Saturday, March 20, 2010

Arsenal 2 West Ham 0

West Ham looked OK for three minutes of the game, then Clichy got in behind Spector, his cross was half cleared to Denilson, who played a quick one-two with Bendtner on the edge of the box before firing Arsenal into the lead.

In the 8th minute West Ham won a freekick 25 yards out and Diamanti fired his shot just over. In the 16th minute Stanilas crossed the ball from the left wing along the ground into the six yard box but Mido was a couple of yards from connecting with the ball to get West Ham back into the game.

For the rest of the half West Ham played some neat football at times but never really looked like they would actually create anything in front of goal. Arsenal twice shot wide of Green's right hand post from the edge of the area, once by Bendtner and once by Eboue. For West Ham Stanislas had a 25 yard effort that rolled tamely straight to Almunia.

Then, in the 44th minute, Franco chased a long ball forward into the area. Vermaelen was deemed to foul Franco with the player clean through on goal. Although the decision looked a little harsh on the defender, having given the foul, the ref had no option but to send him off. Unfortunately for West Ham Almunia then did well to save Diamanti's penalty diving at full stretch to his left.

Two minutes after the restart Arshavin headed over from 11 yards out. After that however West Ham began to dominate possession. In the 52nd minute Daprela made a brilliant run with the ball from his own half into the Arsenal area, where he was finally stopped by a lunging tackle.

In the 57th minute Cole was brought on for Franco. In the 60th minute Diamanti shot tamely from the edge of the area for an easy save for Almunia. In the 69th Diamanti again shot from just outside the area only to see it deflected wide.

In the 70th minute Noble was brought on for Kovac. In the 74th minute a Campbell header from 6 yards out was saved well by Green. In the 75th minute Mido was replaced by McCarthy. McCarthy almost had an immediate impact when he connected with a Spector cross only to head well wide.

In the 78th minute Coe made space for himself on the edge of the area and his shot just clipped the post before going wide. However West Ham's hopes of getting anything from the game were destroyed by the ref when, in the 82nd minute, Fabregas kicked the ball against Upson's arm from one yard and the ref gave a penalty to Arsenal. Frabregas scored from the spot to extend Arsenal's lead.

That was essentially it for West Ham. In the 89th minute Cole fired over from 10 yards but the game had already been decided.

I don't know if Cole is carrying a slight injury but for the second week running it looked a really strange decision by Zola to start with him him on the bench.


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