West Ham 1 Arsenal 3: Player ratings as Theo Walcott stars

West Ham 1 Arsenal 3: Player ratings as the Gunners come from behind to win at Upton Park

By Joel Durston
West Ham
1
Arsenal
3

West Ham United

Adrián A cynic might argue that the Spaniard, keeping Jussi Jaaskelainen out of the team recently, could have stopped the first, a tame shot by Walcott, but two defenders’ failure to clear the ball did not help. And he could not be faulted for the two other fine finishes. 6/10

Joey O’Brien Defended competently enough at right-back and even popped up in the box and put a header just wide. Taken off as he was walking a disciplinary tightrope on a yellow card (and a misplaced challenge or two over and above that). 6

James Tomkins Should have heeded the age-old adage ‘if in doubt, get it out’ and not left Walcott’s albeit weak shot for goalkeeper Adrián, who, just three yards behind him, missed it. Also, perhaps could have got more purchase on the header which led to Arsenal’s second – what turned out to be a great near-post flick on for Walcott. 5

George McCartney Moved in from left-back to centre-back after Collins went off and was solid enough there. Made a good challenge on Walcott to prevent him running through and was not particularly at fault for any of the goals. 6

Mo Diame Made a few decent runs, linked play up fairly well and hit a peach from 30 yards, albeit straight at Szczesny. Great cross which O’Brien couldn’t quite convert. 6

James Collins Was not particularly influential for good or for ill before going off injured just before half time. 5

Joe Cole Struggled to impose himself on the game, much like his spell at West Ham in general in truth, which has contained glimpses of his former genius but just that – glimpses. 5

Mark Noble Put in a few decent deliveries, from open play and set-pieces, including a clever flicked ball from a free-kick to Nolan. But struggled to contain Arsenal’s free-flowing midfield. 6

Matt Jarvis Did not make a huge impact, but put in a reasonable cross which led to West Ham’s goal. 5

Kevin Nolan Playing in the hole, he linked play up quite well between the midfield and lone striker Cole, but, like the rest of the team, missed Morrison’s creativity a bit. A decent shot from the edge of the box led to the goal. 6

Carlton Cole As usual, Cole, recently returned to the fold, was a big physical presence, and held the ball up well a few times to bring midfielders into the game. Decent finish after Szczesny spilled Nolan’s shot. And cleared off the line once. 6

Substitutes

Razvan Rat Fantastic whipped ball in for Cole, which he probably should have converted. 6

Guy Demel Was an adequate replacement for O’Brien, on a yellow. 6

Matthew Taylor N/A

Arsenal

Wojciech Szczesny Dealt with the mild pressure West Ham exerted throughout the game, including rushing out to pressure Cole into taking a half-volley awkwardly. Should really have held Nolan’s mediocre effort, which he spilled straight to Cole. 6

Bacary Sagna Not really troubled by left-winger Jarvis, and got forward a bit for a few good crosses. 7

Kieran Gibbs Was threatening throughout down the left wing – beating O’Brien with good turn and, just before half-time, playing a fine drilled cross which Giroud just couldn’t connect with. 7

Per Mertesacker Good in his physical, aerial battle with Cole. Was a bit of menace in the air in the opposition box too. 7

Thomas Vermaelen The Belgian looks a bit rusty after his long spell on the sidelines. Was a bit lazy in expecting Gibbs to pick up Cole for a ball in where the forward nearly converted. 6

Aaron Ramsey Too tentaive early on, but felt his way into the game before limping off, with what the Arsenal faithful will hope is just a minor strain. Made some good runs even from his deeper-lying position and played a great chipped ball for Walcott on 26 minutes. 6

Mikel Arteta Quietly effective if one is generous; pretty anonymous if one is not. Had a great hit on the half volley from 25 yards which squirmed just wide, but made a poor clearance which led to Nolan’s shot for West Ham’s goal. 6

Theo Walcott Missed a good chance in the first half, hitting a tame volley wide. But atoned in the second half, with a slightly fortuitous goal, squeezing between McCartney’s legs then left by Tomkins and a fine header. 7

Mesut Özil Linked up Arsenal’s intricate play in front of box up well, including a great move with Cazorla from wide, where he threads it across but the six-yard box but Giroud didn’t gamble on it. Could have been more penetrative, though, including a shot straight at Adrian in the second half. 7

Santi Cazorla (Man of the match) The Spaniard was back in the team and at least somewhere back to his best, putting a couple of beautifully struck long-range efforts just wide and always looking to play dangerous balls, including a fantastic lofted behind the defence for Podolski. 8

Olivier Giroud In the first half, he shanked one well wide across goal and there was three other openings where he was just short on drilled crosses which you would expect a world-class strike to connect with. But he often held the ball up well, such as when he controlled and laid off for Podolski’s goal. 6

Substitutes

Lukas Podolski Good cross for Walcott’s header and a fantastic drilled finish from the edge of the box. Made a strong case for more first team action. 7

Nicklas Bendtner N/A

Mathieu Flamini Shored things up towards the end. 6

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