West Ham United 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal have hit the buffers again. Having salvaged a point at Southampton, the Gunners could only fire blanks against a spirited West Ham United and their desire to defend deep and with numbers. Jack Wilshere was given his first Premier League start of the season, and he gave us a glimpse of what has been missing from the Arsenal game. He replaced Aaron Ramsey who was injured at St.Marys. Ainsley Maitland-Niles was given the nod in the left back role in a back four. Hector Bellerin slotted in on the right with Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny the two central defenders.

Olivier Giroud was also given his first Premier League start of the season, with Alex Iwobi preferred to Sead Kolasinac. It was Iwobi who struck the outside of Adrian’s upright, and in the second half, Wilshere skied one from Giroud’s knock down when he should have hit the target. Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez were involved, but were unable to provide the clinical incision to score, although the German did go close but saw his shot go wide. Having soaked up the pressure in a very bitty and broken game, substitute Javier Hernandez almost won it for the Hammers, but saw his shot come back off the bar and cleared without having crossed the line.

Arsene Wenger reflected on a frustrating night in East London which saw Arsenal fall further behind in the fight for Champions League places.

” There are some draws that are frustrating, this is one of them because we had a lot of the ball and we played against 10 men. It was 10 against 10 in the final third and we couldn’t find an opening, a little bit through the fact that they defended very well. They are in a highly defensive phase, focused on that at the moment and it works for them, but they did that against City, Chelsea and here. We lacked maybe a little bit of sharpness in the final third we had many different good opportunities where they blocked our shots. I think that’s where you see maybe if we played on Sunday and they played on Saturday it would have been different on that front because they had more physical resources to defend with a lot of decisiveness, ” Wenger.

The lack of fight will be worrying for Wenger who still could lose Alexis and Ozil either in January for cut price deals or in the summer on frees. Both failed to impress on a night which saw the Gunners fall 19 points behind table toppers Manchester City.

” City is too far away to talk about the title at the moment. There’s one thing that we are far away but it’s another thing to just give up. You don’t give up. Our job is to fight as long as we can and give our best. It’s not to focus too much on anything else.

“Our performances are not reflected by our results because against Manchester United we had 33 shots on goal but did not win the game and at Southampton we had a lot of possession and it was a similar game to tonight basically. It’s true, it’s a bit frustrating, we had to keep confidence in our game and we go through a patch where there’s a difference between what we create and what we score, but that will not last.”

Arsenal host Newcastle United on Saturday, and a game which Wenger will have to win if he is to restore a little bit of credibility to his demand for a ” big December,” and start the fight back to, at the very least claim a top four spot.