Hammers kick-start campaign with surprise 2-0 win
West Ham United picked up a surprise victory this afternoon at the Emirates Stadium after seeing off a less-than-impressive Arsenal.
Goals from Cheikhou Kouyaté and Mauro Zárate gave the visitors all three-points given Slaven Bilic the dream start to Premier League management.
However, it was potentially an Arsenal player the manager should thank after a nightmare showing from Petr Cech, who was at fault for both goals.
Despite early possession and most of the ball, Arsene Wenger‘s men failed to create any real goalscoring opportunities in the first-half, and with just two-minutes remaining, The Hammers took a shock lead.
A free-kick was put in the mixer and after Cech came flying out and got nowhere near it, Kouyate headered the ball into the empty net.
It then just took 12-minutes into the second-half for the game to be all-but over as Zarate thundered a low-shot home from outside the box which took Cech by surprise.
Once again Arsenal then enjoyed most of the possession, but they simply couldn’t challenge Adrian in the goal, who only made late saves to deny Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez.
The defeat will come as a major shock and wake-up call for Arsenal, who travel to Crystal Palace next weekend, but it’s a dream start for The Hammers and for the Bilic era.
Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger: “We were not convincing offensively or defensively. I knew it it could be a tricky game, if you can’t win the game, make sure you don’t lose it.
“We know fitness wise, West Ham were ahead of us, they had already played competitive games. You never get the same intensity. Well done West Ham. We will respond to that accident.
“We bought and still lost the game today. We listen to people but we have to focus on the quality of our performance.
“You are never surprised in the Premier League. It is better if we don’t talk too much and continue to work hard. The players were maybe too nervous and put too much pressure on themselves.
“Today we have been hurt mentally and it is a good opportunity to respond.”
Hammers boss, Slaven Bilic: “We are all very pleased and it is great start for us. Not only for the three points but points against a team that are the title contenders. If you add to that a London derby, it makes it a even bigger win. This is very special. I am very proud of the second half performance.
“I know we have a good team and I know we have that in ourselves but I wasn’t sure how we were going to show it. Sam Allardyce left me a good team and left me some quality in the side. We are still short of a few players but we have a chance to do a good job in the Premier League.”
16-year-old Reece Oxford after making his debut: “It was a dream debut.
“I had Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna behind me encouraging me. It is an honour to be the youngest ever West Ham player. I found out last night I was playing, I was obviously happy.”
Winston Reid: “We knew we had it in us and we worked really hard. We can get a lot better but to come here and win, we are really happy.
“He is only 16 but he is bigger and better than me. He has the future ahead of him. Slaven has come and changed us, he has got us thinking positively so full credit to him.”
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt