Arsenal v West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 20 March 2010
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Final score - Arsenal 2-0 West Ham United
93 mins - The fans are streaming out into the rain as referee Atkinson blows for full-time. That was a big question of what might have been for the Hammers. Diamanti scores his penalty and it is game on. For 20 minutes after the break, West Ham looked capable of getting back into things, but they slowly ran out of steam and Fabregas's penalty put an end to matters. Tuesday night and the visit of Wolves cannot come soon enough.
91 mins - Daprela sees yellow for the first time in English football for bringing down Eboue.
90 mins - Cole controls McCarthy's pass well, but Song challenges him and the England striker cannot keep his shot down. We're going to have three more minutes...
89 mins - Cole has tried hard to fashion another chance for himself, but on two or three occasions he has been crowded out by Arsenal defenders. At present, the Gunners look more likely to score the game's third goal.
86 mins - I am afraid this game is over. Until Arsenal's second goal, West Ham looked capable of getting something out of it, but the penalty has completely deflated the visitors, while the home fans have found their voices again. A hugely frustrating afternoon for everyone of a claret and blue persuasion...
83 mins - Arshavin gets a rest and is replaced by Eduardo.
83 mins - GOAL! Scores...
82 mins - Penalty to Arsenal. Diamanti needlessly gives the ball away again in midfield. Arsenal break and the ball hits Upson on the arm. Fabregas...
79 mins - Tomkins brings down Clichy deep inside the West Ham half. Fabregas floats his free-kick way too long.
78 mins - Inches, inches.... Cole turns Song and shoots left-footed, but the ball clips the outside of the base of the post and rolls wide.
77 mins - Diaby spins clear of Noble and finds Arshavin, who cuts inside Upson, but sees his low shot saved by Green.
76 mins - McCarthy has a chance with his first touch, but he can only divert his header well wide from Spector's cross.
74 mins - Daprela fouls Nasri by the corner flag. The ball comes in and Campbell heads goalwards, and Green saves. A foul is given on Mido, however. The Egyptian heads off straight after, being replaced by McCarthy, while Sagna is on for Nasri.
72 mins - Benni McCarthy is going to be on soon, too. Arsenal are going to make a change, with Bacary Sagna coming on for Nasri.
71 mins - Danger. Daprela brings down Eboue about five yards outside the penalty area. Fabregas again wins the discussion and will take the set piece. He tries a chip, but West Ham clear.
70 mins - Kovac is off and Noble is on.
69 mins - Diamanti bursts past Nasri and Fabregas. His shot is on target, but hits Campbell and goes behind. The corner comes to nothing.
67 mins - West Ham have lost the momentum they built up after half-time. Just as I type, Stanislas plays a one-two with Mido but chooses to pass instead of shoot and the chance is lost.
64 mins - Arsenal are threatening here, and West Ham's clearances are getting increasingly desperate. Thankfully, Nasri releases the pressure by belting his cross out of play for a throw-in. Mark Noble is going to be on in a short while.
63 mins - ...and curls it well wide of the post. Poor effort by Fabregas's high standards.
62 mins - Eboue goes on a trademark run before being brought down by Upson, who is booked. Free-kick for Arsenal about 25 yards out. Fabregas places the ball...
60 mins - Half an hour to go and West Ham have been the better side since the break. Diamanti cuts inside and his shot is half-blocked and Almunia gathers with ease.
57 mins - Franco is the man to make way for Cole. Arsenal replace Bendtner with Abou Diaby. Arshavin goes up front for the ten men.
56 mins - Denilson's long-range shot deflects off Spector's back and out for a corner. We're going to see Cole in a second, but not before Green grabs Fabregas's corner at the second attempt.
54 mins - Behrami is still feeling the effects of that tackle from Arshavin. He receives a bit of treatment on the sideline before re-entering the fray.
52 mins - Daprela takes the ball forward and is brought down by Song as he gets into the box. It looks like the Cameroon defender might just have got a toe on the ball, though. Franco picks up the loose ball and his cross is deflected. It is sneaking towards the near post before Almunia falls on it.
51 mins - The away fans are certainly encouraged by the start their team have made to the second period, and the 3,000 are making plenty of noise across to my right. Meanwhile, Arshavin leaves Behrami in heap with a slightly high challenge.
49 mins - Behrami robs Clichy before swapping passes with Diamanti. Unfortunately, his cross is too close to Almunia, who claims in front of his face.
48 mins - Zola has donned a hat for the second half, of the wool variety, and to be honest I don't blame him. West Ham are controlling possession at present. They just need to do something with it...
47 mins - Song has dropped back into the back-four alongside Campbell. Arsenal create the first chance of the second period. Eboue crosses and Arshavin heads over the top.
46 mins - Arsenal kick-off through Fabregas....
It is absolutely bucketing it down with rain here. West Ham are the first to emerge for the second half, and it looks like we're going to continue with the same eleven who started the game. Arsenal are out too, but of course there are only ten of them.
