It’s now time to trawl back over some of the main causes of discussion from last night’s goalless draw with Arsene Wenger’s at The London Stadium, as David Moyes’ Claret & Blue Army dropped a further place towards the foot of the Table.
Organised Hammers Earn Point
The reign of Moyes continued to bring with it with well-disciplined Football yesterday evening, keeping out one of the best attacks in The Premier League comfortably for 90 minutes.
The away side boasted the likes of Chilean Alexis Sanchez, French forward Olivier Giroud, young prodigy Alex Iwobi and Word Cup winner Mesut Ozil in their offensive.
Up against it was a Claret & Blue back four of Pablo Zabaleta, Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell, a staple formation that Moyes has been able to rely on of late.
This defence has now conceded a mere two goals in three games against teams in Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, that have netted a combined total of 111 times this season so far alone.
In that run, there has also been two clean sheets, now in consecutive matches, something that a Hammers side haven’t managed since September, while still under Slaven Bilic.
While, on Saturday they were able to restrict the likes of Eden Hazard by man-marking, similar tactics were employed to great success yesterday evening, offering the Ozil’s and the Sanchez’s very little room to operate in.
Both Reid and Ogbonna were sturdy strong in the air, which meant that when The Gunners were able to get the ball into the box, danger was quickly snuffed out, as well as on the ground.
Wenger’s men only managed a total of three efforts on target, only one troubling Adrian San-Miguel, a Sanchez free-kick that he saved well, part of the lack of shits was also down to a stern first line of defence, Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang in midfield.
Poor showings at the back are something that Hammers have become used to of late, but the differences are clear for the Football World to see under the new Manager, a well-oiled West Ham United unit working as a team in all areas of the pitch, however, will it continue when a different challenge presents itself on Saturday afternoon?
Chicharito left To Rue Late Miss
For the superb display at London Stadium, The Irons could have also so nearly taken all three points from the affair, and it all came down to a certain Mexican substitute.
Making his eagerly-awaited return from injury coming on for a fatigued Michail Antonio, Javier Hernandez was charged with trying to find the game’s winner ad given the final ten or so minutes to do so.
With added-time less than a minute away, Chicharito received a clever pass from Noble after Nacho Monreal had gifted the Skipper possession in a dangerous area, he had a clear sight of goal from just inside the area.
Mexico’s all-time leading scorer picked his target in the far top corner and took aim, looking to curl the ball over Petr Cech, but the former Blue was able to get a fingertip to it and push it onto the underside of the bar, with the ball bouncing back down on the line and staying out.
The Claret & Blue Army grimaced over the agonising miss from the Stands, the second time they thought they had scored on the night after Marko Arnautovic had a header ruled out earlier on, as the striker put his head in his hands, it had been a wonderful opportunity to win it.
But, on the whole, there would have been plenty of doubt over the whether or not it was deserved, having not seen a single effort on target from the home side for the entirety, Hernandez will certainly be hoping to return to scoring form in The Midlands on Saturday.
Ogbonna Earns Man Of The Match With Solid Showing
Italian centre-back Ogbonna showed no signs of bringing an end to his mixed fortunes this campaign, with a quite majestic performance in the heart of the defence.
The former Juventus man has blended calamitous mistakes with dramatic winners and Hammer of the Match performances, like last evening’s, in recent months.
Examples include his winner at Wembley in The Carabao Cup and his points costing error that led to Leicester City’s opening goal at London Stadium in November.
However, when faced with the might of Wenger’s front line, Ogbonna was stern in the air, winning many a battle with Giroud, and cutting out crosses on numerous occasions.
The defender was also seen to charge out of his box to make key tackles more than once, stopping promising away side attacks and further cementing his place in Moyes’ starting Xl with competition arriving from the returning James Collins.
Other Man if the Match contenders were shot-stopper Adrian and winger Arnautovic, the latter created plenty up-front and came so close to making it two in two.
Meanwhile, the first is just one clean sheet away from returning to the PL team with three clean sheets on the bounce for the second consecutive time, will he be able to make to happen in Game Week 18?
What Did The Managers Have To Say?
Let’s hear from both Managers in their Post-Match Press Conferences at the former Olympic Stadium, which MooreThanJustAClub were lucky enough to be in.
On The Claret & Blue Army:
“The supporters have been great, the results in the last few games have given us a good platform, to see what we can do in the next few months”.
“I’ve got two keepers who can be chosen, Adrian has the jersey, he has played well”.
On His Team’s Performances:
“We have tightened up a bit, we now need to take it to the next level”.
“There has been good signs and maybe, we can keep this level of performance up”.
On Chicharito’s Late Chance:
“It was a moment, but I would say, we have to praise the boys, how well we stuck to the task”.
On The Display Of Sanchez:
“He tried tonight, it was difficult because they defended very well”.
On His Current Outlook:
“We have to continue to focus on the quality of our game”.
“We have to keep confidence in our game”.
On His Team’s Performances:
“Well, our performances are not reflected by the results, against United we had 33 shots”.
On The Hammers’ Defensive Display:
“They did that against City, Chelsea and tonight, we lacked sharpness in the final third”.
So, now that all of the most talked-about topics have been covered from yet another positive night in the Moyes era, will there be yet more plus points to draw on come Saturday night? After The Hammers have been entertained by Mark Hughes’ Stoke City.