Arsenal 0 West Ham 2: Player ratings as Gunners slip up

Player ratings from The Emirates as Arsenal suffer a shock 2-0 defeat by West Ham United in their opening game of the season

Arsenal

Petr Cech Bought by Wenger to solve Arsenal’s long-standing goalkeeping problems, but old foible when coming off his line was horribly exposed as Kouyate headed the opener. Compounded that error, when beaten far too easily by Zarate’s strike from range. Maybe Jose Mourinho wasn’t so sorry to lose his stalwart shot-stopper as the Chelsea boss has been suggesting. 4/10

Mathieu Debuchy Should have been a demonstration of the Gunners’ improving strength-in-depth that Arsene Wenger could call on the classy French international to replace injured Spanish right-back Hector Bellerin. The ex-Newcastle man couldn’t make an impression in either half of the pitch, though, and was replaced by Sanchez mid-way through the second-half. 5

Per Mertesacker Crucial early interception to prevent Sakho having a free sight of goal from Kouyate’s cross. The German wasn’t at fault for either of the goals his side conceded, but was part of a defence which looked more and more vulnerable as the afternoon wore on. 5

Laurent Koscielny Inexplicably allowed Kouyate to drift away from him to head the Hammers in-front, when the midfielder was firmly in his sight-line. Unsettled by the error and became hesitant; nearly gifting the Hammers a late third with a weak header back towards Cech. Embarrassingly brushed aside by Payet in the closing stages. 4

Nacho Monreal Sporadically promising going forward, but found wanting with regard to his main suit of defending. Impotent as Kouyate ghosted free to score and weak as Noble danced past him as the game drew to a conclusion. 4

Francis Coquelin OK in front of the Gunners’ back-four, but an increasingly peripheral figure as the visitors took a hold on proceedings. Sacrificed for Walcott after his side fell two behind. 5

Santi Cazorla Afforded a little extra licence to operate in the final third than usual during the opening stages, before joining Coquelin in a more conventional midfield pairing as Wenger tried to find a way of matching the Hammers’ legs in midfield. The usually majestic Spaniard couldn’t make any telling impact in either berth, however. 4

Aaron Ramsey Poor decision to shoot late in first-period, when the overlapping Debuchy was better placed. Unfortunate to be penalised for the free-kick that led to visitors grabbing lead, but the Welsh schemer never located his usual fluency of passing. 4

Mesut Ozil This was the Ozil that drives his detractors mad. No consistent sign of the invention required to break down a resilient West Ham back-four. 4

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Flew from the traps following his match-winning goal in last Sunday’s Community Shield. Full of running and unlucky with sweetly hit 11th minute volley which flew narrowly over. Wonderful dribble to create first-half opening for Cazorla. Kept going until the end, driving one late shot into the side netting. 7

Olivier Giroud Mixed a few sublime touches with some loose passing. Remains vital to this Arsenal team as their only hold-up option, and too often reduced to having to conjure up his own chances – but wasted the two provided for him by Oxlade-Chamberlain. Wenger needs an upgrade in this department. 5

Substitutes:

Theo Walcott The game was getting stretched by the time of his 58th-minute arrival, but that proved to the detriment of Walcott, with none of his team-mates able to pick a pass to send their electric forward in behind the Hammers’ deep lying backline. 4

Alexis Sanchez Uncharacteristically weak finish when he forged an opening late on and then denied by Adrian. Otherwise ineffective, although not for any lack of effort. 5

West Ham United

Adrian Handling wasn’t always assured, but always found a way to keep the ball out of his net, which is all that matters. 7

James Tomkins Fortunate that his first-half booking for upending Monreal wasn’t a second yellow, following previous ugly lunge on Giroud. Strong defending to ease Ozil out of the frame as the German sought an instant response to Kouyate’s breakthrough effort. Exposed as a centre-half filling in at full-back, when one-on-one with attackers but, otherwise, sound. 7

Winston Reid (man of the match) Absolutely immaculate. If John Stones is worth £30m+ then what price this tanks of a Kiwi defender. Equal to absolutely anything Arsenal could throw at him. 9

Angelo Ogbonna Settled well after clumsy challenge on Oxlade-Chamberlain led to eighth minute caution. Terrific near-post block to deny Giroud after Coquelin’s incisive run and cross. Decisive in everything he does and already seems to be forming terrific understanding with Reid. 8

Aaron Cresswell The former Ipswich left-back did his burgeoning reputation no harm with an accomplished defensive display. One vital block on a Ramsey effort in the first-half with game still score-less. 7

Reece Oxford Gave early indication of his self-assurance and athleticism, robbing Ozil in midfield, and then expressing his displeasure towards Sakho when the striker ignored his forward run. Didn’t miss a beat until his 79th minute withdrawal. 8

Mark Noble Booked early for careless trip on Coquelin. Tireless in his work to offer a shield for Cresswell, as the left-back sought to deal with a rampaging Oxlade-Chamberlain. A favourite among Hammers fans, and this tenacious display shows why. 8

Cheikhou Kouyate Typically lung-busting display. Strong run and finish to beat Cech for goal. A player of immense stature and will be integral if the Hammers are to build on this wonderful start to their season. 8

Dimitri Payet Arrived from Marseille to rave reviews from regular Ligue 1 watchers. His pace and directness ensured that the home defence could never switch-off. Fine delivery for Kouyate’s goal. The Frenchman struggled going back towards his own goal in the first-period, as shown by a couple of lazy, fruitless, sliding attempts to thwarts Arsenal counters. A quick-learner, though, and much improved in this respect after the break. 8

Diafra Sakho Powerful front running showing from the Senegalese. Always prepared to engage in a physical battle, but offered so much more here with his astute movement. 7

Mauro Zarate Not renowned as a ‘team man’ but routinely dropped deep from his role on the right of a front three to provide his side with an extra midfield body. The Argentine’s appetite for his task paid the most handsome of dividends when he shrugged Oxlade-Chamberlain off the ball to unload an audacious effort that caught Cech off-guard. Left to some acclaim from the away section at The Emirates, when replaced by Jarvis five minutes after his goal. 8

Substitutes:

Matt Jarvis Replicated Zarate’s hard running and defensive responsibility. 7

Kevin Nolan A fleeting appearance, but merits a mention owing to the Scouser’s intelligent quarter-hour contribution to his team’s effort. 6

Modibo Maiga N/A

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