West Ham recorded a surprise 2-0 victory against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon (August 9) as Slaven Bilic enjoyed a dream start as Hammers’ boss.
Also online: Reece Oxford lauded for his part in the win
He gave a Premier League debut to the impressive 16-year-old Reece Oxford, making him the youngest ever player in the club’s history.
In a tight and compact opening 10 minutes, the hosts had the first half chance. Aaron Ramsey’s floated ball found French centre half Laurent Koscielny, whose looping header cleared the crossbar.
Last week’s FA Community Shield match winner Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain almost claimed a goal of the season when his instinctive rasping 20-yard volley had Adrian worried but went narrowly wide.
West Ham had their first sniff at goal through striker Diafra Sakho. After some great play from Dimitri Payet on the left flank, the midfield maestro picked out Sakho but failed to connect with the ball.
If it wasn’t for Hammers centre half Angelo Ogbonna, making his Premier League debut along with Payet, the Gunners would have been ahead. The Italian’s last ditch tackle on Olivier Giroud prevented him from scoring his sixth goal in six games against the east Londoners.
Payet was looking the most dangerous man for the Hammers. The £11million summer signing from Marseille caused the FA Cup holders problems with his jinking run, resulting in a effort looping over Petr Cech’s goal.
Ramsey tested the West Ham goal once more with his drilled effort from just outside the area five minutes before the end of the first half, when Oxlade-Chamberlain was in space on the right side and was the better option.
However, on the stroke of half time the visitors took the lead. Assist king Payet, who created more chances last season than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues, produced delightful free kick that was met by the head of Cheikhou Kouyate.
Giroud had the home faithful up on their feet when his shoot hit the net. However, it was only the side netting as the Gunners searched for that illusive equaliser.
Straight after Giroud’s attempt, West Ham doubled their lead. Mauro Zarate’s shot from outside the area found its way past the off-form Cech and it was the visiting fans making all of the noise in North London.
Substitute Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil both had chances however, the resilient West Ham backline was proving difficult to break down.
Some neat quick and interchanging passing from Bilic’s men resulted in Sakho producing a tame effort, while Oxlade-Chamberlain smashed the side netting.
With five minutes left Santi Cazorla dipping and swirling drive forced Adrian into a marvellous save while Sanchez failed with the follow up.
Giroud spurned a fantastic chance from 10 yards out which could have made the game much interesting in the final moments of an exceptional performance from West Ham.
Sanchez was twice denied by Adrian and the Gunners failed to find a way past the Hammers in what was a magnificent performance from the visitors.
Arsenal: Cech, Debuchy (Sanchez, 71), Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin (Walcott, 58), Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud.
Subs: Ospina, Gibbs, Chambers, Gabriel, Arteta.
West Ham: Adrian, Tomkins, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Oxford (Nolan, 79), Noble ©, Kouyate, Payet, Zarate (Jarvis, 65), Sakho (Maiga, 90).
Subs: Randolph (GK), Collins, Poyet, Lanzini.