West Ham United – Arsenal: Arsenal Embrace Unusual Set Piece Superiority (1-2)
Arsenal exploited West Ham’s uncharacteristic vulnerability from set pieces to record another impressive win on the road. The result enhances their increasingly credible push for the fourth spot, whilst West Ham’s season is at risk of fading away after recent domestic and continental shortcomings.
Tactical analysis and match report by Charles Orchard.
Imagine ten years ago informing someone that, with four league games to play, West Ham would welcome an Arsenal side battling for a top-four finish, whilst having one eye on a European semi-final in the proceeding week.
That is the reality of both clubs at the moment. But whilst the East Londoners justifiably marvel about their European adventures, question marks are certainly beginning to rise about their capability to juggle continental demands with the relentless Premier League schedule. Last weekend’s late loss to Chelsea reinforced these burdens and restricted David Moyes’ side to just one league win in five, with selection issues in defense taking their toll.
On Sunday they made five changes; Declan Rice, Ryan Fredericks, Manuel Lanzini, Jarrod Bowen and Kurt Zouma all started as Moyes lined his men up in a recognizable 4-2-3-1 shape after reverting to a back five last week.
Aaron Cresswell took on an unfamiliar center-back role, with Ryan Fredericks starting at left back. Jarrod Bowen started up front, with Saïd Benrahma, Manuel Lanzini and Pablo Fornals forming a compact pressing unit out of possession behind him.
Arsenal continue to improve after three straight . . .