A pulsating London Derby resulted in Arsenal taking the spoils in the East End.
An hour long journey for me from North West London to East London was very eventful to say the least. Throughout the train journey there were lots of Hammers fancying their chances in this game given Arsenal’s recent defensive frailties and the return of the ‘woman beating'(allegedly) Andy Carroll who can of course throw his weight around.
As the team sheets filtered through there were many raised eyebrows at the inclusion of young French midfielder Francis Coquelin having recently returned from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic. However, Coquelin would have the last laugh as many Arsenal fans were left pleasantly surprised come the final whistle at Upton Park.
As the Arsenal fans roared into the ground the game got underway and from the start, West Ham applied pressure and hearts were in the mouths as Alex Song’s strike was ruled out for offside much to the relief of the travelling Arsenal faithful. It was evident that being a London derby this was going to be a feisty affair and it lived up to that expectation as there were many tackles all across the pitch. West Ham by this time were trying to exert pressure but the Arsenal defence stood firm.
Then the turning point. The magician Santi Cazorla’s quick feet bamboozled the West Ham centre backs resulting in reported Arsenal target Winston Reid clipping him to the floor and conceding the penalty. The Spaniard dusted himself down to tuck away the penalty himself sending his compatriot Adrian the wrong way.
The opening goal seemed to give Arsenal a morale boost and it was soon followed up by a burst from the Ox who supplied a low cross for Danny Welbeck to score a second and put the Gunners in a commanding position at half time.
Arsenal could hardly believe their luck but there were still concerns in the stands given the aerial threat which the West Ham posed. Per Mertesacker saved a certain goal and then that threat came to fruition as nine minutes into the second half Arsenal failed to clear their lines and Kouyate gave the Hammers a glimmer of hope. Arsenal lived dangerously throughout the second half despite having the chance to kill the game off with Adrian making two great saves from Cazorla and then Chamberlain’s diving header.
There were lots of disgruntled fans however as Arsene Wenger did not bring substitutions on until the closing stages, a time when Chamberlain was tiring. As the closing moments approached the Arsenal’s goal was under siege; the game became scrappy and another headed effort deep into injury time fortunately landed on the roof of the net.
The final whistle blew and a vital three points were going back to North London which Arsenal can build on heading into the New Year’s Day fixture.
Arsenal now climb above their London rivals and with the transfer window only round the corner, there is a fresh wave of optimism and this result can provide an injection of life into Arsenal’s season.
That’s a fine post match from someone, well done.
Here’s my take on the game.
In 1974 Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle, throughout the fight Ali lay on the ropes, covering up and defending, only occasionally making rapid forays to land devastating punches on the ponderous Foreman. Eventually as Foreman tired those forays became more frequent and telling until, in the eighth round, Ali put Foreman down for the count. Ali called his tactics “Rope-a-Dope”.
Watching Arsenal over the last two games I’ve come to the conclusion that Wenger must be a boxing fan, or at least he saw that fight in Kinshasa and it stuck in his memory.
Against the Hammers we started with two holding mid-fielders in front of the back four, Flamini and Coquelin. We had considerable pace and guile in mid-field with Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis, while upfront more pace and a good finisher in Welbeck.
Big Fat Sam eschewed his recent New Man image and reverted to his old Bolton Wanderers style, if “style” can be used in conjunction with the way his teams of yore played. Big man (Andy Carroll) up front using his height, physical presence and elbows to batter his opponents into submission. Although, in this case, not complete submission.
Instead Arsenal defended deep, with good cover from a surprisingly effective Francis Coquelin playing alongside Flamini, the returning Frenchman was breaking up play, intercepting passes and distributing the ball well, by doing so he disrupted Hammers mid-field diamond and prevented Downing from taking control.
Early on Hammers had a Song “goal” rightfully disallowed when two, possibly three, West Ham players stood in clearly offside positions in front of Szczesny, two of them either making attempts to play the ball or to let it pass, either way they were interfering with play.
Two lightning quick breaks brought us two goals in quick succession. The first when Winston Read (a possible transfer target for Arsenal?) tripped Cazorla as he ran into the area. Santi made no mistake from the spot. 41 minutes one nil to the Arsenal.
Three minutes later Oxlade-Chamberlain crossed beautifully from the right for Welbeck to side-foot the ball home. 44 minutes two nil to the Arsenal.
The second half was a repeat of the first, the Hammers pressing hard, Arsenal defending stoutly but also making those dangerous forays up-field. Eventually West Ham got a deserved goal when on fifty-four minutes Kouyate out-jumped Debuchy to head home passed a despairing Szczesny.
As West Ham pressed ever harder Arsenal defended deeper but still made numerous raids on the Hammers goal and only
superb ‘keeping by the excellent Adrian kept the score down to just two.
All in all it was an exciting all-action game, Arsenal’s play was almost totally lacking in the close, quick passing and movement so much normally a feature of Wenger’s teams, but this was an Arsenal side playing with attacking pace and guile.
Has Tika-Taka has evolved into Rope-a-Dope?
A fine post from i believe a new post writer Hussain 14 and a very fine post Sir.
We are very fortunate to have authors of the quality of Sir Hussain and of course stalwarts like Boxing fan Norfolk the Gooner, i praise you both.
As usual i have left a comment on the last post at the wrong time, and once posted i find we have a new post.
Reading these two fine posts, leaves very little to say, so well done Gooners.
Just want to thank the entire squad for a pulsating performance yesterday.
Now that should silence my work colleagues and a few of my neighbours for awhile – All ” Ammers”. After 30 years I guess the ‘h’ has disappeared for good.
No more East End jokes such as:
“Arsenal boys, having trouble finding us -(meaning – WH)? Try looking up!
Just want to personally thank Small Sam, for announcing his strategy on TV, a few days before we did battle. Wish every other manager would help Wenger out and do the same.
Excellent stuff Sir A
Very interested in your comment about Arsenal away fans wanting substitutions. Funny thing, it’s usually me as well, but yesterday I was urging the telly not to make any at all.
Arsene then added two defenders in Chambers and Gibbs. This is a genuine question: is it the right tactic?
Interesting that Norfolk’s excellent post talks about Rope-a-Dope
Revenge at work will be sweet 🙂
A super Post Sir Alex Hussain (hope that’s right?) 🙂
I only saw the game last night as the match of the day on Sky, but your summary was spot on.
Not too much has been said about the appalling commentary on Sky, especially Tony Gale’s contribution, but it was no surprise to hear such a one-sided, biased opinion from a former Wham player.
Why do Sky permit such inflammatory nonsense?
A fine summation, Chary’s mate. thank you very much. 🙂 In this space, we love a little bit of disagreement. Unfortunately I find no ammunition for that in your post. what a pity! 😛
Having said that, I have a question. When you say travelling fans were a bit frustrated that Wenger left until very late. What is your sense of what kind of subs they wanted to see?
Some AAers expected to see Theo as a sub and were disappointed. I quite liked the idea of defensive subs. what the hell not? But at the moment, I suppose some bile would have poured out?
What the heck. What matters are the results. And you cannot please everyone at the same time. 🙂
Norfolk. Fine idea this rope-a-dope thingy. 🙂 gets me thinking? a combination of tiki-taka with rope-a-dope? Is this Wenger’s new innovation? Hot off the press on Boxing Day 2014. I wonder. 🙂 🙂
Not unhappy at all. In fact, a happy bunny if there ever was one. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Most importantly, we seem to have learnt from our mistakes against Anderlecht at home. Onwards and upwards! 🙂
Get well soon, Kelsey. We are missing some bloody say-it-as-you-see-it dose of realism. 🙂
Amazing all the crude junk mail over the Xmas has come to an end. The last being 17 mins before kick off.
Not even a warm sentiment ‘Seeing it is the festive season as well’ to Congratulate the The Bear on supporting the superior team.
Come on de Arsenal, time to take your feet off the brakes, turn on the style and start back playing sexy football again.
Mr Wenger more POWER is needed in the defence.
I do not want you to think I am in anyway an antediluvian Luddite, but after considerable agonising over my total lack of interest or knowledge in modern communication technology, and the fact I choose to borrow computers on an ad hoc basis from flat mates, [and that carries limitations as to use] I am forced to publcally admit that I do not have a licence to drive Twitter, Tumbril, Flickr, Flackr, Drop Box Gorgeous or whatnot.
Micky, that smooth tongued, rubber suited surfing ingénue had it right yesterday when he implied that your vox pop video performance deserves to be made public and not to be restricted to an audience of one!!!! 🙂
Your earlier rendition last year was a huge hit with AA’ers and it would be splendid if you would put your vid up either on New Year’s Day or perhaps New Year’s Eve?
No pressure!! 😀
Sorry to hear you are feeling under the weather and hope you are better soon.
[Of course I have typed the above on the basis that I say it as I see it, unlike the other buggers on AA.] 🙄
Excellent report, SirAH.
The bit about disgruntled fans wanting subs is real ‘at the match’ stuff. Interesting because many wanted attacking subs against QPR. Was it defensive subs those around you wanted or just to replace tiring players?
We have a chap near us at home who shouts ‘make a change, Venga’ soon after half time at nearly every game when things aren’t going our way 100%.
Does 6 points in 2 games mean the right choices were made in the final reckoning?
Thank you SirAH 😛 I’ll add your name to the list of authors at the first opportunity. I think we’ll just have to accept AW’s way with subs – in the black and white world of supporters, if it works he’s a genius, if it doesn’t he’s an idiot. I would like to see more decisive changes at times and not always limited to the 73rd minute, but we will never know what would have happened if ……
I’m delighted with 6 points from the last 2 games and if we beat the saints next up, I expect us to stay top 4 for the rest of the season and to mount a serious challenge for 3rd or even 2nd.
BTW, where the hell is 26?
26 is claiming the 5th amendment arnie 😕
Young RA. All you need is the web address which I would send you. Then you click on the link and Bob is your Uncle.
The problem lies in your very understandable wish for anonymity. If you feel secure enough to send your email address to Arsenal Nuts I can send the file.
Why not put it on Youtube or AA etc? Because I don’t want to – it is the anonymity thing 🙂
Just a quick one from me )). I am delighted with the points from the last two games but as mentioned above felt substitutions were late and when made actually put us in jeopardy of losing what we had.
The collapse of our attack as a result put us into a pressure cauldron whereas I felt ‘fresh’ attackers lie Pod, Walcott and Campbell, let alone Sanogo yesterday – was he fit?, would have kept some,of their players tied up up the field, lessening the danger.
We survived so all is well but the extra time those ‘red-zone’ players put in may cost us at Southampton, if not later in the season IMHO.
Sir A. Fine post, thank you.
Just as I saw the game. We were under the cosh and battled to win. The stats on the Arseblog site are very interesting, they show we made more defensive headers than we would normally make in two games. And that WHU put 56 crosses into our box ….. so much for Allardyce’s change of tactics.
sounds like a very interesting video, Raddy. 🙂
Rasp, im with u on where we will end up. Third will be a nice finish if we can knock man u out of there. I don’t know about 2nd, but next year will be first.
Poooo – stunk the place out, bro.
Great pic chas. Proves the Walrus horribly wrong.
Evening all and thank you for your very kind comments! This was my first ever match report so I was a bit nervous about how it would be received!
I noticed some of your comments about substitutions. When I say disgruntled fans a lot of fans, including myself, wanted to see an outlet in the game with pace. Oxlaide-Chamberlain was clearly tired and there were lots of cries for Theo Walcott to come on.
The fans were pleading for that 3rd goal but it did not arrive so the defensive substitutions riled many fans as we were forced to defend very deep.
Evening all, gone report SirA must admit I feel like Chas that if we got 3 points from then there is no point quibbling over substitutions. As Shard said after the QPR game bring on Theo leave Chambers on bench and concede and the armchair tacticians would still be upset.
I’m all for a bit of football debate, but I’m also for it being reasonable (ie in light of the results you have to say Arsene got the last two right).
Now I know there will be much consternation about this but I think it was flagged offside not because Szczesny had players in his eyeline, that as far as I am aware is now a crazily moot point, the refs were issued guidance at the start of last season I believe saying if they don’t touch it or try and play the ball then offside should not be given, and here is why it was given the player who the ball went past actually makes an effort to divert the ball, that stops Szczesnydiving because he is expecting the touch to take the ball his way and that is the only reason why the attacker is offside
Good morning ladies
I hope everyone had a very merry christmas? I ended up having a footy free christmas, didn’t see the QPR or WHU games. Watched some highlights yesterday before going to bed and sleeping 15 hours. Thought they were both good results. The good looking Frenchman however, needs to keep his head where it rightly belongs, between a womans legs! 🙂
24 hrs before you start all over again NB 🙂
Have to say that it sounds very much like you’ve been hanging around with the wrong sorts if you can’t watch The Arsenal.
