Manchester United level now after Arsenal stutter at West Ham

West Ham 1 Arsenal 0

Spurs 0 Manchester United 1


Arsenal were pitiful on Saturday.

David De Gea was immense on Sunday, especially with his feet.

At West Ham, it wasn’t the worst Arsenal I’ve ever seen.

But it was the most annoying I’ve ever seen.


An incoherent and shocking team performance.

I was annoyed all through the match.

Annoyed that Maitland-Niles played like a zombie. He is not a right back.

Annoyed that Lucas Torreira did not start. If you don’t start your best player, you deserve to lose three points.

Annoyed that Aubameyang missed chances.

Annoyed by the team’s predictability & mediocrity.

While Arsenal had was no recognisable pattern of play,West Ham had their pattern and it served them rather well.

Arsenal had zilch and lost 1-0.

In theory, perhaps, this was the 3-4-3 system that Emery used with the same eleven in the game against Fulham on January 1st.

In practice, not really

Full disclosure: Although I thought Lacazette was good in the first half, I’ve never given up so early in a match. Just could not see it working. Was never convinced this team would even score.

West Ham’s last home victory against Arsenal was back in 2006.

For most of the seasons since 2006, Arsenal’s back five have played as a unit or at least tried to play as a unit. Each player knew how to react to what his mate does in any defensive situation. If you have shape, teamwork follows and fluency is then possible.

West Ham played well.

Manuel Pellegrini knows what Samir Nasri did for him at Manchester City.

An inventive touch player with very good spatial awareness, Nasri set up a shot for Felipe Anderson, who hit a rocket shot that skidded just past the far post.

But in 48, when Arsenal cleared a corner on the right the ball went to Anderson, who had taken the corner. The Brazilian did what right wingers have been doing since 1892: he danced to the bye-line and clipped a Garrincha cross into the goalmouth and Mustafi headed straight to Nasri, who teed up the unmarked Declan Rice, who stroked a sweet shot inside the post from 14 yards.

That was Rice’s first goal for West Ham.

And it turned out to be the only goal of the game. I’d been hearing good things about Rice for a few weeks but this was the first time I’d really seen him.

Declan Rice is 20 today and could enjoy a big career in the Premier League. If he has the right agent and a suitable wife.

At Arsenal, the recruitment has improved but more talent is urgently needed. Emery inherited a mediocre squad where the good players were past their prime. And the Colney Creche culture was as self-defeating as the mishandling of contracts and transfers.

Even with some new players in January, fourth place is not possible

Man United are already level on points

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has won six PL games on the bounce.


Other results on Sunday:

Everton  2 Bournemouth 0

Spurs 0 David De Gea 1

He made 11 saves in the second half!!!!


Premier League Table after 22 games

But City (on 21) play Wolves tonight (8pm)

1. Liverpool      57

2. Man City       50

3. Tottenham  48

4. Chelsea        47

5  Arsenal        41

6. Man Utd      41