Arsenal’s Aubameyang flops at West Ham, honeymoon period over for Emery
Arsenal suffered another disappointing away day with a 1-0 defeat to West Ham. Declan Rice settled the London derby with a coolly placed finish, and Arsenal got precisely what they deserved: nothing.
It’s genuinely difficult to decipher positives after a performance like this. Perhaps the only good thing to come of this match would be if Arsenal’s owner, Stan Kroenke, recognises the need to invest in this squad. As things stand, they simply do not look good enough to reclaim their Champions League place.
The situation between Unai Emery and Mesut Ozil is surely approaching breaking point. Ozil had trained all week, only to find himself left out of the match day squad. The fact that Emery saw fit to name three defenders on the bench, yet couldn’t find a place for Ozil, won’t have gone down well with the Arsenal fans — particularly on a day when the Gunners struggled to create chances.
Arsenal have picked up just two points from their last five away games in the Premier League. That’s something akin to the form that effectively saw Arsene Wenger handed his notice last season. Emery needs to find a solution to Arsenal’s struggles on the road, and quickly.
Manager rating out of 10
4 — Emery made a huge call leaving Ozil out of the squad and it backfired. After a good start to his time with Arsenal, the honeymoon period would appear to be over.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Bernd Leno, 6 — Could do nothing about Rice’s well-struck goal. Leno showed some good footwork at other times, with a couple of deft chips out to the full-backs.
DF Laurent Koscielny, 6 — The Frenchman had a late header disallowed for offside. At the back, he looked relatively comfortable. Perhaps he is slowly starting to recover his best form.
DF Shkodran Mustafi, 6 — A relatively quiet game from the German — which, when it comes to him, is almost always a good thing. He didn’t last the 90 minutes but put in a perfectly acceptable performance.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 6 — The Greek international made one outstanding block in the first half to deny Marko Arnautovic. He’ll be fuming that once again the Gunners have failed to keep a clean sheet.
MF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 4 — Before the game, Maitland-Niles spoke about his versatility as both a blessing a curse. After a good performance on the right wing against Blackpool, he struggled as a wing-back in this match. His passing was very sloppy and he struggled to contain West Ham’s left flank.
MF Granit Xhaka, 5 — His poor clearance led directly to Rice’s winner. Perhaps that played some part in him being substituted for Lucas Torreira. However, Arsenal struggled to create any chance at all once he came off.
MF Matteo Guendouzi, 6 — It’s impossible to fault the Frenchman’s effort, but on a couple of occasions he needed a cooler head before making the final pass. He’s an impressive young player, but it’s still surprising that Emery has quite so much faith in him.
MF Sead Kolasinac, 6 — In recent weeks, Kolasinac has looked like Arsenal’s most effective attacking weapon. West Ham appeared to have done their homework on him, and he struggled to make a similar impact in this game. Instead, he was forced into going backwards-where he looks far less comfortable.
FW Alex Iwobi, 7 — One of the few Arsenal players to emerge with any real credit, Iwobi was constantly looking to unlock a stubborn West Ham defence. He also arguably came closest to a goal, firing a left-footed shot just wide of the far post.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 5 — Playing in an unfamiliar role on the right wing, Aubameyang struggled to influence the game. In truth, wherever he plays he is a peripheral figure — until he scores. He had two half-chances, but missed with both.
FW Alexandre Lacazette, 6 — The Frenchman started sharply but faded over the course of the 90 minutes. He plays an essential role linking the play for Arsenal, but found himself frequently crowded out.
MF Aaron Ramsey, 6 — Came on for Sokratis and made a positive impact. Should he be starting games, despite his impending move?
MF Lucas Torreira, 6 — Introduced for Aubameyang but made little impression.
DF Hector Bellerin, N/R — Came on for Maitland-Niles but didn’t have time to make any real impact.