Barclays Premier League
West Ham United v Arsenal
Sunday 26 October 2008
Referee: Phil Dowd
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Mullins, Parker
(Boa Morte 77), Bowyer (Sears 89), Di Michele (Etherington 78), Bellamy,
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Davenport, Collison
Sent-off: Cole (90)
Booked: Parker, Faubert
Arsenal: Almunia, Eboue, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy, Walcott (Adebayor 67),
Fabregas, Song Billong, Nasri (Diaby 68), Bendtner, Van Persie (Sagna 90)
Subs not used: Fabianski, Toure, Ramsey, Djourou
Booked: Fabregas, Clichy, Song
Goals: Faubert 75 og, Adebayor 90
A Julien Faubert own goal and a late strike from Emmanuel Adebayor was
enough to give Arsenal victory in an enthralling London derby on Sunday
Faubert was unlucky to see his attempted clearance cross the line in the
75th minute, before Adebayor added a second in stoppage time. The hosts then
had Carlton Cole sent off in the dying minutes of what had been a thrilling
encounter that saw Robert Green turn in a heroic display, denying the
visitors on several occasions.
Gianfranco Zola made four changes from the team that lost at Hull City.
Lucas Neill was out with a virus so James Collins came in to make his first
start since December. Lee Bowyer and Hayden Mullins started in the place of
the injured Mark Noble (calf) and Valon Behrami, who was rested as a
precautionary measure with a groin problem. David Di Michele also returned
as Matthew Etherington dropped to the bench. Arsenal welcomed back skipper
William Gallas after their midweek Champions League win in Turkey.
Both sets of supporters were in good voice as the rain, which had lashing
down in east London all day, temporarily subsided in time for kick-off. The
home fans were nearly quietened within 40 seconds though as Theo Walcott's
effort from just inside the area was comfortably gathered by Green, who
would go on to enjoy a terrific game in the Hammers goal.
Di Michele almost marked his return to the side in the tenth minute when his
powerful drive was just tipped over by Manuel Almunia. Three minutes later
Nicklas Bendtner came close for the visitors as he flashed a shot wide. Much
of the pre-match talk had been of both teams' attractive, passing football
and they seemed keen to live up to the billing as they utilised the wet
surface to zip the ball around on the floor.
Walcott almost continued his superb form of late as a darting run saw him
beat two defenders before clipping the top of Green's crossbar with an
effort from just inside the area. The England winger then tried his luck
from closer in but still could not find the net as his shot from six yards
was met by a fantastic reaction save from Green.
Referee Phil Dowd took Cesc Fabregas' name in the 27th minute for blocking
Craig Bellamy as he threatened a counterattack. Moments later the West Ham
No10 did break through as a fantastic through-ball from Scott Parker sent
him clear. He raced in to the area before trying to place his shot into the
corner of a net, but somehow Almunia stuck out a leg to send the ball
looping over the bar.
As the Boleyn Ground's floodlights fought to counter the encroaching
darkness it was definitely the hosts that were in the ascendancy and the
home support more than contributed to an electric atmosphere. But if they
needed a reminder of the danger of their opposition they got it as Bendtner
sent a header just wide. The Dane tried his luck again in the 37th minute
but was the second Gunners forward to be denied by West Ham United's No1 as
he dived to his left to turn the shot around the post.
Bellamy fired over from 25 yards before Parker followed Fabregas' name into
the book two minutes before half-time for a strong challenge on Robin van
Persie. It was to be the last action of the first half as the sides went
into the break level.
Gael Clichy was booked six minutes after the restart for a late challenge on
Mullins on his 200th appearance in claret and blue and, from the resulting
free-kick, Cole glanced a header wide. At the other end Collins had to be
alert as he slid in to clear a dangerous cross from almost underneath the
crossbar. The hosts then had a claim for a penalty turned down as Cole's
cross appeared to catch Gallas on the arm.
The second period was carrying on in the same vein as the first as the play
flowed from one end to the other. Collins, on his 100th career appearance,
made another crucial intervention to block Van Persie, when the Dutchman
seemed destined to give his side the lead.
In the 59th minute Alexander Song became the fourth player booked as he
stopped Bellamy illegally. The forward had more joy moments later as he
surged into the Arsenal area only to see his cut-back from the left-hand
side elude first Cole and then Bowyer. The home support amongst the 34,802
in the Boleyn Ground again roared their side forward.
Arsene Wenger reacted by sending on Adebayor and Abou Diaby for Samir Nasri
and Walcott. The Togalese striker nearly scored with his first touch as his
header from a corner flew just wide. Green made it a hat-trick of
outstanding saves on 71 minutes as he produced another superb one-handed
stop to keep out Van Persie's 20-yard drive. The Dutchman went even closer a
couple of minutes later as smashed a free-kick against the post.
Arsenal took the lead with 15 minutes to go as Adebayor's cross was turned
into his own net by the retreating Faubert. Zola responded immediately by
bringing on Luis Boa Morte and Etherington for Parker and Di Michele. The
lead was nearly doubled minutes later but Green stopped Adebayor's effort
from the edge of the area, with the substitute firing the rebound over.
Faubert was booked with two minutes remaining and Freddie Sears came on for
Bowyer as the Hammers pressed for an equaliser. The desire to get level was
to cost them though. As they pushed bodies forward it inevitably left gaps
at the back which the visitors exploited to claim their second. A
through-ball from Bendtner sent Adebayor racing clear and he duly rounded
Green and finished into an empty net.
The home side's frustration was compounded when Cole was given a straight
red card for a late tackle on Song. It means the striker will miss the trip
to Old Trafford on Wednesday, when the team will be looking to turn their
strong form into points.