Half-time score - Arsenal 1-0 West Ham United
48 mins - The half-time whistle is blown...
46 mins - Kovac appears to be brought down by Fabregas, but it is the Czech who is shown the yellow card for simulation. I'm afraid I don't know how many added minutes we're going to have.
45 mins - Oh no! Diamanti fires his penalty low to Almunia's left and the Spaniard dives and pushes the spot-kick aside.
44 mins - West Ham have a penalty! And Arsenal are down to ten men... Franco latches on to a through ball and gets in behind Vermaelen, who brings him down. The assistant referee flags and the penalty is awarded. Atkinson producs the red card.
42 mins - Fabregas makes a fantastic run to get in behind and latch on to Clichy's pass, but his cross is just too hard and Daprela is able to put the ball behind. West Ham clear the initial corner, but Fabregas regains possession and sees his shot well blocked by Tomkins and West Ham clear.
41 mins - Stanislas works Almunia with a low shot. The winger had turned neatly and run at the Arsenal defence after picking up a pass from Kovac.
39 mins - Nasri wins a corner off Upson's knees. Fabregas will take. Nothing comes of it, aside from a yellow card for Campbell, who fouls Stanislas as the winger tries to clear the ball. Bendtner is back on, by the way.
38 mins - Spector plays two one-twos and gets to the edge of the penalty area before being challenged by Campbell. Diamanti felt it should have been a free-kick, as Campbell's challenge was a trifle two-footed. He did get the ball though. The same can't be said dor Diamanti as he goes through the back of Bendtner, and is booked for his troubles.
37 mins - Nasri picks the ball up 25 yards out and runs at Daprela, but the Swiss keeps his eye on the ball and makes a fine challenge.
36 mins - Good football from Arsenal after West Ham give possession away inside their own half. Nasri to Bendtner, who plays in Eboue, but his low cross eludes everyone and rolls out for a goal kick. Warning signs again...
35 mins - Daprela gives away a needless free-kick, fouling Nasri after choosing to control the ball instead of heading it clear. The free-kick comes to nothing, however.
31 mins - Kovac gets a kick on the ankle from Eboue. That looked a bit painful. The right-back got nowhere near the ball, but no free-kick was given. Arsenal kick the ball out and the West Ham physio comes on to give Kovac a Czech-up. OK, that was a poor attempt at humour, I admit.
29 mins - Spector does well to hold off Arshavin before playing the ball back to Green. Cue chants of "USA" from the visiting fans...
28 mins - A neat flick from Kovac finds Diamanti in space. He cuts inside and finds Franco, who is tackled. On the touchline, Cole is chatting to Walcott as the pair warm up. Noble and McCarthy are also doing their thing.
27 mins - Fabregas lifts the ball in and Mido heads clear. Fabregas takes the resulting corner...and Mido heads clear....
26 mins - Behrami gets a talking to from referee Atkinson for bringing down Fabregas. The crowd want a yellow card, but they're not going to get one. It wasn't a particularly bad challenge, anyway. Free-kick to Arsenal about 30 yards from goal.
25 mins - Good understanding there from Upson and Tomkins, who step up just in time to play Bendtner offside.
23 mins - Diamanti cuts inside and finds Mido wide on the right. His cross is sliced behind by Campbell. The corner is taken short to Stanislas, whose shot is blocked. Mido tries a shot on the turn, but Arsenal scramble the ball clear.
22 mins - Another flowing move from the home side ends when Bendtner overhits his pass to Arshavin and Green is out swiftly to smother the loose ball.
21 mins - Loose pass from Diamanti finds Song, who plays the ball to Eboue. Daprela is in two minds about whether or not to close down the Ivorian, who thankfully drags his shot well wide of the far post.
18 mins - A moment of concern for Arsenal fans as Kovac challenges Fabregas and the Spaniard goes down with a loud yelp. He is up quickly enough, however, and play continues.
16 mins - A chance for West Ham. Diamanti releases Stanislas down the right with a fine reverse pass. The youngster looks up and fires a dangerous cross along the edge of the six-yard box, but Mido is just unable to slide in to apply a finish.
15 mins - Nasri is back on. Arsenal are controlling possession at the moment, which is not entirely out of character for Wenger's side... Theo Walcott is warming up on the touchline in case Nasri is unable to continue.
14 mins - A slight break in play as Nasri has treatment for what looks like a left knee injury. He is sat on the far touchline at present, but looks like he'll be OK to continue.
12 mins - Lovely stuff from Arsenal again. Nasri tries to play a one-two with Fabregas and both claim the Frenchman was pulled back as he attempted to latch on to the captain's pass. Nothing given, though.
10 mins - Close call again for Arsenal. Eboue romps down the right, crosses for Bendtner, who finds Fabregas. The Spaniard finds Denilson, but his acrobatic effort bounces through to Green.
8 mins - Campbell fouls Franco 25 yards from goal. Diamanti will be the favourite to take this, but Mido is also interested. Diamanti takes and the ball flies about a yard over the top. To be fair to Almunia, he had that covered.
