Feed on

Engineering works on the London Underground had skewed what would’ve been a relatively straightforward journey to East London, we made it to Stratford in good time via the Piccadilly, Metropolitan, Circle and DLR lines. After a couple of pints with some West Ham acquaintances we made it to the ground. Following some very vigorous security checks we made it to our seats up in the heavens in time for kick off. 

We were sat about half a dozen rows in front of where we were placed on our last visit earlier in the season, a disappointing 3-1 defeat in the Carabao Cup. Would this be a happier visit second time around? 

The away end was packed out with around 3,000 excited Gooners, perhaps slightly nervous on account of recent visits, but reinvigorated after that sensational victory over Liverpool last weekend which propelled us back into the title race when it seemed to be slipping from our grasp. This was another must win game. Anything less than three precious points would render last week’s heroics academic. We had to continue the momentum. 

Arsenal made a positive start, pushing and probing the Hammers. Our play in the final third was as intricate as ever and we went close a few times before we broke the deadlock, most notably on 24 minutes when Martinelli floated over a superb cross from the right which was met with conviction by Trossard on the volley forcing Areola to tip the ball over the bar. 

We were winning a lot of corners in the early stages. A deliberate ploy to catch West Ham out you would think, given that prior to kick off we had scored 14 goals from set pieces, more than any other side in the division. 

And strangely enough, it was from a corner that we breached the Hammer’s resilience. Rice floated the ball over to the back post just past the half hour mark, and William Saliba was on hand to head home. 1-0. If the Frenchman wasn’t there to nod the ball in, Havertz was right behind him and probably would’ve done the same. We are a big side, height-wise, these days and we are certainly using that to our advantage. 

Arseball were right on it now and almost added a second soon after as Saka dinked the ball narrowly wide following more intricate play on the right. And moments later, our number seven won us a pen’ as he was brought down by the onrushing Areola after a defence splitting ball from Trossard. Should the West Ham ‘keeper have seen red? I can only assume he was spared by the double jeopardy rule which I’ve always found to be ridiculous. There was a West Ham defender who could’ve theoretically stopped the ball going in, but Saka would’ve had an open net and that for me is the denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity. 

But Saka picked himself up, dusted himself down and sent Areola the wrong way to make it 2-0 on the same ground where he missed from 12 yards last April. No such problems today. 

And in the blink of an eye, it was three! And it was yet another set piece. Trossard was tripped, Rice swung the ball into a dangerous area and Gabriel headed in at the near post. Game over. It was Gabriel’s 14th Premier League goal since he was signed in 2020, more than any other defender in that time. He is now our second highest scoring defender in the Premier League era, and one would imagine he is right up there with our all-time defensive goal scorers as well. 

Incredibly Arsenal had time to add a fourth before the break. West Ham couldn’t get near us as Odegaard fed Trossard who took a touch inside Zouma and rifled into the top corner. The away fans were in raptures now. “Limbs” as the kids call it. This was the cue for West Ham fans to filter out of the London Stadium in their Tens of Thousands. “Is there a fire drill?” was the customary mocking cry from the away fans. Earlier in the game the home fans had been belting out their quite frankly shameless chant of, “Champions of Europe, we know what we are” but after their side’s hapless first half display there were barely enough of them left to boo their team off. 

Arsenal fans spent the interval scratching their heads in disbelief at the mauling we were witnessing whilst most of the West Ham fans were already drinking their sorrows away in the pub. I do hope they didn’t miss the Second Half which continued in the same vein. Arsenal looked keen to really stick the knife in and twist it and ideally get the goal difference up. As it stood, we were on plus 29, only two goals behind Liverpool and three behind City.

Saka forced a decent save from Areola but he wasn’t to be denied again as Ødegaard, who was running the show, threaded the ball through to Saka who cut inside as he so often does and put away a clinical, Mbappe-like reverse finish at the near post. 5-0!