That, or she was of once-in-a-lifetime calibre
At NB’s age it is once a night calibre (unless he is viagra-ed)
Ah Big. Pleasant surprise. Have we… you know?
Only once – it was a stand-out experience 🙂
Yeah, and now back to transfer news. Those Cavani stories won’t go away. Back in the Telegraph today according to Newsnow. He was left out of PSG’s last game fuelling rumours
Sources close to
Love it all 🙂
one of the most disgusting vids I have ever seen, please don’t watch if you are eating
shouldn’t that filthy bastard shave before exposing it to the world?
a Scottish woman with Ebola was flown from Glasgow to London for treatment. Would that happen if Scotland was an independent country?
And, we are being told that Ebola spreads only through bodily fluids. Why then the sophisticated isolation units in hospitals??
I just read this gem from Exile:
“Now I know there will be much consternation about this but I think it was flagged offside not because Szczesny had players in his eyeline, that as far as I am aware is now a crazily moot point, the refs were issued guidance at the start of last season I believe saying if they don’t touch it or try and play the ball then offside should not be given, and here is why it was given the player who the ball went past actually makes an effort to divert the ball, that stops Szczesnydiving because he is expecting the touch to take the ball his way and that is the only reason why the attacker is offside”
Please tell me you don’t understand it either, please. I read it twice and still have not a clue
You’re on a roll this morning Eddie 🙂
yes micky, I might actually go and have a fight. It is dead easy – all I have to do is walk my dogs, mind my own business, pick up poo ( x 3). There is guaranteed to be at least one arsehole to have a go at me – for not picking up piss, for not having dogs on the lead, some hate German Sheppard, other find pug’s breathing disturbing, and I am not even going to mention the staffie
I like a Staffie…….. specially when I’ve taken my viagra 🙂
DM’s on then 🙂
That’ll be Steffie, not Staffie, you tool NB 🙂
I was thinking specifically for Eddie and a Stiffie… 🙂 but I do know a Stephie…. she’s just a friend though, a SILF… ha ha
Just going back to boring football…. we won’t buy Cavani, we don’t need a expensive striker. And personally I don’t think he is much, if he can’t score goals in the French League 1, he’d be useless in the EPL 🙂
Ah right, a Stiffie. How could I possibly not have read you better? Silly me 🙂
Is there a post in waiting?
I suspect the missing word in the explanation is ‘active’. If the ‘offside’ player(s) stay as still as statues they are deemed not offside.
Two of the Wham players became ‘active’ when one tried to influence the direction of the ball and the other opened his legs and jumped over the ball.
Any further explanation requirement should be directed to Norther – he knows a lot about ‘opening legs’ and whether or not Viagra is in order – or is that Giant Raddish?
You’ll soon realise as you get older that your obsession from a younger age becomes even more of an obsession as age affects certain extremities. Manhood is a strong motivator…. you’ve obviously not got there yet 🙂
Hello Redders………… Merry Christmas mate
Mushroom sauce for lunch
Sanogo out to Italy, Cavani in to us. Allegedly
nb – ha ha ha ha, that mushroom is so funny, oh I cannot stop laughing
Rock of the Day
If I grew up all the fun in life would stop…….. 🙂
Chas… help me out here mate
ha ha ha ha ha, that mountain is so funny 🙂 I will burst laughing
I have my house to myself for the first time in 10 days – heaven 🙂
I kind of remember Rasp telling me there’s a post in nuts from someone so let me go and have a look ………. back in a bit.
I can understand your mirth…. some lesbo friends of mine told me that if they enjoyed strap ons, then they wouldn’t be lesbo’s 🙂
and the best of all:
nb – I bet all your ex-wives are lesbians now
actually Eddie…….. I do seem to pick’em, two of them did swing both ways 🙂
Peaches. I wrote a post which is not time sensitive. If there is one in Nuts use that
nice stuff, Evonne. 🙂
Micky. “Have we… you know?” Brilliant. 🙂
Ok, I’ve got one from Micky to use today and another from Twenty Twelve Gooner that I’ll slot on on Saturday and Raddy’s too fantastic.
We have a New Post ………………..