West Ham United 1-3 Arsenal – Reaction
MANUEL PELLEGRINI would have been hard-pushed to find a claret & blue-clad ally amongst the West Ham United support after a nine-minute horror show saw the east Londoners slip to a disappointing defeat to out of sorts Arsenal.
The Gunners – themselves enduring their worst sequence of results since 1977 – Found a quickfire second-half response through Gabriel Martinelli, Nicholas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, this after Angelo Ogbonna’s deflected header had earlier looked like handing the Hammers their second London derby success in ten days.
The result left West Ham just a point above the dropzone and starring down the barrel of a vital trip to fellow strugglers, Southampton, on Saturday – a match Pellegrini and co can now ill-afford to lose. Nevertheless, the Chilean insisted relegation wasn’t his main concern.
“I am not worried about relegation, I am more worried about the last five games at home where we have had just one draw, conceding three goals in each game,” he bemoaned.
“If Arsenal creates six or seven goals and scores three then maybe, fair enough. But they didn’t create much and then in nine minutes decided the game.
“We need to be more concentrated and try to finish with more quality when we had the chances like we had tonight.”
Pellegrini was struggling to find a reason as to his side’s capitulation, adding: “It is difficult to understand why we made those mistakes or why you are not solid in every ball.
“I always say that two or three balls decide the score. You can play well but if you are not concentrated in defending then you allow them to score and that’s what happened tonight.”
On whether he thought his players were up to the task, the Hammers chief responded: “They are not playing with the most confidence in what they are doing but, if you see the first sixty minutes it is a team that knows what they are doing on the pitch, how to mark, press, recover the ball – but you must do it for ninety-five minutes.”
Despite a stampede for the exits after Arsenal’s third goal, Pellegrini believed the West Ham supporters are still behind their side: “The fans of West Ham always fill this stadium.
“If you are – in five games at home – you have one draw in five games and concede three goals each time then you cannot expect to be happy.
“We must improve and we need to win at home but I don’t feel that the fans are not behind the team. If not, maybe we would play with an empty stadium.”
Meanwhile, relieved Gunners interim boss, Freddie Ljungberg, enthused: “ “We saw West Ham getting a bit tired around the sixtieth minute and we sliced them open.
“We played some really good football in my opinion, that’s how we want to play.
“Of course, we won’t get carried away. We have a lot of work to do on things but all credit to the players for that they did.”