Arsenal 3 West Ham 1
Monreal 30, Diop(og) 70, Welbeck 92, Arnautovic 25

On the face of it, this was a very welcomed three points and Arsenal’s first Premier League win under Unai Emery. Goals from Nacho Monreal, an Issa Diop own goal and substitute Danny Welbeck sunk the Hammers who took the lead through Marco Arnautovic’s powerful drive from outside the box. Despite a defence of the very fragile kind, the Gunners managed to prevent conceding further goals, but in truth, Petr Cech played his part as did some indifferent finishing from the visitors. Not so from Arsenal in attack. Here the Gunners appear to have got it right, and Emery will have been heartened with the first goals at the Emirates. Hector Bellerin and Monreal were more wingers than defenders and that is something that will need to be tempered. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was once again unable to open his account for the season, however after two defeats, this win will give Arsenal a platform to build from.

Emery was delighted to be up and running in the Premier League.

“We are happy. Happy for the first three points in the third game, after Manchester City and Chelsea. We needed to win today and we needed to show our supporters one match with the three points – it was the first objective of today. But it’s clear we need to improve and we need to improve on working to not concede many chances like today for the opposition,” he said

“Also, why we conceded is for analysis and for us to improve. It is clear today that maybe in the first half we wanted to use the right back and left back in the attacking moments and we needed the balance with the midfielders. In the first half, we conceded a lot of options. But in this balance, the first goal is in one action with Hector, finished by Nacho. And another option we didn’t do this attack with the fluidity and the balance for the transition,” continued to Gunners boss.

Arsenal made one change from the side which recovered from a two goal deficit to almost claim a point at Chelsea last week, Aaron Ramsey came in for Mesut Ozil. Emery denied that the German stormed off in training after he was informed that he wouldn’t be starting against West Ham, revealing that it was more a bout of “catarrh” which prevented his involvement.

The Hammers had also been without a win going into this game, and the way they set about an Arsenal defence which at best remains a work in progress suggested that they meant business. Arnautovic was a handful for Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi and driven on by the industrious Felipe Anderson, the Hammers worked an opening which the Austrian struck low beyond the dive of Petr Cech.

Stunned but remaining in focus, the Gunners re-grouped to fire back. Henrikh Mkhitaryan fed Bellerin to cross, and although Lukasz Fabianski got a hand on the ball, it fell kindly for Monreal to strike home the leveller. Fabianski had already pulled off a fine to keep out Mkhitaryan’s shot, Ramsey headed in, but was adjudged to be offside.

Aubameyang had seen a shot fizz just over the bar, and then he felt the pain from Diop who caught his shin. The Hammers defender rightly received a yellow card for his troubles.

Minutes before the break and the visitors should’ve been in front. Robert Snodgrass was one on one with Cech after a neat move, but the Gunners keeper got down to hold his effort.

Emery brought of Alexadre Lacazette for Alex Iwobi, and the France striker saw his first sighter held by Fabianski. Matteo Guendouzi’s stock continues to rise, and he put in some fine passes and tackles before he made way for the tenacious Lucas Torreira around the hour mark.

Arsenal then took the lead under fortunate circumstances, Lacazette hooked an effort which came off Diop and under pressure from Aubameyang, the Hammers defender guide that ball past Fabianski.

The Hammers however kept coming. The busy Anderson had already been allowed to drive unchallenged at what stood for and Arsenal defence. Cech made the save, with Moreal then tidying up.

On came Welbeck for the last 15 minutes as Ramsey saw his low drive palmed away just in the nick of time by Fabianksi. Another scare as the Hammers raced out, former Arsenal striker Lucas Perez wass fed out wide, but only sliced the ball wide with Andriy Yarmolneko unable to make what would have been a tap in.

In time added on, Bellerin’s cross from the right was met by Welbeck. The England striker had time to turn and strike in Arsenal’s third to end the game with a comfortable scoreline. It was anything but a comfortable game for the Gunners as Emery acknowledged. He has to find better defensive solutions if his side is going to be able to withstand tougher tests to follow.

The Gunners head coach accepted that West Ham gave his side a tough defensive examination, and the need for a “balance” between offence and defence which has to be established.

“They are also a good team with a good coach and good players. Also, they can give us problems for our defence. It’s clear that if we defend with more people in the moment, we can lose our performance for the attacking moments.
For that, we need the balance not to lose our attacking moments with this balance.

“But I think we need to improve. Today, I think the first half and the second half is very different. I think in the second half we found this balance better, because we spoke in the dressing room and after the substitutions of players, it made a difference in the second half and it is very important also to help and we need every player.“

Arsenal next travel to newly promoted Cardiff City where Emery will hope to pick up his first points on the road