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Arsenal 0-2 West Ham: The Return of the Banter Era


Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

0-1 Kouyaté 43'
0-2 Zárate 57'

After a summer of being built up as title contenders, largely because of the signing of Petr Cech, Arsenal lost the opening match of the season 2-0 to West Ham, largely because of Petr Cech. Without a doubt, Arsenal played poorly, and took well into the second half to have a shot on target. There was a lack of creativity, and Santi Cazorla, who played well on the left hand side last week against Chelsea, struggled when he had more to do today, before being moved back into central midfield. Francis Coquelin made more of an effort to get involved in Arsenal's build up play, which is bad. He overhit at least three simple passes, disrupting the other midfielders, and was culpable on the second goal, with an unnecessary tackle. Olivier Giroud was shackled by West Ham's defence, and Mesut Özil had a quiet game. Alexis came on after Arsenal were 2-0 down, resulting in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (also at fault for the second goal) being moved to right back, and Arsenal would've been better off not bringing Alexis on. He wasn't fit enough to beat players, and thus, his mazy dribbles led to turning the ball over, as it did during that fallow period last season.

But it would've been 0-0 had it not been for Cech. On a free kick in the 43rd minute, he came for Dimitri Payet's delivery, and missed the ball allowing Kouyaté to head into the opening net. In the 57th minute, he was beaten at his near post by Zárate's shot. Both are saves he should've made, particularly Zárate, as it wasn't even in the corner of the goal, or hit hard.

Arsenal did not play well. They usually do not when teams allow them to have the ball, as it emphasises the weaknesses in the side, particularly Coquelin's ball-playing. But in such games, Arsenal can usually find a breakthrough later on, and they were unable to do so today because their £11m new signing cost them. The Banter Era is well and truly alive.