Arsenal hope of finishing among the top-four clubs by the end of this season have suffered a huge setback as they were narrowly defeated by West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday.
The game was supposed to be a walkover for the North London club, considering the Hammers’ form all through the season but that wasn’t the case as Emery’s men failed to record many shots on target during the game.
BEFORE THE GAME
Eyebrows were raised when Unai Emery unveiled his squad list before the game. This is because fit-again playmaker Mesut Ozil was left out the team.
The Spaniard’s decision to drop the world-class playmaker was a shock to many Arsenal fans who took to Twitter to furiously react to the news.
With the retired Germany international not in the traveling squad, Alex Iwobi was given the playmaking role ahead of the game.
DURING THE GAME (FIRST HALF)
The Gunners started the encounter in a very wonderful way and they had their first shot — though off target — in the 15th minute when Alex Iwobi brilliantly combined well with Aubameyang who get the ball through to Lacazette.
The Frenchman wasted no time before firing a long-range shot that narrowly flew past Lucas Fanbiaski‘s crossbar.
The desperate striker tried his luck in quick succession but his shot was blocked by West Ham defender.
After soaking up the early pressure from the Gunners frontline, the home side began to show their qualities at the other end of the pitch.
Chinese Super League target Marko Arnautovic had a shot which was blocked by flying Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
The Hammers also had another shot via Anderson but it wasn’t enough to give them the lead before the end of the first period of the game.
After many failed attempts from both sides, the first half ended in a goalless draw as all players and officials went straight to the dressing room.
Three minutes into second half, youngster Decan Rice found the back of the net for the Hammers after benefitting from Samir Nasri’s pass.
The former Arsenal man got the ball right in front of the Gunners 18-yard box, didn’t think twice before placing the ball for the youngster to latch into Leno’s goal.
The Gunners tried to equalize but all efforts were wasted and fruitless. Lacazette, Iwobi, Aubameyang, and Maitland-Niles all missed clear-cut chances much to Emery’s frustration.
Laurent Koscielny thought he had equalized in the stoppage time only to see his effort rightfully ruled out for offside and that’s how it ended at the London Stadium. West Ham 1 – 0 Arsenal.
WHAT NEXT FOR ARSENAL
The Gunners have lost the chance to reduce the gap between them and Chelsea. The worst is that Chelsea will be six points ahead should they defeat Newcastle in the last game of the day.
If Manchester United defeat Tottenham tomorrow, then the Gunners will be on the same point with the Red Devils. Things are definitely not looking good for Emery at the moment