Hammers Out Play Arsenal To Earn A Point

NO goals in this London derby clash at Upton Park, but Hammers more than held their own against Arsene Wenger's Arsenal and enjoyed the better of the chances.

Watched by a crowd of 34,742 inside the Boleyn Ground, this game had everything apart from a goal to settle what was a brilliantly contested match.

Hammers certainly had the better of the goalscoring opportunities as they turned in another excellent performance and continue to impress the Premier League with their open, attacking style of play.

Pards made one change from the side that beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage last weekend, re-calling the experienced Teddy Sheringham in place of Bobby Zamora in attack.

On the bench there was a place for Welsh international defender James Collins, his first involvement in the Premier League since joining the Club from Cardiff in the summer.

On FIFA Fair Play Day this game kicked off amid a magnificent atmosphere, with both sets of fans relishing the first London derby of the season at Upton Park.

It was Arsenal that had the first sight at goal, a long range effort from Robin Van Persie way off target.

Hammers certainly didn't look daunted by their illustrious opposition though and on six minutes Yossi Benayoun proved it when he ducked inside Ashley Cole and crossed to the far post, where Matty Etherington appeared to be leaned on by Lauren as he jumped for the ball.

On 12 minutes Teddy Sheringham bent a 20 yard free-kick over the Arsenal wall, but the effort dipped agonisingly wide of Jens Lehmann's right hand post.

On 20 minutes Sheringham was wide as Hammers began to up the tempo in front of a brilliant home crowd.

Benayoun was supplying plenty of craft from midfield, and up front the pace of Harewood looked to have the Gunners defence rattled.

At the other end, Arsenal were reduced to wild long-range efforts, Cole trying his luck from distance on the half hour and dishing out a safe catch to a lucky fan in the Centenary Lower.

Jose Antonio Reyes went much closer moments later. With almost no back-lift he sent a curling effort just wide of Carroll's right-hand post, with the Hammers 'keeper scurrying across his goal.

Entering the last 10 minutes of the half Hammers were still very much on top, but just couldn't find a telling pass to unlock the Arsenal defence. Harewood did very nearly get on the end of a Tomas Repka cross though, just failing to get across the sizeable Sol Campbell.

At the back Danny Gabbidon was excellent, dominating in the air and sweeping up everything that came his way.

With two minutes left until half-time Benayoun created a great chance. The diminutive Israeli midfielder shrugged off Kolo Toure seven yards out, but couldn't regain his balance and fired well over the bar.

Not many chances, but plenty of derby-day determination as the half closed with West Ham United and Arsenal locked at 0-0.

HT: 0-0

Hammers began the second-half just as they had finished the first and four minutes in Benayoun forced Lehmann into a good save, shooting from 12 yards out only to see the Arsenal goalkeeper make a safe high catch.

On 54 minutes the game erupted when a West Ham corner from the right was only half cleared by the Arsenal defence and as Repka turned the ball back in it looked to be blocked by the arm of a Gunners defender.

A giant appeal went up around Upton Park, but referee Mike Dean was unmoved. Both sets of players were suitably animated though and as a melee broke out in the Arsenal half Teddy Sheringham was booked.

When tempers are frayed the last thing Hammers fans would want to see is a booking for Tomas Repka. The defender was less than pleased when Dean brandished a yellow card for the Czech star's obstruction of Alexander Hleb, but captain Teddy Sheringham was on hand to restrain the defender.

Tomas and his defensive colleagues then had some work to do as Van Persie cut a swath across the Hammers box before hitting a shot that deflected wickedly off a Hammers defender and threatened to loop over Carroll, before dropping the harmless side of the post.

Hammers were maintaining a steady stream of dominance as the game began to stretch. With 10 minutes to go Pards called for local hero Bobby Zamora, who replaced Sheringham to add some more verve to the West Ham attack.

And with almost his first touch Zamora saw a great chance to score go begging. A fantastic cross from Etherington picked out the striker unmarked in the box, but Zamora headed wide of Lehmann's goal.

Three minutes from time Harewood might have done better with a shot on the turn from Zamora's knock-down, but he lofted his shot well over the bar.

Right to the end Hammers were roared on by yet another magnificent Boleyn Ground crowd, who are rising to the Premier League in just the same way as Alan Pardew's team.

Indeed, the determination of Pards' team was fantastic, and at the back Hammers thoroughly deserved another clean sheet with a superb defensive display as this hard-fought London derby ended with honours even and the score still deadlocked at 0-0.