New West Ham boss Slaven Bilic inspires Emirates win against Arsenal
If Arsene Wenger needed any hints to re-enter the transfer window this summer, this was it. Two very soft goals against West Ham saw them experience a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates, with new signing Petr Cech to blame for both strikes.
Although the Gunners started the brightest, it was the same old story as they failed to make possession count. Fans may be wondering just why Wenger opted to start with Olivier Giroud up front ahead of Theo Walcott, who has scored five goals in five against the east London outfit. Indeed, why it took Wenger over an hour to bring the Englishman on (and at right wing no less) will be another bone of contention with supporters.
When balls were played through to Giroud on multiple occasions in the first half, the Frenchman’s lack of pace had all associated with Arsenal wishing Walcott was on the end of the chances.
However, credit to West Ham and new coach Slaven Bilic. His decision to play Dimitri Payet at the head of a diamond was inspired and having arrived from Marseille in the summer where he created the most chances in the top five European league’s last year (135) and continued this at the Emirates.
Payet’s free-kick delivery for the Hammers’ first goal just before half time was sublime and there was just enough on it to tempt Cech out of his goal as Cheikhou Kouyate connected with a header to score his second goal in three games against Arsenal.
More could be said about the defence which failed to take responsibility for tracking Kouyate’s run, though Cech’s decision to make an attempted diving punch was not only kamikaze, but also bizarre.
Although in the second half, Arsenal stepped up their efforts, the Hammers stood their ground well, not allowing the Gunners to find or create space, while also cutting out intricate passes. When forgotten man Mauro Zarate chased a lost cause out of the Gunners’ area, dispossessed his man and shot on the turn, he wrong-footed Cech as the ball trickled inside the near post.
This bore all the signs of the Gunners’ first game of the season two years ago when they lost to Aston Villa at the Emirates, which caused Wenger to splash out on Mesut Ozil a few days later.
Arsenal remain 9/2 for the title despite an early set back.