Arsenal keep West Ham in their place.

So our Champions League hopes remain narrowly alive; as the saying goes, we have to take one game at a time and win them as they come along and that is exactly what we did, not pretty, but another important three points on the score board.

It took, what seemed to be an eternity, for VAR to realise that it is our god given right to beat the lesser teams of our shared capital. West Ham will always be in our shadows, a lesser team and a lesser club, their supporters spent most of the game vocalising where they thought best another, lesser, club stick their blue flag, funnily enough I found myself agreeing.

The team selection wasn’t that much of a surprise, although, Socratis keeping his place over Bellerin suggests that it is not just we the fans who can see that Hector is taking slightly longer than perhaps was expected to regain his former effectiveness; still, I am a big Bellerin fan and hope that he regains his former respect sooner rather than later.

We also had Mari making his debut for what must have been an injured Mustafi. You can never be sure which category a tall centre back is going to fall into; we all hope for another in the Big Tone mould but Stepanovs still haunts us. Mari started poorly giving the ball away and being caught out of position but it has to be said that he grew in confidence and became more effective as the game went on.

The first half was pretty dull with a near miss from Socratis who headed just over from a corner; a couple of good chances fell to West Ham who should have been ahead but hey ho. The second half started as usual with greater purpose; Arteta slowly increased the intensity with the inclusion of Nelson for Pepe and just before that Lacazette for Nketiah who added a lot more drive to our play before getting the all important winner.

Player Ratings

Leno: great save in the second half, clean sheet; all in all a very good day at the office. 9

Socratis: I suppose he was included to give Hector a bit more recovery time, he certainly helped aerially, didn’t do too much wrong and came close to scoring which would have been the second game on the trot. 7

Luiz: the thing to realise here is imagine he wasn’t an Arsenal player and we had to make do with Socratis and Mustafi at the back and you start to see why we should be grateful for his presence, well I am anyway. A superb performance today, so obviously an Arsenal player it makes me wonder how and why he ever played anywhere else. 8

Mari: got better as the game went on, gave us a lot more authority in the air and left me feeling quite good that he is on our books. 7

Saka: why does Saka play every game, is it because of other injuries, no it is not, it is because of his contract. The powers that be are making sure that he gets everything he wants as an enticement to stay and what he wants most of all is to play, and play he did. It is clearly not an accident that he has got the amount of assists that he has; he is the most potent threat from either wing by some considerable distance. 7

Xhaka: I want to scream at him, just give the ball to Saka but far too often he missed the opportunity; he didn’t play that badly, no silly mistakes and a game without a yellow, whatever next. 6

Ceballos: MOTM: the guy was everywhere, driving us forward and mopping up when it was inevitably needed. 9

Ozil: Mesut put in a decent shift without setting the place on fire. 7

Pepe: as I have said before there is an interesting little duel going on between Pepe and Nelson I have to admit I much prefer Nelson’s more direct approach. 6

Aubamayang: it’s like putting a racehorse in with a team of horses pulling a tractor – a complete waste. 6

Nketiah: didn’t get any service and unsurprisingly wasn’t able to flourish. 5

Not a game that will stay long in the memory but three valuable points should never be stiffed at.



26 Responses to Arsenal keep West Ham in their place.

  1. Thank you for the post LB, as you say not one to live long in the memory.

    Like you I was impressed with Ceballos …….. hope he can keep up that kind of commitment to the cause.

    I thought Mari settled in very well ……..

    Xhaka ……. ‘give the ball to Saka’ absolutely 🙂

  2. RockyLives says:

    Thanks LB

    I saw the Match of the Day highlights but they hardly give you a real sense of the game.

    It sounds like it was a hard slog, but the all important three points are what count.

    Pleased to hear that Ceballos continued his decent form.

  3. Gooner4life says:

    I agree that we came away with 3 slightly fortunate points but hey ho
    Only reservations were with Sokratis over NM but presume that is a signal to NM about his commitment. Sokratis was left exposed with too little help from Pepe but he battled and earned his rating
    If there is a contest between Pepe and Nelson I would give Nelson a run because he has more energy going forward and back and increases the pace rather than stifle progression
    The contest between Nketiah and Lacazette is ongoing with Eddie being the fox in the box whilst Laca battled hard for all opportunities and proved his instincts for being in the right lace at the right time are as strong as ever
    With the results elsewhere favouring us elsewhere and fingers crossed for today for slight sprains and strains in the Mancs derby then upwards and onwards to the next challenges

  4. blimey! says:

    Surely MotM should go to VAR…..
    The hubris in your report is baffling from a mid table team about a relegation team and who lucked out by having Offside overturned upon review…. and shocking finishing from the visitors

  5. GooStick says:

    Arsenal was really poor. Should’ve been 0:3 to WHU.

