West Ham hosted Arsenal on Saturday night following convincing wins from fellow title challengers Chelsea and Spurs. The Gunners put in a sublime performance marred by yet another Andy Carroll goal, and delivered a great response to the terrible performance in the League Cup. Alexis Sanches was at his superb best yesterday, scoring a superb hatrick all whilst torturing the West Ham defence. Arsenal were too much for West Ham on Saturday and as a reuslt were completely outclassed.
So here are the four things we learned:
1. Crossing Struggles
With Gabriel filling in at right-back, the pace and penetration for Arsenal came from the left wing. Monreal persistently pushed towards the West Ham box, however, the final delivery was simply non-existent. Ground crosses found only opposition defenders but this was the only option as height in the box is simply not a strength for the Gunners without Giroud.
All five goals came from open play through the middle and we’re mainly created by Sanchez, but the issue of crossing options will become more apparent against the bigger sides. Arsenal dominated proceedings, and Wenger will be looking to improve the deliveries into the box as well as keep the momentum of fluid goals going.
2. Irreplaceable Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez stole the headlines with a magical hattrick and an assist, solidifying himself as the talisman of this Arsenal side. The never-say-die attitude has been missing in failed title charges of the past, yet it seems that the team spirit has been changed by the number seven. The rumour mills run as they always do, but Gooners will be hoping that Sanchez’s exit is nothing more than hot air as this is a player vital to the drive behind the North London side. Thierry Henry left a seemingly unfillable gap at the Emirates, yet it seems that the new age has come with the charismatic Chilean. If Wenger can keep Sanchez, the title charge will soon become more than just hope and turn into an expectation.
Thierry Henry left a seemingly unfillable gap at the Emirates, yet it seems that the new age has come with the charismatic Chilean. If Wenger can keep Sanchez, the title charge will soon become more than just hope and turn into an expectation.
3. One Goal Cushions
Every Arsenal fan will admit to never feeling satisfied with a single goal lead. This is a trend that the Gunners have created of losing a lead after failing to slot away their chances. Yet the Sanchez-Özil-Chamberlain combination looked determined to put the game to bed and hush all doubts. On Saturday night the Gunners showed the will and killer instinct to not only win the game but completely shut out the competition. In prior games, an opposition goal would signal a drop in both intensity and defensive line for the Gunners, yet Arsene Wenger’s men refused to rest on their laurels and displayed the mindset fans have been waiting for.
In prior games, an opposition goal would signal a drop in both intensity and defensive line for the Gunners, yet Arsene Wenger’s men refused to rest on their laurels and displayed the mindset fans have been waiting for.
4. Gunners Rise To Occasion
With Chelsea and Spurs both recording wins earlier in the day, the pressure was on the Gunners to keep up with their rivals, something that would usually cause them to buckle but not this time. The determination, the calmness and the pure quality led the visitors towards a very convincing victory to go second on the table, and the form displayed in tonight’s game will be one the team hopes to replicate for the rest of the season. Having risen to the occasion against West Ham, Arsenal face the task of creating a four point gap on Manchester City. Keeping the positives from the West Ham game and improving on the shortcomings, Arsenal may find themselves closer to the summit week by week.
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