Arsenal had coasted to victory against Fulham while West Ham were poor against Newcastle. With Mark Noble out, West Ham traditionally strugglers on the road and Hammers boss David Moyes choosing to bench their expensive trio of Lanzini, Haller and Anderson, this was expected to be a straightforward win for Arsenal. Instead, it was anything but straightforward, and West Ham deserved at least a point, if not all three for their efforts.
West Ham had several chances- most of them in the 20 minute period between the 50th and 70th minute as Arsenal survived wave after wave of attack. On another day, this could’ve easily gone the Hammers’ way.