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Arsenal 0-0 West Ham: heavy sigh

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I mean, c’mon.

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There are 38 games in a Premier League season, and, unless you’re Manchester City, not every one is going to be a gem. Not every week will be a win, and not every performance will fill your heart with joy or lighten your step for the rest of the day.

Still, though, this was dire.

Arsenal went into this game needing to rebound from a tough draw against Southampton, and they had to be feeling pretty good knowing they were going to a place where the home team struggles most every week. But today, it was the visitors that struggled - Arsenal struggled to create anything, they struggled to use anything but the middle 10 yards of the pitch. The one thing they didn’t struggle to do was to make West Ham look like the team that’s trying to get back to the Champions League, and not them.

West Ham did what they do - they put most of their team behind the ball and dared Arsenal to break it down. And except for about an 8 minute stretch at the start of the second half, Arsenal didn’t even come close to doing so. For some reason, they thought it’d be a good idea to keep pounding the ball down the center of the pitch into the penalty area, despite the fact that it never once worked; there was zero inventiveness, zero desire to try something different.

That stretch at the start of the second half was pretty promising - Iwobi boinked one off the post, Giroud had a couple good ideas, and Jack Wilshere, who had a pretty solid game overall, looked for all the world like he wanted to win the game singlehandedly. But it didn’t come to anything at all, and then they reverted to their first half form of “run down the middle, hope for the best”.

I’d love to break this game down tactically, but since Arsenal didn’t bother with tactics, I’m not sure I can - all I can be is disappointed that this game, one of the more winnable on the schedule, didn’t result in three points.

Arsenal are currently 7th, one point off the three way tie for fourth. This game wasn’t fatal, but ugly games like this against bad teams are not a thing Arsenal can afford to produce many more of this season.