Arsenal went into the Olympic stadium and beat down West Ham by a score of 5-1, as the game got a bit out of hand for the hosts late. Here’s how it went down.
A mildly deceiving scoreline
For much of the game (until about the last ten minutes) the contest was close on the scoreboard, but honestly the moments where West Ham actually appeared to be in the game were slim. Arsenal controlled much of the possession, the defense held calmly for the most part, and the threat from the Hammers was next to nonexistent.
In the end Arsenal pulled away, but honestly even with a four-goal surplus it probably doesn’t tell the whole story.
Alexis is extremely good
I don’t think there’s a whole lot of debate about this, but in case you were unaware: Alexis Sanchez is a fair country ballplayer. He played a role in four of the five Arsenal goals, assisting Mesut Özil for the first and scoring the second, third, and fifth himself. His awareness to pick up the ball and to square for Özil on the first, and the cheek to just take the easy shot for the third – all great. Not on the level of his first goal, though.
Credit, of course, to Granit Xhaka for doing what he does – playing a great long ball right where Alexis wanted it – but Alexis’ turn to get past the defender was even better, then his move to get into shooting position and the leaning shot to the far post were brilliant. And oh, the step-over to put the keeper on the ground for the final goal. What a hat trick.
The OC isn’t cancelled
Over and over in the past few years, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has had chances to succeed, and over and over he’s flubbed them. He’s had another chance in the past month or so, but as his performance today showed, he may finally be starting to realize the obvious potential we all always knew he had.
It wasn’t just his goal, which was very well-taken and perfectly timed after Andy Carroll scored to make it 3-1 and inject a small bit of worry in Arsenal fans’ minds. Again and again he was integral in the counterattack, he made smart plays, and generally performed well. He had one real goofy moment (the “shot” that went out for a throw-in), but aside from that, all very encouraging.