There were still more than 25 minutes to go, and there were more goals in this for Arsenal if they wanted them. And moments later we made it a half dozen and the goal came from a certain Declan Rice, formerly of the West Ham parish. Martinelli found White on the right who cut it back to Trossard who left it for Odegaard who left it for Trossard. The away fans groaned but the groans turned to cheers as the ball trickled to the former West Ham skipper who curled home a beautiful first-time screamer from 25 yards. There were muted celebrations from Rice out of respect for his former employers but the away fans’ celebrations were the opposite as Arsenal fans went into pandemonium again. Never have I seen the sixth goal in a 6-0 win celebrated so wildly such was the popularity of the goal scorer. 

There was a nice moment when Arteta brought on 16 year old Ethan Nwaneri for the last ten minutes who showed some mature touches in the final stages as Arsenal cruised through to full time. 

Away days don’t get much better than this….

53 Drinks to “Hammers Hammered at Home”

  1. 1
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks 21CG, as you say that is one helluva of an away day.
    Lot of excellent performances and some cracking goals, what more
    could a fan want.

  2. 2
    Lonestar Gooner says:

    0-6 to the Arsenal. That’s the way we like it.

    Excellent report!


  3. 3
    North Bank Ned says:

    Joyous, 21CG. “after their side’s hapless first half display there were barely enough of them left to boo their team off’. alone is worth the price of admission.

  4. 4
    Countryman100 says:

    Thanks 21CG. I missed this game but your description made me feel I was there. CER did report the recycling of an old chant that made me smile.

    Who put the ball in West Ham’s net?
    Half our fucking side did!

  5. 5
    Countryman100 says:

    Found a clip of that chant courtesy of Charles Watts


  6. 6
    BtM says:

    Arteta gets the tactics spot on, team follows them to the letter and lo and behold an excellent performance unfolds. Turns out I needn’t have been as concerned as Ned’s preview made me feel.

    Win at Burnley.

  7. 7
    Sancho Panza says:

    Thank you for being there and having such fun at the expense of West Ham.
    Was there a suitable retort to this nonsense chant of being champions of Europe?

  8. 8
    Bathgooner says:

    To coin Ned’s term, a joyous report, 21CG, of a joyous afternoon stroll through Declan’s old manor. Although it took over half an hour to break the seal, we were dominant from the off and could deservedly have had three more goals at half time.

    Despite the absentees, this team purred like a well-oiled high quality machine and Ødegaard gave a masterclass in leadership, game control and desire. Although he didn’t score, this may have been his best ever game for Arsenal. He was literally everywhere and always available for a pass, recycling the ball with a single touch. Truly our best ’10’ since DB10 and quite possibly, depending on the outcome of the next few seasons, right up there with the great man.

    A small mention for Nwaneri. The lad is clearly highly rated by his first-team mates and did not look out of place in their company. I look forward to his progress over the next few years.

    Now, as BtM succinctly observes, win at Burnley. No pressure!

  9. 9
    ClockEndRider says:

    SP@7 – The initial response was quite simply pointing ( we were right next to them) and laughing.

  10. 10
    ClockEndRider says:

    Bath@8 – what was noticeable, even – as we were- from a distance to the pitch more easily measured in light years than metres – was the willingness with which all of the team, and noticeably Odegaard, were willing to give Nwaneri the ball. Now I know we were 6-0 up, but even so it showed just how much he must have been impressing in training. I said to 21CG that I have seen Nwaneri play a few times for u-18 and u-21 and found much of decision making regarding retaining the ball or passing to be greedy and immature. Yesterday it appeared that he had really grown up. Very impressive.

  11. 11
    Sancho Panza says:

    One minor gripe, I know some people like the non celebration and believe it’s being respectful. However, you play for someone else now so move on.
    I love it when it doesn’t happen. I’m not calling for an Adebayor or anything daft but just go to your fans and look happy. None of this expressionless pushing your team mates away bollocks.

  12. 12
    ClockEndRider says:

    SP @11 – Hear what you’re saying. In fairness, Rice came back on to the pitch at the end an in common with the whole team came over to us and clapped for quite a while, along with the manager.

