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Arsenal vs. West Ham: Good, Bad, Ugly

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There's more of the latter than the former, but still.

His Concerned Face isn't too different than his Happy Face
His Concerned Face isn't too different than his Happy Face
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Well, that wasn't the start anyone wanted, was it? After a calm summer of Cech and cohesion, there were Very Many Expectations from this game. They were, to be kind, not met. Was it nerves? Was it rust? Was it lasagna? Whatever it was, it needs to be gone by next week. It was the first game of 38, but a start like that is like starting a marathon and noticing after four steps that your shoe is untied.

THE GOOD:

Hector Bellerin probably assured himself a long-term place in the squad yesterday, by doing nothing. That's how off Mathieu Debuchy was. Whether it was just the aforementioned rust or something deeper, Debuchy was...bad. So this is a Good for Bellerin, because there's plenty of Bad and Ugly to go around.

It was the first game of the season. There's plenty of time to get it right. Chelsea dropped points yesterday, and Leicester City are at the top of the table, which you shouldn't really pay attention to until at least December anyway because at this point noise drowns out signal to a ridiculous degree.

THE BAD:

It has been hoped, mentioned, and noticed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should be a more focal point of the offense going forward. I'll have more on Ox later, but for now, in the Bad category, is the fact that that focus didn't happen. Ox was marginalized for a lot of the game, and as a result, Arsenal's attack was blunted quite a bit and also very uncreative.

Santi Cazorla, as much as I and we all rate him, can't really play out on the left wing any more. He's lost pace, and it showed yesterday.

THE UGLY:

Look, we love Petr Cech. We know what we got in Petr Cech. He's a fantastic keeper who will do fantastically well for Arsenal this season. It's just...apparently nobody told him the season started yesterday. He'll shake this off and be fine, but he had a stinker yesterday - sort of culpable for the first goal, moreso for the second, and just generally out of sorts. But, he's Petr Cech, he'll be fine.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's giveaway...pass? through-ball? brainfart? that led to the second goal was truly unpleasant. It was a slow-motion car crash that you could see coming a mile away but couldn't avoid. As with Cech, Ox will be fine, and that was more an isolated incident than a red flag, but those are also the kind of mistakes that can't be made at this level.