7 mins - Hmmm... A throw-in gifts possession to Arsenal, who work the ball to Bendtner. The Dane takes a touch before hammering a low shot wide of the target from 25 yards.
5 mins - GOAL! When things are going against you... Upson wins a header and it falls to Denilson. He is tackled by Behrami, but the ball drops to the Brazilian, who then swaps passes with Bendtner before slotting his shot into the bottom right-hand corner from 20 yards.
4 mins - Upson nips in well and finds Behrami, who scampers 30 yards before finding Franco, but the Mexican loses the ball.
2 mins - Clichy crosses deep to Nasri, but he is crowded out by Daprela and Stanislas. West Ham break through the latter, who feeds Mido wide on the left. The Egyptian crosses, but Franco is just unable to control the ball 12 yards from goal and it rolls through to Almunia.
1 min - Junior Stanislas makes a bright start, breaking down the left before losing possession and conceding a throw-in.
5.30pm - Gunnersaurus leads the Arsenal mascot to the centre circle for the pre-match photos. After a quick chat and handshake with the two captains, the mascots sprint to the touchline and we're nearly ready to go. The two managers have a brief chat on their way up the tunnel. West Ham will kick-off...
5.28pm - Twelve-year-old Charlotte is West Ham's mascot this afternoon. Her favourite player is Carlton Cole, I can tell you. Let's hope the young lady proves to be a lucky charm for the Hammers this evening.
5.26pm - While we have 'Bubbles', Arsenal have an Elvis Presley number to welcome the two teams to the pitch. 'The Wonder of You' is a tune, of that there is no doubt, but I'm not 100 per cent sure it's a football anthem, is it?
5.23pm - Nigel Winterburn is among the interested spectators here today. The England left-back, of course, represented both clubs during a successful playing career.
5.20pm - Record books have been consulted - well, OK, the internet - and it appears Diamanti will be the first to score in three first-team fixtures against Arsenal in one season if he nets today. Alan Dickens managed to score in two matches in 1988/89, but nobody has completed the hat-trick...so far!
5.15pm - Alessandro Diamanti has had 73 shots this season, 39 of which have been on target, and one of which ended up in Arsenal's net in October. The Italian also hit the target against the Gunners in the FA Cup third round in January. I must confess I'm not sure when or if any West Ham player has ever scored in three matches against Arsenal in one season. I shall have to consult the record books...
5.10pm - The cold snap may be over, but it is a miserable day here in north London. The skies are grey and we've had plenty of rain here. That said, the playing surface looks like a carpet, so we should be in for some fast-flowing football. West Ham have avoided defeat here on two of their last three visits, and more of the same would be very welcome. A point today would be a massive boost ahead of Tuesday's visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers to the East End.
5.05pm - Arsene Wenger is running through his team on the big screens here at the Emirates. The Arsenal manager believes his team has the "passion and desire" to beat Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Let's hope they save those characteristics for their European adventure...
5pm - Good news from elsewhere courtesy of the veteran Nigerian Kanu, who scored a late, late winner for Portsmouth against Iain Dowie's Hull City. That victory for Pompey means West Ham remain three points clear of the relegation zone going into this evening's game. More importantly, perhaps, the Hammers have a game in hand on Burnley and a vastly superior goal difference to the two clubs immediately below them.
Good afternoon and welcome to the Emirates Stadium for today's Barclays Premier League meeting with Arsenal.
Gianfranco Zola has made four changes to his side from the 4-1 defeat at Chelsea a week ago, with James Tomkins, Alessandro Diamanti, Junior Stanislas and Guille Franco returning to the starting lineup. The injured Danny Gabbidon, Scott Parker, Ilan and Kieron Dyer are the quartet to make way.
There is also a change in shape for the Hammers, with Zola switching from the 4-5-1 formation he utilised at Stamford Bridge to a conventional 4-4-2 system. Valon Behrami will play alongside Radoslav Kovac in the middle, with Diamanti on the right flank and Stanislas wide on the left.
Fabio Daprela retains his place at left-back, making his second league appearance against the same club he made his first-team debut against in the FA Cup third round in January.
West Ham meet the Gunners for the third time this season today. The Hammers fought back from a 2-0 half-time deficit to snatch a point in the reverse league fixture on 25 October, while Arsene Wenger's side came from behind to steal a 2-1 FA Cup success at the Boleyn Ground on 3 January.
West Ham United: Green, Spector, Tomkins, Upson, Daprela, Diamanti, Behrami, Kovac (Noble 70), Stanislas, Franco (Cole 57), Mido (McCarthy 74)
Subs: Stech, Spence, Ilunga, Ilan
Arsenal: Almunia, Eboue, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy, Nasri (Sagna 74), Denilson, Song, Fabregas, Arshavin (Eduardo 83), Bendtner (Diaby 57)
Subs: Fabianski, Silvestre, Rosicky, Walcott