Arsenal maintained their winning start to the new Premier League campaign with a thoroughly unconvincing 2-1 win over West Ham United on Saturday.
Having beaten relegation favourites Fulham last weekend, an 85th minute Eddie Nketiah winner ensured that Arsenal emerged triumphant against London rivals once more.
Mikel Arteta originally made two changes to the eleven which started the new season; Bukayo Saka and Dani Ceballos replacing Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Mohamed Elneny. A complaint from Kieran Tierney about his hip saw him removed during the warm-up, with Sead Kolasinac taking his place.
Arsenal were dreadful in the game’s opening 20 minutes. They invited pressure upon themselves with their loose passes and it was West Ham who looked the more threatening until Alexandre Lacazette’s goal. Granit Xhaka played an incisive pass into the feet of Saka, who turned beautifully before feeding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose cross was met emphatically by the head of the Frenchman to score his 50th Arsenal goal.
Saka had a chance to double the lead on the half-hour mark following a trademark transition, but he skied his shot into the lower terrace. Arsenal then had a flurry of chances, before West Ham deservedly equalised on the stroke of half-time through the industrious Michail Antonio. Kolasinac could not stop Ryan Fredericks’ cross, and Rob Holding failed to mark his man.
That goal meant that Arsenal had to dig deep in the second half, and while they dominated possession in the early minutes, it was David Moyes’ men who were better in every facet. Antonio thundered a header off the crossbar, and the Englishman nearly capitalised on a Bernd Leno fumble. However, winning when you are not at your best is a great trait to have, and Nketiah’s goal secured victory for the Gunners.
Without further ado, here are three things that we learned from that wholly suspect performance.