Eddie’s up to the job as Hammers, hammered – Bring on Brighton!

The jubilance continues after Christmas for the Gunners as they now find themselves 7 points clear at the top of the league after an emphatic win against West Ham on Monday night. With Arsene Wenger watching on from the stands for the first time since leaving the club, his successor inspired his side to a second-half comeback following a penalty in the first half. With all 3 of Arsenal’s forward line bagging a goal, Nketiah will be most delighted with his instinctive strike to embark on a mission to prove many Arsenal fan’s wrong.

Starting slowly, the extensive period of the Gunners not playing together was evident. But after 44 days, all it took was 5 minutes and some attacking flair as Nketiah’s backheel was weighted for Saka to successfully find the top of the net before the offside flag was raised to deny Arsenal of an early lead.

Throughout the next 20 minutes, Arsenal struggled to find an attacking threat despite having a significant 72% possession, they only managed to register a single shot on target and 0.42 xG which was disappointing considering the visitors had double the xG (0.84) and double the amount of shots on target (2). With that, came Saliba’s foul on a sprinting Bowen when entering the box to allow Benrahma the chance to score from the spot. And fooling Ramsdale, Benrahma rifles the penalty down the middle and subsequently putting West Ham 1-0 up.


Benrahma celebrates after scoring a penalty to put West Ham 1-0 up against Arsenal.

Yet again, Arsenal are being caught down the left side of the pitch, this time, giving away a penalty. We also saw threats against Chelsea, Manchester United and other teams with good attacking outlets on the left. It is becoming a familiar sight but the options are limited when changing it. If the fullback drops deeper, the team struggles in the attacking phase and would mess up the system with the inverted wing-backs, something Arteta is increasingly fond of. I believe Gabriel, Saliba and White should form a more evident back 3 in tough games so we have more defensive stability. Arteta has favoured Tomiyasu in big games such as Liverpool as he offers more assurance in defence and as we saw against Manchester United, with Zinchenko or Tierney in the team, we get dominated on the left. However, all teams have weaknesses and ours hasn’t been successfully exploited in terms of goals very often this season so it isn’t a worrying sign, especially with Arteta having a plan to hide the weakness.

However, despite going down 1-0 at home to 16th place in a vital game, the Arsenal fans got behind the team and cheered them on from that moment. Part of this reason is the Ashburton Army, located in Block 26, and with the help of a drum, they drastically increase the volume inside and outside the Emirates.


One of Ashburton Army’s many crowd funded tifos displayed against Tottenham Hotspur

After a 25 minute dominant spell by the Gunners, a wrongly called penalty for Arsenal and half-time, Arsenal come out firing in the second half. A scuffed shot by Odegaard found Saka who slotted it home convincingly to level Arsenal, and after an offside-scare, Coufal was found to be playing everyone onside and the goal stood. Five minutes later, the ball is worked from the right, to the left before Xhaka fed through Martinelli and with the help of a very poorly positioned Fabianski, Martinelli managed to squeeze the ball near-post from a tight angle.

One of the reasons Arsenal were able to score in such quick succession was down to England international, Declan Rice. During the first-half, West Ham’s performance was significantly improved by Rice who protected the back 4. This meant Arsenal didn’t have much time on the ball and with the help of Rice, West Ham forced Arsenal into poor decisions. In a bid to keep West Ham’s attacking threat high after an Antonio chance early in the first half, Rice was often found high up the pitch, surrendering his defensive duties at times. This allowed Odegaard more time on the ball and Saka was able to find more spaces he is significantly quicker than the Hammers midfielder. This meant that Arsenal were no longer forced into poor decisions and their attacking outlets weren’t as limited.

Allowing 11 minutes for West Ham to recuperate, Nketiah showed no remorse to finish an excellent attacking display with a fitting, excellent finish. Nketiah’s showed signs of a great striker in those 5 seconds, with his back to goal he could gage where Kehrer was by his arms, allowing him to successfully turn the opposite way.

And after so much debate across the fanbase on whether Eddie is good enough to be utilised with Jesus’ injury, Nketiah celebrated by cuffing his ear and pointing at the ground, showing where he belongs. But does that goal mean he is good enough? I believe not, it isn’t a crazy achievement to score against a lacklustre defence who find themselves 16th in the table. However, no matter the opposition, the qualities shown where promising, he has drastically improved his first-touch and positioning so he looks far more convincing than previously. I believe Eddie is adequate enough to play in our tough January fixtures but I wouldn’t bet on him to be bagging goals for fun.


Nketiah celebrates after scoring against West Ham United.

After a victory filled with dominance and control to calm fan’s nerves, Arsenal travel to the south coast to face Brighton on New Years Eve and after losing with a rotated team in the Carabao Cup earlier this term, Arteta’s side will be looking to get revenge in the league.

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One Response to Eddie’s up to the job as Hammers, hammered – Bring on Brighton!

  1. Boff December 30, 2022 at 11:47 am #

    I think we’ll eventually find that losing the Carabao Cup fixture was the correct decision by management

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