  13. 13
    Sancho Panza says:

    Super stuff CER. On to beating Burnley.
    5 points off last seasons total after 24 games but we went on a 5 game winning run. Here’s to repeating that.
    Hope Gunnersaurus is OK. Not heard from him in a while.

  14. 14
    TTG says:

    Excellent report 21CG . I’m glad you and your pater enjoyed the day . It was interesting that we totally dominated a London Derby for almost ninety minutes and also that in the second half there was no positive reaction whatsoever from the team . As for their fans I thought the exodus was pathetic and typical of entitled modern fans . I suppose when you are Chsmpions of Durope it’s humiliating to lose to a team who have only won the league and FA Cup 27 times !
    Agree with Bath about Odegaard and it’s lovely to see a rejuvenated Saka . I liked Trossard too he plays that false 9 role very effectively. Arteta is impressing me more and more tactically and with his use of subs but that bench looked very thin. Let’s hope we get Partey and Timber back soon

  15. 15
    North Bank Ned says:

    The latest GHF Predictathon Leader Board has been posted. You know where to find it…

  16. 16
    North Bank Ned says:

    CER@10: I, too, noticed that about Nwaneri getting the ball frequently, particularly from Ødegaard. I guess when you are the big cheese in the U-18s, you think you can do what you like, and it won’t matter. Maturity is realising that that won’t cut any mustard in the senior side.

  17. 17
    scruzgooner says:

    21cg, thanks for the clear-eyed review of a really fun game to watch, especially 20 minutes on either side of halftime. we absolutely tonked them. i kept looking for you and your dad on the big screen, but they never showed the hinterlands of our section. i could hear y’all in fine voice all game, however! well done, and glad it was a fine day out.

    ned from the preview, again a learning experience, both in how to do a preview and about the arsenal and its history. really well done. thanks.

    and to all who enjoyed my pool report, thank you for the compliments, i do appreciate them. i haven’t been able to be around as much these past ten days or so, but i so enjoy a report of a win over liverpool, even if it was just on the tv (as opposed to watching live, as i did eighteen months past). cheers, drinks on the bar for all of ya…

  18. 18
    scruzgooner says:

    oh, and i thought kiwior was excellent in zinchenko’s place, once he got out of him the obligatory couple of poor passes or risky plays. he even showed some adventure getting forward for masterful mø’s cross; i would have gone nuts if he’d scored. likewise, very happy to see mo’neny back on the pitch, and seeing nwaneri gave me hope for saka and/or mø getting a rest perhaps across the rest of the season if we’re winning by a couple or more. one final thought: putting cedric in was like lighting the victory cigar…

  19. 19
    North Bank Ned says:

    Scruz@17: You are an officer and a gentleman…

    I agree that Kiwior has been playing better and better. Amazing what a run of games can do for a player.

    We are proving to be a more creative team without an inverted left-back. Discuss.

  20. 20
    Ollie says:

    Cheers 21CG!

  21. 21
    Bathgooner says:

    There’s an excellent analysis of the contenders in the CL last 16 in the Athletic (£):


  22. 22
  23. 23
    Trev says:

    Fine job, 21CG, thanks !

    Odegaard is, as others said, a brilliant player and a superb, hard working, resilient example to this still young team.

    Arteta seems to be coming into his own as a tactician now. Our slow, careful start to the season appears to be giving way to a quicker, more direct style, in the sense of more progressive passing, which has yielded a 16-2 goal difference in our favour in the last four games. Maybe this is the grand plan to match another City charge in the second half of the season, or maybe the players are just now more confident with the altered way in which they are being asked to play.

    I am also impressed with Kiwior. I’m old fashioned enough to like to see the security of a proper full back in defence – but I think the absence of the inverting – often wayward – full back has simplified and quickened the passing lines.

    Anyhoo (cba), ignore my opinions as a glance at the Predictathon table will reveal that I – and many of our regular scribes – have absolutely no idea what we’re talking about !

