Thursday, June 13, 2024

West Ham 2-2 Arsenal: What Are The Main Talking Points As Arsenal Suffer A Title Blow At The London Stadium?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 17 Apr 2023

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Suffering a collapse at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Arsenal watched their title dreams take a major dent as they had to settle for a lively 2-2 draw away at West Ham.

While Mikel Arteta’s side might have come flying out of the traps in east London as Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard stormed them to a 2-0 lead inside the opening 10 minutes, the Gunners will instead by ruing a missed opportunity.

With Manchester City now firmly breathing down their neck, Arsenal would have been worried by the way that they capitulated across the capital.

With Said Benrahma converting from the spot 12 minutes before the half-time break, David Moyes will take plenty of positives away from a heavyweight comeback on home soil.

Watching England international Bukayo Saka shockingly fluff his lines from 12 yards out, it was then Jarrod Bowen who leveled the scoreline just seconds after Saka fired wide.

In what was an action-packed London derby, both West Ham and Arsenal will be feeling like they should have come away with more than a single point.

On an afternoon that could prove to be a crucial blow for Arsenal’s title charge, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Sunday’s showdown.

Are Arsenal losing momentum?

Although Arsenal might have simply had their sights set on securing a top-four return this season, the Gunners’ expectations have certainly progressed over the past few months.

However, while even Arteta wouldn’t have expected his young squad to be at the heart of a Premier League title scrap in the middle of April when opening the 2022/23 campaign, Sunday’s guests are showing some signs of a wobble.

Throwing away another two-goal lead at Anfield last weekend as they eventually had to settle for another 2-2 draw against Liverpool, Arsenal know that they now have the defending champions breathing down their neck.

Watching City storm their way to a 3-1 romp against Leicester on Saturday evening, all eyes will fall on their trip to the Etihad on April 26th for what could be a season-deciding showdown in Manchester.

Now holding a four-point buffer over Pep Guardiola’s high-flying squad and suffering back-to-back stalemates over the past week, Arsenal would be left heartbroken if they ended the season without a piece of silverware to their name.

Crashing out of the Europa League last month following a stunning penalties defeat at the hands of Sporting Lisbon, Arteta’s side now face a real phycological test.

Arteta’s defensive headache

Although Arteta’s side might have impressed many across Europe with their attacking displays this season, Guardiola’s former right-hand man will have a headache over Arsenal’s recent issues at the other end of the pitch.

Now having to settle for back-to-back 2-2 draws over the past week, Sunday’s guests have recorded just a single clean sheet from any of their last eight appearances across all competitions – a run that stems back to their 4-0 romp against Everton on March 1st.

Left frustrated last month as it was confirmed that defensive talisman William Saliba had sustained a back injury, the Gunners are also without both Oleksandr Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu for the foreseeable future.

Yet to record a Premier League clean sheet since returning from March’s international break, the likes of Rob Holding have largely struggled to fill the void since being handed a frequent run in Arteta’s side.

Glad to make a return to the Emirates next week when they welcome a rock-bottom Southampton to north London, Arteta’s top priority should be on finding a way to plug Arsenal’s leaky defence.

A season-defining point for the Hammers?

Putting in an uninspiring performance away at Gent earlier in the week as they opened their Europa Conference League quarter-final run with a 1-1 draw in Belgium, West Ham would have known that they faced a monumental challenge on Sunday afternoon.

Falling 2-0 behind in the opening 10 minutes and clearly left shellshocked, there is no doubt that the Hammers will take a string of positives away from a stellar comeback here.

With Moyes coming under a huge amount of scrutiny this season, it is no secret that Sunday’s hosts are simply dreaming of extending on their Premier League status in 2023.

However, looking to punch their Conference League semi-final ticket when Gent come to town for their second-leg meeting on Thursday night, West Ham do appear to have found some recent stability.

Despite being left stunned on April 5th as they were hit with a 5-1 drumming at home against Newcastle, that is the only defeat that the Hammers have suffered from their last eight appearances across all competitions.

Watching the likes of Southampton, Leicester and Everton all suffer their own respective defeats on Saturday, Moyes’ side now hold what could be a crucial four-point buffer from slipping into the relegation zone.

Match Report

West Ham: Fabianski, Coufal, Zouma, Kehrer, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Paqueta, Bowen, Benrahma, Antonio

Subs: Cornet, Fornals, Downes

Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Jesus

Subs: Vieira, Trossard, Nketiah, Nelson, Jorginho

Goals: West Ham: Benrahma (33’ P), Bowen (55’) – Arsenal: Jesus (7’), Odegaard (10’)

Yellow Cards: West Ham: Cresswell – Arsenal: Jesus, Partey

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: David Coote


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan



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