There was a palpable sense of relief on the home bench when the final whistle was blown Saturday afternoon in the London Derby between between Arsenal and West Ham. Emery punched the air and kept a mild demeanour, but the historical relevance of the victory could not have been lost on him.
This is where Emery’s juggernauts begins to show itself – where his imprints and legacy starts to unfold. The three points were the start of a new era in the Emirates – after the successful and then tumultuous end to the Wenger era.
West Ham came into the encounter on the back of two defeats themselves, having lost the lead against West Ham just a week ago, and were looking to add to the pressure faced by Emery. They played the part, looking to beat the Arsenal high-line and play in Arnatouvic. And they went ahead. Arnatouvic took advantage of hesitant defending from Arsenal to shoot past Cech from outside the box. It was what exactly what Pellegrini’s men needed and also the wake up call for Arsenal.
The home team went on the offensive and were rewarded 6 minutes later when great work down the right released Bellerin whose low cross was parried to Monreal. The Spaniard’s great first touch set him up to score. For all their efforts, Arsenal were unable to go ahead in the first half.
From the set off of the second half, Arsenal tried to find the winning goal, and in their search, they threw in Lacazette and Torrieira in place of the impressive Guendozi and Iwobi.
A lacazette deflected effort and a late Welbeck strike meant Arsenal secured the win their performance deserved, but the defensive display still leaves a lot to be desired, and the team still looked a lot like what Arsenal under Wenger were criticised for – a leaking rear. It is a start though for their new Spanish coach and one he will be happy to get over.
Here is where it all starts afresh.