February 18, 2019

GUNNERS HAMMERED AT HOME

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West Ham provide the shock of the Premier league opening weekend by defeating alleged title contenders Arsenal comfortably.
BY STEVE NJUGUNA

Arsenal succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham in their first premier league encounter of the season at the Emirates stadium in London yesterday. The defeat was not anticipated by many as only last week Arsenal provided a sublime display of soccer to retain the Community Shield against defending Premier League champions Chelsea.

The game started at a slow pace as Arsenal held on to possession as they tried to settle into the game. West Ham were disciplined off the ball and relied on their pace in midfield to shut down the space as Arsenal played the ball. Aaron Ramsey hit the post and Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud missed a few chances and it seemed inevitable that Arsenal would score first. However the beauty of soccer is that it is unpredictable and West Ham took the lead two minutes from half time as Dimitri Payet lobbed a free kick into the box and Senegalese midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate latched onto the ball to head past Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech who came off his line but missed the ball.

Arsenal came springing out of the blocks in the second half but they could not penetrate past the resolute West Ham defense which was being surprisingly marshaled by 16 year old Reece Oxford who was undoubtedly the man of the match as his reading of the game was impeccable. Then West Ham struck the death blow as striker Mauro Zarate caught Petr Cech napping at his near post with a long range effort which crept in much to the dismay of Arsenal fans.

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger threw on Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez who seemed to add more impetus to the Gunners as he had a few attempts saved by West Ham keeper Adryan.The loss left Arsenal at the bottom of the table after only one game played in the 2015-2016 season.

In other results of the day, Liverpool beat Stoke by a solitary goal while Newcastle and Southampton played out a 2-2 draw.

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