Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Arsenal vs. West Ham: Match Review

Arsenal stayed at the top of the Premier League after defeating London rivals West Ham 2-0 at the Emirates. Early goals from Eduardo and Emmanuel Adebayor sealed the victory for the Gunners.

Elsewhere, Manchester United and Chelsea both won, with the Reds keeping pace only two points behind the Gunners.

Arsenal: Manuel Almunia; Justin Hoyte, Kolo Toure, William Gallas, Gael Clichy; Emmanuel Eboue, Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky; Eduardo, Emmanuel Adebayor

West Ham: Robert Green; Anton Ferdinand, George McCartney, Lucas Neill, Matt Upson; John Pantsil, Jonathan Spector, Freddy Ljungberg, Hayden Mullins; Mark Noble, Carlton Cole

Arsenal got off to a bright start against a confident West Ham side. The Hammers, who had defeated Manchester United the week before, were looking to beat a young Arsenal side which was missing Alex Hleb, Bacary Sagna, and Robin van Persie. Unfortunately for them, it took only two minutes for Arsenal to score.

Cesc Fabregas lobbed a ball to Eduardo in the box, and the Croatian chested the ball to his feet before volleying past Robert Green to give Arsenal an early lead.

West Ham were clearly shaken by conceding the early goal, but still looked for a quick equalizer.

Anton Ferdinand saw an effort cleared off of the line by Arsenal's Gael Clichy after a corner, and Manuel Almunia had to make a clutch save to deny former Gunner Freddy Ljungberg from close range.

The visitors couldn't hold up the pressure though, and Arsenal doubled their lead in the 18th minute thanks to a brilliant strike from Emmanuel Adebayor.

A long ball from Clichy met the Togo striker near Green's penalty box, and the African skillfully rounded the keeper. It looked as though the angle would stop Adebayor from slotting home, but the striker somehow managed to hit the back of the net via the far post.

West Ham tried to come back again, with John Pantsil coming close with a spectacular overhead kick.

Things began to go badly for the Hammers a few minutes later when Ljungberg was taken off in the 37th minute after he appeared to pick up a hamstring injury.

Soon after, Arsenal appeared to have won a penalty when Emmanuel Eboue's cross was blocked by Jonathan Spector's arm, but referee Chris Foy waved play on.

The second half began as the first had ended, with Foy once again denying Arsenal what looked to be a penalty. Lucas Neill appeared to have held Eduardo in the box, but Foy did not point to the spot as play continued.

It made little difference though, as Arsenal went on to win the match despite failing to find a third goal.

The victory ensures that Arsenal will end New Year's Day at the top of the Premier League, despite having inferior goal differential to Manchester United.