  6. kfdickie says:

    Thanks LB, I’m contributing more as a reader of the blog, rather than a writer, all the same I’m here! I know you were at the game, but I think it was Xhaka that made the early mistake, and Sok hit the cross bar. [ Watched it three times now] I think the ‘kids’ seem to fight for their place in the team, and then relax when they are starting. With the exception of Saka, who seems to know he is potentially world class. In my usually unshared opinion, I think Nelson gives far more than Pepe, who still seems to lack the knowledge of team play. Ozil seems to play more effectively as a luxury player in a good team than a guv’ner in a mediocre one. We were very lucky to not be three down before our VAR rescued goal. And we won’t know what Mari is like until Wednesday evening, if he plays. But generally, even with the chances we gave away, we never really looked like we would lose. Arteta looked confident in his Captain Scarlett attire, and it seems to be getting better by the day.

  7. LBG says:

    Blimey, your goostick has got stuck again!

  8. LBG says:

    Win our game in hand against Manshitty 4-0 and we would be fifth!!

  9. RockyLives says:

    Captain Scarlet attire 😀

  10. RockyLives says:

    So… under Mikel in the EPL…

    Played 10
    Won 4
    Drawn 5
    Lost 1

    Not a bad start. And pleasingly we have started to move from drawing to winning.

  11. LB says:

    Good to read your thoughts KF

    And again, the “Captain Scarlett attire” is another one of your gems.

  12. LBG says:

    Brilliant goal from Mount. Nice little draw or Everton win would do.

  13. LBG says:

    Ancelotti or Mikel? Simples! The Spanish master craftsman.

  14. LBG says:

    2-0 up and you can hear a pin drop at the home of the Chavs. Sh** Club, no history…or crowd!

  15. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the report LB. As you say, not the best performance but grinding out a result (and riding our luck) will do as long as we secure the three points.
    I agree Ceballos was MOTM. Everything was being channeled through him in midfield and he always sought to drive play forwards whereas Xhaka often reverted to sideways and backwards passing.
    I thought that after a nervy start, Mari was excellent. He adopted the central position when we were in attacking mode and constantly showed for possession and then distributed the ball quickly and accurately …. he would have been my second choice for MOTM along with Leno. Leno made some excellent points saving stops, but also again played defenders into trouble with his ‘must always play out from the back whatever the opposition are doing’ mentality.

  16. Jenny Bocking says:

    Arrogance the first step to failure. Just like you did in the 1980 cup final. Oh dear a team that had its day. Had West Ham taken their chances -and pathetic they didnt- you would have been buried. West Ham will stay up and lets see if you do better than us in future. oooooooooOh forgot of course you will you are after all the Arse!

  17. Sue says:

    Nice read, LB 👍
    I’m disappointed to have seen a lot of negativity on twitter & another site – we won didn’t we? 🙄
    I was expecting a draw, so had a very happy journey home, after bagging those 3 precious points!
    West Ham played well, was impressed with Bowen and that beast Antonio. And if I’d read “If only West Ham had taken their chances” once, I must have read it about 100 god damn times, well they didn’t take them and left the Emirates with nothing. And I’m afraid that’s how football goes, you win some, you lose some!
    I enjoyed the match, thought Ceballos was superb and my motm. Leno was also superb and really liked Mari too.. so overall was a very satisfying win… well done boys 👍 Up the gunners!

  18. LB says:

    Thanks Jenny

    You made the effort of writing that worth while.


  19. Sue says:

    All I can say is, I hope City play like that on Wednesday!

  20. I was thinking the same thing Sue ….. and now it’s out there 😉

  21. Sue says:

    Great minds, Peaches 😜

    Well done to Rambo – scoring and assisting in their win over Inter – Sanchez, Lukaku and Eriksen – Sweet 👌

  22. Malaysian gunner says:

    To be brutally honest,the gunners got away.They could have lost 2-0 or 3-1.Somehow they survive.Arteta better be careful against MC.
    The Blues passing game was ripped to pieces by the rd quick breakouts.Arsenal play a similar passing game laying sieze.
    A quick breakout involving 2/3/4 long raking passes and you could be a goal down.

  23. kfdickie says:

    Le Coq Monster says:
    March 8, 2020 at 2:30 pm
    Correction KF… I stand corrected!

  24. RockyLives says:

    New Post…

  25. fred1266 says:

    Sue Pep rest all the big guns KDB, Walker, mendy, mahrez just for us imagine he threw all the Derby just to spite arteta for leaving so I think he will play a very strong side on Wednesday

    Am still having nightmare of what KDB did to us when I was there last year

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