Sunday 16 April 2023

West Ham 2-2 Arsenal

Pivotal penalty miss? Saka smashed his penalty wide, after Antonio conceded, but why did Jesus not take it himself? He was already a goalscorer, so surely he would fancy himself. 

The question posed in the last article was had lessons been learned from Anfield, and the answer seemed to be 'no', after 50 or so minutes, particularly after Bowen volleyed in an equaliser.

Although the commentary team seemed ready to blame Ramsdale, he did get a hand to the ball, which went in off the post. It was Bowen's third consecutive home goal against Arsenal.

Surely, it was time to bring on Trossard, with the game slipping away. In the 66th minute, it happened, as Jorginho replaced Partey and the mercurial Belgian came on for Jesus, who looked like scoring just before that, when he was inches away from getting on the end of a low cross from the left.

After the substitutions, Saka picked up a loose ball and ran straight at the Hammers, only to shoot straight at Fabianski tamely. 

At the other end, Bowen had a shot blocked by Tierney, who seemed to sustain an injury in doing so.

With Holding struggling, Benrahma got the better of him, and crossed to Antonio, who headed against the crossbar.

Nelson for Martinelli and Vieira to take Tierney's place suggested Arsenal were going for it, but zero points looked more likely than three, especially with only 5 minutes left on the clock.

Odegaard off for Nketiah in the 90th minute seemed a strange decision, given an attacking free kick was the re-start. Vieira's dinked dead ball was headed by Holding to give Fabianski an easy save. 

In the end, Arsenal had to settle for a draw, but how disappointed will the team feel after dropping points. The gap on Man City is down to four points and now the showdown in Manchester is ten days away.

Momentum is slipping away, the pundits say, but it's better to have the points in the bag. Arsenal could get a point at City, but they will have to do better than they did in the second half today.

What was missing today was a Declan Rice in Arsenal's team. Jorginho is not quite the answer and Partey went off the boil and made a costly mistake. Holding looked vulnerable and Arsenal clearly need Saliba back. Will the Gunners pay the price for having a thinner squad than their rivals? We'll know in May, but Arsenal can't keep throwing leads away, that's for sure.

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