Sunday, November 05, 2006

West Ham 1 Arsenal 0

Alan Pardew decided to match Arsenal with a five man midfield of Etherington, Mullins, Bowyer, Reo-Coker and Benayoun. In the first half this tactic seemed to work as West Ham harried Arsenal on the ball and, although the opposition probably had the most possession, it was West Ham who created the best chances.

In the 6th minute Etherington, on the right wing, knocked a curling cross to the far post which Zamora just failed to connect with. In the 22nd minute a Spector cross, also from the right wing, was met at the near post by Benayoun, but he headed just wide.

Arsenal were largely restricted to long shots but in the 27th minute Henry found Rosicky in acres of space but his shot from just inside the penalty area missed wide right by a couple of yards. Just before half-time Ferdinand picked up an ankle injury and was replaced with McCartney.

The second half started slowly but came alive after the 60th minute, when Sheringham and Harewood came on for Zamora and Bowyer. The subs made an immediate impact when Harewood crossed from the left wing and Sheringham pulled the ball back for Mullins, who shot straight at Lehmann. In the 66th minute Spector seemed to take down Hleb in the box but the ref judged correctly that Spector just got a touch on the ball. West Ham immediately broke and Harewood again crossed from the left for Sheringham who met the ball just inside the area at the same time as Clichy and the ball deflected wide.

In the 76th minute Sheringham headed a Green clearance on and Harewood found himself clear. Lehmann just managed to get enough on Harewood's low shot to prevent what should have been a goal. However he couldn't stop Harewood's 88th minute shot. Etherington broke on the left, played a one two with Sheringham, and then knocked a lovely low cross between the defence and the keeper right into Harewood's path, who scored from six yards.

Pardew's celebrations seemed to upset Wenger and an argument ensued between the two managers, which continued after the final whistle when Wenger refused to shake Pardew's hand. Somehow I think Pardew won't be too upset, as he seems to have found the measure of Wenger and his Arsenal team.

Come on you Irons!


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