Match Report: West Ham United 1-9 Arsenal

The second game of the new season and this one is a bit special. Due to London being able to hold its COVID numbers down (at the time of writing) a London derby has been picked as the pilot event for actual spectators. Including this roving reporter who is very excited to see their Hammers live once again.

This time we take on Arsenal who like Tottenham last week we do not have the best track record against.

I need to preface this with I am going to write this report with objectivity however I will say this was a painful watch and to write. I don’t want to come across as a bitter Hammer but I will say the scoreline did not and does not reflect the quality of the match. It’s an easy route to blame the officials however yesterday the inconsistency was evident and more training is clearly needed for those who wish to officiate at the top level. That’s all I will say about that. Maybe.

From kick-off you could feel there was a precedent being set. Our new signing West Ham Rachel Daly going after the Arsenal defence, particularly their goalkeeper. One slight kick and Zinsbeger was down. Dependent on the fan base some say fair, some called foul. The referee agreed the later and Daly’s name went into the little black book.

Not five minutes later it was defender Grace Fisk who was on the receiving end of a yellow after a tackle went awry. Again the line was very fine as most fans called it a legitimate 50/ 50. The referee did not agree and West Ham fans started getting aggravated. It was again not five minutes later that West Ham captain got her first yellow for a strong foul. It is this reporter’s unbiased opinion that’s Gilly is built like the brick proverbial and that particular Arsenal player was just too little. But that is why I am not an official in the game, I would let far too much slide in the name of shin-kicking football.

It was Arsenal that struck first with a Jill Roord goal. The first of many controversies as many felt Jill was clearly offside when she revived the ball as when she struck the ball. However as the linesman was not in line with Roord, the goal stood.

In Olden times, West Ham would have crumbled they would have hung their heads. They would have struggled to see the wood through the trees. But not this time. Four minutes later a great from run from midfield Kenza Dali curling just out the reach of the keeper. A lifeline to East London bring the score level.  The hope was short-lived as Ten minutes later Vivianne opened her account hitting home the cross from Beth mead. It was this when the nails started to be hit into the West Ham coffin. Once again the legitimacy was called into question of Viv seemed to be a foot offside. As captain Gilly took her grievance to both the linesman and the referee. A second yellow card and a sending off for decent. West Ham down to ten and a change of formation needed.

It was then that Arsenal started to punish the Hammers firstly with a quickly whipped in cross by Mead to Kim Little left foot and then Little returned the favour a couple of minutes later. Leaving it 4-1 before half time. We gloss over wrestling match between Dri Leon and Kim Little which involved Leon being grappled to floor in front of the Lineswoman. We are just glossing over it.  Leon herself was punished a few minutes later for miss-timed tackle that was a fraction late. We reached half time and certainly felt not just that Arsenal could score more but how many.

As the teams trooped back on to the pitch, there was still some fight left in the West Ham side and fresh legs with Emily Von Egmond and Cecile Kvamme. However the Hope was extinguished very quickly with three goals conceded within 6 minutes. Two from Jill Rood and one from Viv.

The second half already stretching into a long 45 mins. Again more calls for offside were unheeded.  All credit to home side they picked themselves up after those dodgy minutes and kept attacking the opposition and managed to stave off a goal for 15 mins until Leah Williamson managed to poke through Arsenals eighth.

Frustration was certainly creeping in across the pitch and West Ham were using it try to power a couple of goals to reduce the deficit but to no avail and just before the full-time whistle Foord hammered on the final nail on the aforementioned coffin.

The score ended 9-1 to the Gunners. Again I declare my bias but the scoreline does reflect the game as there was more fight in the  West Ham team and for around half an hour West Ham’s game plan was flowing. All credit to Arsenal for punishing the 10 players left of the Hammers squad. In what looks a league that could well be decided on goal difference, they did what was needed.

Hammers player of the match: Maz Pacheco and Mackenzie Arnold for keeping the scoreline less humiliating.

Gunners player of the match: the officials 😉 No in all seriousness full credit to Beth Mead for her goal and assists.

Photo: @ArsenalWFC