From the Terraces - Joe Difford

Fan blogger Joe Difford looks back on Saturday's thrilling draw with Arsenal
Fan blogger Joe Difford looks back at Saturday's thrilling draw with Arsenal...

For the first time in years, West Ham fans went into Saturday's game almost expecting to complete the double over Arsenal after the fantastic opening day win at the Emirates back in August.
Arsene Wenger's men were maintaining hopes of a league title however, so it was tougher than expected, although another controversial refereeing decision aided the Gunners as they earned a point at the Boleyn.
Within a matter of minutes Manuel Lanzini almost had the ball in the back of the net, but the flag was correctly raised for offside, a sign of things to come for the Argentine midfielder. He struck first soon after following an acrobatic Andy Carroll assist, but the linesman's flag went straight up, only for replays to show that Lanzini was about two yards onside.
Perhaps dazed by the decision, Slaven Bilic's side, sporting a new-look back line with three centre backs and two wing backs, let in two quick goals.
Alex Iwobi continued his fine form for Arsenal and slotted the ball through to Mesut Özil, who was just about onside, and he finished coolly. Not long after Alexis Sanchez doubled the visitors' lead following another fantastic assist from Iwobi, but the defence helped by failing to know who they were meant to pick up.
As the half time whistle approached, it seemed plausible that we could be witnessing our first defeat at Upton Park since August, the Hammers currently being on the best unbeaten home run in England. But Andy Carroll started what was to be the fifth fastest Premier League hat-trick in typical Carroll fashion.
Aaron Cresswell whipped in a typically perfect cross and the big No9 did what he does best and headed powerfully home. Before the claret and blue army could sit back down he struck again, this time Mark Noble delivering a great cross which Carroll converted at the second time of asking with an overhead kick.
With the Euros fast approaching, the likes of Cresswell, Noble and Carroll couldn't have put in better performances and Roy Hodgson surely has to take note.
Andy Carroll wasn't done yet though, and soon after the start of the second half he completed his treble and secured the match ball. Michail Antonio utilised his pace and strength to burst down the right and send in an inch-perfect cross for Carroll to head in once again.
We had already managed to put the ball in the back of the net through the ever-present Dimitri Payet before, but the referee blew up for a foul after Carroll enthusiastically won the ball back off Laurent Koscielny.
It was this Arsenal defender who snatched a point for the Gunners after Lanzini cleared Nacho Monreal's effort off the line. Koscielny was more accurate though, sweeping home after Danny Welbeck accidently touched the ball into the defender's path.
Even last year, a point would have been a magnificent result against Wenger's side, but such is the season we're having, Saturday's result felt like a defeat. Carroll's hat-trick was phenomenal and our fighting spirit to come back was great yet again.
However, a few defensive frailties must be analysed and amended before the visit of Manchester United on Wednesday if we want to secure a place at Wembley Stadium.
A draw was probably the fair result on Saturday if you ignore the offside blunder in the first half and United's loss on Sunday means that we are still very much in with a shout of a Champions League place.
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The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United