Arsenal showing character against West Ham but creativity still lacking | Football News

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Eddie Nketiah celebrates with Dani Ceballos after scoring Arsenal winner

There were times during the second half at Emirates Stadium where it seemed inevitable what was going to happen next.

Alexandre Lacazette’s first goal was a distant memory as West Ham, carried by Michail Antonio’s deserved equalizer moments before the break, subjected the hosts to a wave of pressure. Crosses rained on Arsenal’s surface. The shots kept coming.

A delivery from Arthur Masuaku almost slipped onto the line via a diversion. Antonio then hit the crossbar with an imposing header. Moments after that, Bernd Leno allowed a high ball to wiggle out of his arms – only to be saved by Gabriel Magalhaes, who made a final block behind him.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Arsenal’s win over West Ham

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Arsenal’s win over West Ham

It was a matter of time before the net finally swelled and West Ham – unrecognizable from the side defeated by Newcastle on the opening weekend – made their superiority count. As the game approached the finals, Arsenal had not shot since the 47th minute. The visitors, meanwhile, had tried 10 in the same time.

It was a position Arsenal wouldn’t have recovered from years ago, but it’s a measure of their progress under Mikel Arteta that, even on a day like this, they were still able to plunder a win.

Having tried their luck, they regained their composure. Then when the opportunity arose, they were clinical, Bukayo Saka feeding Dani Ceballos, who replaced Eddie Nketiah to do the rest.

By the end of it all, West Ham had taken 14 shots against Arsenal’s seven, but it was the hosts who had the points, a win to add to their Day 1 win over Fulham and ensure that the he optimism at the start of the season around the club is not broken. Arteta screamed in pleasure at the final whistle, his fists clenched and a broad smile on his face.

Alexandre Lacazette celebrates his goal with his teammates

Alexandre Lacazette celebrates his goal with his teammates

“What I liked was the approach the boys had for the last 25 minutes, when I could see them come down a bit, and they lifted themselves up,” he said. Sky Sports ensuite.

“Probably a few months ago we would have drawn or lost this game and today we won it. At the end of the day, you have to find a way because you’re going to have games like this throughout the season. ”

Arteta’s pleasure was evident. Arsenal’s next five Premier League games include meetings with Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, so it was imperative to take maximum points in their first two games. But at the same time, he had no illusions about their faults.

“I’m really happy with the three points, but we have a lot to analyze because there have been a lot of problems that we created for ourselves at many times,” he added. “We have to improve a lot of things. ”

The biggest problems were familiar problems. Arsenal dominated the ball at Emirates Stadium for long stretches, boasting a 63% possession share, but they were unable to convert that possession into scoring opportunities and it was not the first time. Since Arteta’s appointment, they rank 15th in penalties, sandwiched between Crystal Palace and Burnley.

It’s an alarming statistic that boils down to a lack of creativity in midfield.

Ceballos eventually provided the assist, but it was the only opportunity he and Granit Xhaka created all night. For the most part, they caressed the ball harmlessly from the base of the midfielder, unable to take off West Ham’s low block as Arsenal worked past the massive rows of burgundy and blue shirts.

Performances like this are sure to crack some fans for Mesut Ozil.

The German, frozen by Arteta last season, was ruled out of Arsenal’s squad again on Saturday night. His contract still has nine months to run, but the prospect of a comeback fades every week.

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta looks back on 2-1 win over West Ham

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta looks back on 2-1 win over West Ham

Without him Arsenal lack the creative spark in the middle of the pitch and this performance underscored the need to change that. The club’s finances are such that they have to sell before they can buy, but a midfielder in that mold must be a priority. Houssem Aouar, the Lyon midfielder wanted by Arteta, could be a suitable candidate.

It has of course been a busy summer for Arsenal. Aubameyang’s new contract, finally confirmed this week, assures them of maintaining a world-class presence up front. At the other end of the field, Gabriel is looking for an immediate upgrade on their other center-back options.

But there is still a need for something more in between. Arsenal are already a different beast under Arteta. Stronger, mentally and physically, and more streetwise too. But until they can summon creativity to match their new character, progress will only go so far.

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