  24. 24
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev@23: We may not know what we are talking about, but we do it so well. 🙂

  25. 25
    bt8 says:

    An excellent and enjoyable report on a great day to be a Gooner, or to become one as a matter of fact for all you newbies. Thank you 21cg!

    As for Ned, “We are proving to be a more creative team without an inverted left-back. Discuss.”

    Sometimes you invert and it helps surprise them when you don’t. Two tools in the quiver better than one?

  26. 26
    North Bank Ned says:

    bt8@25: Mike McDonald sees White inverting and Kiwior playing as a conventional full-back. Perhaps not noticing White doing that means he is doing it rather well, or at least less ostentatiously than Zinchenko. Trev is right that Zinchenko often takes a touch or two more than is necessary, slowing down the progression of the ball.

  27. 27
    scruzgooner says:

    i just rewatched the game, then again the period from our first goal to our last.

    i wouldn’t say white is “inverting” in the same sense that zinny does. zinchenko acts as an auxiliary midfielder, often carrying the ball from defense to attack. he’s all over the pitch, and as such forces white to stay home and not play his offensive game very much.

    white, saka, and ødegaard (and trossard, martinelli, and havertz) all played together down the right, with white haring down to overlap. his ball is what got rice the magnificent chance he took, on a ball from havertz. he constantly gave whoever was there an option, either high up the pitch or back towards the middle. having kiwior sit back, with occasional forays forward, fits both white’s rapacious runs forward and kiwior’s youth/inexperience at the inverted position and, truthfully, in defense.

    while he’s a fine player, he’s an even better prospect, and in a couple of years we could have an experienced, interchangeable defense that we can play high, low, and inbetween, scoring goals and making them without sacrificing our low shots-against and goals-against counts.

  28. 28
    ecg says:

    I asked this question about having a slightly more traditional fullback approach a couple of weeks ago. Here’s my take, when Zinny moves into the middle the pitch, he also drags a defender with him and this clogs up an already busy midfield. The spaces between defenders becomes smaller and makes it more difficult to pass between the lines. It also results in less space for Ode to carry the ball, which I think is an important part of his game.

    This is not to say the inverted back approach is bad, obviously it has worked for us. But I think Zinny needs to move back to the fullback position periodically rather than play as a midfielder whenever we have the ball. Also, it would allow him to support Martinelli rather than having him isolated on the wing.

    I’m not sure if the intent is for White to play as an inverted back. I think part of his positioning is to allow Saka more space on the wing.

  29. 29
    scruzgooner says:

    good point, ecg. i’d love to see zinny act as a wall passer down the line, with martinelli in in front of him; that would allow us to maintain control out of possession and give another passer on the left (allowing mø to drift). having havertz there (or esr) in the 8 spot, though, it makes it more crowded for that.

    it’s not a bad approach, but it’s not the only one we can use. when zinny is in white has to stay home more. he can’t overlap and free up saka from one of the doubling defenders. and lo! we score six in a game without zinny, with much more activity going on the right side than per usual. even with martinelli switching over to that side to overload.

  30. 30
    bt8 says:

    There’s a fun quizon the arsenal website, “Can you name the teams that Bukayo Saka scored his first 50 Arsenal goals against?”

    Remembering some of the Europa aLeague t ams we played against was the most challenging part for me, but he has scored against 30 clubs in all

  31. 31
    bathgooner says:

    Ned @24, ain’t that the truth!

    Time for some great music:

  32. 32
    bt8 says:

    Re: Bath @31. Great music indeed for a calm, or indeed, a basking mood. 😎

  33. 33
    bt8 says:

    The Saka phenomenon put into context quite beautifully by Blogs.

    Saka, and the future …

  34. 34
    Bathgooner says:

    Always a pleasure to see FC BMW lose.

  35. 35
    bt8 says:

    Umpteen is the number of consecutive years that Bayern won the German league title until they signed Harry Kane. Just to let you know, I don’t believe in coincidences.

  36. 36
    North Bank Ned says:

    You can take the boy out of Spurs, but you can’t take the Spurzyness out of the boy.

