‘Arguably game of the season’ – National media verdict as Arsenal draw against West Ham United


Daily Mail

“On and on they go, falling and rising on their weird tides. We have watched it across the course of their peculiar season, and now we have seen it compressed into one remarkable and absurd match. Strange bunch, Arsenal. Terrible, brilliant Arsenal,” writes Riath Al-Samarrai for the Mail.

“Here we saw it all, a side that in turns was capable of falling 3-0 behind and one that emerged a short while later with a slight grievance at taking only one point.

“There truly is no middle ground with this lot. No neutral. No grey; no boring, bankable, steady grey. They can be the multi-holed bucket that leaked its way to Christmas, or the team which has been the fourth-best in the division in the three months since.

“They are mid-table in the Premier League but the rest of their odd existence at present seems to be found only in the extremes.

“Two of the chapters of recovery came from own goals, scored by Soucek and Craig Dawson, and the leveller was buried by Alexandre Lacazette, but if you looked closely, Odegaard was holding the strings.

“As a result, it won’t do a huge amount for Arsenal. Nor West Ham and their Champions League dream. But forgetting those trivialities, it was arguably the game of the season, a 31- shot riot.”

Guardian

“Sometimes the journey brings more pleasure than the destination. The bare fact that West Ham and Arsenal took a point each tells nothing of a contest that may not be improved upon all season and left everyone involved torn between joy and regret,” writes Nick Ames for the Guardian.

“Essentially this was two games in one: the 35 minutes in which the team managed by David Moyes overwhelmed their opponents and looked certain to burnish their top-four credentials handsomely; then the hour or so in which Arsenal stepped up several gears, overhauled a three-goal deficit and mustered their best football of a see-sawing campaign.

“Nobody who had watched West Ham perform so redoubtably since September would have looked past them when Tomas Soucek scored their third goal, inadvertently deflecting Michail Antonio’s header past Bernd Leno.

Alexandre Lacazette celebrates his equaliser against West Ham (Photo by Justin Tallis – Pool/Getty Images)

“They were in complete control: Arsenal had barely posed them a question and looked every inch an inconsistent mid-table side dogged by the added burden of Thursday night Europa League assignments.

“The away side looked leggy, sloppy, sluggish in mind and body; that only made the upturn in their output even more remarkable and it said plenty that, by the end, they looked the more likely winners.”

Independent

“One of the games of the season, and a showcase of everything that has been good and bad about both West Ham United and Arsenal,” writes Miguel Delaney for the Independent.

“Mikel Arteta’s side will feel much better after it, however, having come back from 3-0 down to claim a raucous 3-3 draw.

“Even if some of the football that put them behind showed how much the Basque still has to solve, it is an indication of Arsenal’s progress that they turned it around.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 21: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal interacts with Calum Chambers of Arsenal after the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal at London Stadium on March 21, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Paul Childs – Pool/Getty Images)

“Earlier in the season, it would have been easy to see this becoming 4-1 rather than 3-0. They displayed excellent character instead, a lot of it from Martin Odegaard displaying exquisite football. He was the source of so much that was good, even if we had the odd fact that West Ham players had put in five of the six goals.

“Alex Lacazette still claimed that clinching equaliser.”

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Mirror

“It’s clear the Arsenal manager isn’t sure of his best defensive set up and that was evident as he named a changed back four with Pablo Mari recalled and the surprise inclusion of Chambers,” writes Ibrahim Mustapha for the Mirror.

“An almost trademark slow start from the Gunners invited early pressure from the Hammers onto their reshuffled backline but as they tried to adjust, the discipline to cope was lacking.

“Chambers was perhaps guilty of allowing Lingard the freedom of the London Stadium to open the scoring, before the Gunners defence were caught napping as the United loanee’s quick free kick allowed Bowen to double the advantage.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 21: David Luiz of Arsenal looks dejected after conceding their side’s second goal scored by Jarrod Bowen of West Ham United (not pictured) during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal at London Stadium on March 21, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Paul Childs – Pool/Getty Images)

“Every subsequent West Ham attack rattled the Arsenal backline and when Soucek redirected Antonio’s header beyond Leno with barely half an hour played, it was no less than the home side deserved after a shambolic defensive display from the visitors.

“Even after fighting their way back into the match, it was panic stations as West Ham had chances to extend their lead before Lacazette’s equaliser.

“Despite his side showing incredible fortitude to secure a point, Arteta will be concerned his side has now gone 12 matches in all competitions without a clean sheet with the solution to his problems not exactly clear.”





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