Wasteful Arsenal held by rejuvenated West Ham

West Ham 0 - Arsenal 0: Arsenal missed an excellent chance to get back into the Premier League top four as they made it three games without a win for the first time since last April.

Wasteful Arsenal held by rejuvenated West Ham

A rejuvenated West Ham are struggling at the wrong end of the table, and remain second from bottom. Yet despite spending much of the match defending they could so nearly have snatched what would not have been an undeserved late winner through substitute Javier Hernandez.

New West Ham manager David Moyes has made his side difficult to beat, with the potency to soak up pressure and grab a winner. But this was another uninspired display from Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, who rarely called opposition goalkeeper Adrian into action.

While a draw was probably a fair result, West Ham always had more of an edge on the break. Indeed, they started the better side too, and it was a Marko Arnautovic effort that set the tone early on.

His shot was ruled out for offside after 15 minutes by a linesman, who was rewarded for his eagle-eyed decision with a bottle being thrown within a few inches of his face by a spectator from a West Ham section of the crowd behind him.

That excellent attempt, from the West Ham player, followed a spell of Arsenal possession football and prompted some noise and activity on and off the pitch from the home team and their supporters.

But it was Arsenal, without being entirely convincing, that remained the stronger team.

And they nearly took the lead with their first shot of the game when the recalled Alex Iwobi struck a low shot against a post after neat work from Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

West Ham did not seem overly concerned, however, as this was one of those trademark Arsenal performances where they had no end product to go with all of their possession.

Consistently inconsistent referee Jon Moss then dismissed penalty appeals at both ends as Manuel Lanzini went down under a challenge from Granit Xhaka and West Ham defender Aaron Cresswell handled the ball protecting his face from an Olivier Giroud overhead effort.

The second half kicked off in driving freezing rain on an unappetising East London night with the in-form Arnautovic going close to an opening goal as Arsenal restarted in characteristic slow motion.

They soon regained composure, but were restricted to long-range efforts from Xhaka and Hector Bellerin respectively as they failed to make any attempt to stretch the West Ham defence wide.

A strong Giroud header was deflected wide for a corner following a rare Arsenal cross, but it stirred their fans and gave the team more impetus to attack.

The West Ham goal was suddenly under siege and Ozil squandered a decent chance from 10 yards out.

More impressive in the Arsenal midfield was Jack Wilshere, making his first Premier League start for the club since May 2016.

The England midfielder was one of four changes from Wenger following a disappointing Sunday display in a 1-1 draw at Southampton.

West Ham, fresh from beating Premier League champions Chelsea at the weekend, were unchanged in selection and desire to upset a bigger London neighbour in five days.

Both Mark Noble and Arnautovic came close with 25 minutes to go.

A decent chance fell to returning Gunner Wilshere, following a Giroud knock down, who lifted a six-yard effort hard and wide with his weaker right foot.

Alexis Sanchez, off form yet again, punctuated an ineffective display with an easily saved free-kick as the game entered the final quarter of an hour. It was his last proper contribution before being substituted for the dropped Alexander Lacazette. If the Chilean had made an effort to get to the West Ham wings he might have lasted longer and done more for his side.

Arsenal are now down to seventh, albeit only a point behind fourth-placed Tottenham and must won their home match with Newcastle at the weekend to bounce back.

Chicharito then hit the bar with a last-minute effort as Arsenal’s defence was in turmoil.

West Ham go to Stoke with Moyes hoping to build on a run which could well take them to safety from relegation before the end of the season.

West Ham:

Adrian 6; Zabaleta 6, Reid 6, Ogbonna 6, Cresswell 6; Obiang 6, Noble 7; Arnautovic 7, Lanzini 7, Masuaku 6; Antonio 5 (Hernandez 82, 6).

Subs:

Hart, Carroll, Sakho,, Collins, Ayew, Rice.

Arsenal:

Cech 6; Bellerin 6, Koscielny 6, Monreal 6, Maitland-Niles 6; Wilshere 7, Xhaka 5; Iwobi 5 (Welbeck 71, 5), Ozil 6, Sanchez 5 (Lacazette 83, 6); Giroud 6. Subs:

Ospina, Coquelin, Chambers, , Kolasinac, Elneny.

Ref:

Jonathan Moss 5/10 Att: 56,921

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