  37. 37
    TTG says:

    Ominously he’s the captain of England!
    Factor that in when wagering on the Euros !

  38. 38
    Trev says:

    At least the European action this week has allowed us a break from the constant conjecturing of the various media and pundits that yes, Manchester City are favourites to win the Premier League again because Pep has them all fired up to go on their “second half of the season charge” and they are getting all their injured players back again.

    I think the second part of that reasoning is at least as important as the first half. I’m not sure Pep has a particularly magic spell he casts over the players or that their “special vegetarian diets” turbo charge them through to mid May.

    The fact is that they simply have more top, top quality players than anybody else. So when other clubs feel the pinch of injuries and suspensions accumulating, and have to rely on honest but inferior quality reserves, City simply roll out another batch of £50 – £60 million reserves to fill the voids. Arsenal lose Gabriel Jesus and Thomas Partey and have to play Nketiah and Elneny – once Jorginho’s excellent but injury impaired performances preclude his further involvement – while City are currently welcoming back de Bruyne and Haaland, and must be almost relieved that Jack Grealish has strained something to lessen their embarrassment of riches.

    That is not to criticise Arsenal who have been methodically and patiently rebuilding the squad – a process currently confined by the Premier League’s financial constraints, even if the owner is prepared to continue spending. City, of course, have paid no such heed in building their own mega squad and will, in all probability, run away with their sixth title in seven attempts.

    Even the journalists and pundits will bore of them eventually – or maybe the Premier League will force them to front up to their 115 financial indiscretions before complete predictability destroys the best league in the world.

  39. 39
    BtM says:

    Bath @31, VERY nice that. Do you have tix for April Albert Hall gig?

  40. 40
    Bathgooner says:

    BtM @39, sadly not. Looked too late and £1400 boxes were the cheapest option available.

  41. 41
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev@38: Well put. The sad thing is that having already bought their superiority, City can now afford to abide by the profit and sustainability rules, safe in the knowledge that every other club is hobbled by those same rules from catching up.

    Another aspect of all this is how multi-club owners can use their multiple ownerships to finesse their way around financial fair play regimes by using player loans to shuffle income and expenses around their various P&L accounts for optimal effect.

  42. 42
    bt8 says:

    Great read for all the Hector fans

  43. 43
    North Bank Ned says:

    Good to see you in, bt8. For a while, it was so quiet that I thought the place must have been shut down by Health & Safety…

  44. 44
    TTG says:

    Strange isn’t it Ned that after our two best moments of the season the place is silent ?

  45. 45
    TTG says:

    After all it’s not as if our manager has discussed the possibility of signing the best player in the world this very day ! I think Arteta is playing games with the media but interesting he didn’t discuss the idea out of hand

  46. 46
    OsakaMatt says:

    I think Mikel was just making the point we are a big club so any time big players become available we should be mentioned. That had become a somewhat fanciful notion for a few years as we struggled for relevance at the business end of seasons but now that the natural order is being restored it should once again become the norm.

  47. 47
    OsakaMatt says:

    MA also mentioned that several of last weekends absentees are or will soon be available.
    Handy to have the reinforcements rolling up just now, especially Zin, Tomi, ESR, Jesus and TP5, as they all give us different options – as mentioned in earlier drinks with, for example Kiwior / Havertz on the left compared to Zin / ESR.

  48. 48
    OsakaMatt says:

    @44 TTG 😂😂
    ‘Twas ever thus.
    Or it could just be the patient quiet of the experienced hand, steadfast and unfazed by the frenzied braying of lesser men.

  49. 49
    ecg says:

    I’ve been busy rewatching both matches multiple times so haven’t had much time to visit the bar!

  50. 50
    bt8 says:


    Clever assist, ecg

  51. 51
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, bt8.

    OM@48: Or it could just be the silence of the lambs…

  52. 52
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@45: Arteta was definitely playing with the media.

    Watching that press conference, I could not help thinking that the denizens of this fine state establishment could have posed a better set of questions than the ones that the ladies and gentlemen of the press asked.

  53. 53
    Pangloss says: