Arsenal were hot favourites going into this – creating banana-skin conditions and a chance of anti-climax.
Tierney was injured in the warm-up which didn’t help the cause. Kolasinac came in – in what could be his last game, with interest from Germany. Saka and Ceballos, whose capability was questioned by one pundit this week, came in as well.
West Ham performed well at The Emirates, last season – and were unlucky. They lined up in a back three – to match Arsenal.
Moyes is the archetypal traditional manager – and this was a traditional performance with solid marking, organization, hard work and crosses – particularly from the left. The approach was illustrated with flair players Felipe Anderson, and Lanzini on the bench.
Although they eeked out a 2-1 win with a late goal, this was the sort of game that emphasised Arsenal’s need for a creative No10 like Aouar, breaking the lines in the middle, rather than passing to the wing. And to a lesser extent a Partey to break up counter-attacks.
In the opening minutes, Ceballos showed his creative intent – with an inventive through ball – but a bit too far. Lacazette’s touch in the area let him down – otherwise it was a good opening.
Gabriel came in with good tackle on Antonio. Ogbonna found space at the corner and his header came to nothing – but it was a clear warning for Arsenal.
Inventive through passes from Ceballos were not coming off. And, generally Arsenal were off-key, with both Lacazette and Willian misplacing passes.
In the first twenty – West Ham were the more coherent side.
But then Ceballos found Saka who jabbed a perceptive pass to Aubameyang who looked up to find Lacazette in the middle followed by a bullet header into the top of the net.
Another good move saw Willian who was drifting into the middle find Saka who fired over.
West Ham’s counters had come to nothing, but the impressive Soucek found Bowen on the right who sent the overlapping Fredericks away. His cross evaded the diving Kolasinac and Antonio reached it before Holding, who was on the wrong side.
A common Arsenal attack was through balls into space on the left of the West Ham area. And Bellerin found Aubameyang with a run on the left. He passed to Saka whose shot is blocked.
Leno often played in a centre-half position after the break – maybe to counter West Ham’s tactic of balls over the top.
But their threat from the wing grew. Masuaku whipped it in – and a falling Gabriel luckily took the sting off the cross, and Leno gathered.
Another cross saw Soucek find Bowen whose shot went for a corner.
And yet another, Antonio headed onto the crossbar.
Arsenal’s main outlet remained a ball on the left for Aubameyang to chase and cross.
Willian and Lacazette came off and Pepe and Nketiah came on
Soon after, Saka cut out several West Ham defenders with a ball to Ceballos with space in the area sent a simple pass to unmarked spat-partner Nketiah who kept himself onside to tap into the goal.
Lucky as Ceballos was about to be substituted. But the goal changed Arteta’s thinking, with Saka off and Luiz on.
Arsenal tried a more direct approach with a long ball from Leno headed on and Aubameyang shot in a central position saved by Fabianski.
A dangerous cross by West Ham late on was cleared by Ceballos.
Eddie Nketiah said on the goal; “It was my second touch.”
On the spat with Dani Ceballos, he said: “ I was upset with the challenge. It was nice for him to make the assist. I had to make sure I was onside. I want to keep improving as a player. West Ham made it difficult. We had to keep passing and moving.”
Mikel Arteta said; “I’m really happy with 3 points. We had issues which we created ourselves. It reminded me of last year. We have to improve in many things. We created enough chances to win game. And scored two wonder goals.
“I am pleased with the approach in last 25. The players were down – and then they were up. We could have lost that game if it was last year. Some processes have to done much better.
“Eddie has a sense of where ball is going to land. Probably it [last week] was the best week in training – but it was the worst start to a game with the ball.”
David Moyes said on the result: “It is really tough. The players played well. Not to have points is hard. We switched off when we shouldn’t have. We made good chances but couldn’t take them.
On the potential penalty when the ball hit Gabriel’s arm, Moyes was adamant: “It should have been a penalty – even under the previous rules.”
And he added: “Turning off in the last three to four minutes was criminal.”
Arsenal:Leno, Holding, Gabriel, Kolasinac, Bellerín, Ceballos,Xhaka, Saka (Substituted for Luiz at 89), Willian (Substituted for Pépé at 64), Lacazette (Substituted for Nketiah at 77), Aubameyang.
West Ham:Fabianski, Fredericks (Booked at 40), Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku (Substituted for Felipe Anderson at 90), Bowen (Substituted for Yarmolenko at 83), Soucek, Rice, Fornals (Substituted for Hallerat 88), Antonio.