Zola expects fortunes to turn
The manager was pleased with the way his team competed with Arsenal before a
late loss of luck
Gianfranco Zola is confident it will not be long before his West Ham United
side get back to winning ways after unluckily losing 2-0 to Arsenal at the
Boleyn Ground on Sunday.
The hosts more than contributed to a lively match and will feel aggrieved
not to have taken anything from the game. Julien Faubert's own goal gave
Arsenal the lead with 15 minutes to go before Emmanuel Adebayor sealed the
win with just a minute left. Carlton Cole was dismissed in the dying seconds
for a late tackle on Alexandre Song.
Despite the frustration, Zola was rightly pleased with his players, having
seen James Collins and Craig Bellamy impress on their long-awaited returns
to the Boleyn Ground starting lineup and Robert Green performing heroics in
goal. He said: "We've been playing well, the players' commitment is
fantastic and their attitude is perfect. On the pitch they are doing
everything the way I ask them to do it so there is no complaints.
"We are just not getting a result and it is a frustrating because for me it
would be easy to have a go at them if they were playing badly. I told the
players they have to believe in what we do and see it working on the pitch
and stick together because the results won't be far off. I've never seen
teams playing well and losing many games. I am not worried at all."
Bellamy had the home side's best chance but saw his shot saved well by
Manuel Almunia. Zola was delighted to see him come through his first home
start in a year: "Bellamy has played a very good match," he said. "He has
been generous, he's helped the team a lot, running and chasing people back.
[For the chance] Almunia was very good and his body went on the other side
but his left leg went on the other side and he was very unlucky."
West Ham United next face the tough task of a trip to Old Trafford to face
Manchester United on Wednesday. Lucas Neill and Valon Behrami, who missed
out with virus and a slight groin problem respectively, could both return to
the starting lineup but Diego Tristan is unlikely to figure. Mark Noble will
also sit out with his calf muscle injury.
Zola is certain that his side will get the luck that their play deserves
sooner rather than later. "I don't think we are playing badly, I think there
are some parts where we are playing well. We are going to improve. If we
keep on doing that we are going to get better and better. I have faith in
that. I told them they have to believe in what I'm doing as I believe in
them and I can see what they are doing on the pitch."
The manager felt Cole was harshly treated for the red card that will keep
him out in midweek. "I wasn't happy about the tackle but I don't think it
was a straight red card; maybe a yellow would have been better," Zola said.
"I saw the action after and he didn't touch Song. It wasn't a nice tackle,
but maybe he shouldn't have got a red card."
Both teams in Sunday's encounter approached the game in the same manner -
relying on short, snappy passing - and Zola believes the Gunners could be a
template for his philosophy at the Boleyn Ground. He said: "Arsenal are a
model for the way we play and the way Arsene manages the team is a model for
me ... the whole team played very well. We defended very well and it's a
pity and we certainly didn't deserve to lose two goals."
West Ham 0-2 Arsenal
By Aimee Lewis
Julien Faubert's own goal set up a win for Arsenal to keep them in touch
with leaders Liverpool as West Ham slipped to a third successive league
defeat. Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie both hit the post before
substitute Emmanuel Adebayor's scuffed shot was directed beyond Robert Green
via Faubert. In injury time, Adebayor ran from the centre circle to finish
off a delightful Nicklas Bendtner pass. West Ham striker Carlton Cole was
then sent off for a foul on Alex Song. It was a pulsating end to a match
which seemed to be heading towards a goalless draw, with West Ham's defence
and the impressive Green frustrating the visitors. It was the introduction
of the direct running of Adebayor in the 65th minute which changed the game
and ensured the Gunners, now four points behind league leaders Liverpool,
remain in title contention.
For West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola, who presided over two wins in his first
two league games in charge, the honeymoon is over but he can take heart from
his side's battling display. The match burst into life with a coruscating
Walcott run in the 20th minute. The England forward set off near the
half-way line and beat two defenders only for the crossbar to thwart what
would have been a magnificent goal, although some would argue he should have
passed to his team-mates waiting in the box. Walcott had another chance five
minutes later when a delightful Cesc Fabregas chip found Van Persie, who put
Walcott through only for the teenager to be denied by Green's instinctive
save. But the best chance of the half arguably fell to West Ham striker
Craig Bellamy who would have scored with a low strike into the corner had it
not been for Manuel Almunia's protruding left foot.
Arsenal were susceptible to the West Ham counter-attack, with Bellamy's pace
in particular posing problems, but it was the Gunners who were the more
In the second half, Van Persie's 25-yard strike tested Green and the striker
rattled the post with a venomous free-kick before Faubert's error gave
Arsenal the advantage. Adebayor got the goal his cameo deserved when the
visitors broke free with Bendtner putting his strike-partner through with a
pass from deep inside his own half. West Ham's woe was then compounded when
striker Cole was harshly shown a straight red in the dying seconds for a
sliding tackle on Song.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "It was a big win for us. To come out of it
with a frustrating 0-0 would have felt like a wasted opportunity to get
closer to the top.
"We knew before the game we could not drop points. West Ham can also feel
frustrated because they defended well and gave everything." On goalscoring
substitute Emmanuel Adebayor, Wenger added: "Last year I over-used him and
now we go into a period where we play every three days, which is why I want
to rotate a little bit."
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola: "I know it might look crazy, but I am not
worried at all because we are going to get through this. "It would be easy
for me to have a go at them, but the players' commitment is fantastic and
their attitude is perfect." On Cole's sending off, Zola added: "I was not
happy about the tackle, but I do not think it was a straight red card, maybe
a yellow would have been better."
West Ham: Green, Faubert, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Mullins, Parker (Boa Morte
77), Bowyer (Sears 89), Di Michele (Etherington 78), Bellamy, Cole.
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Davenport, Collison.
Sent Off: Cole (90).
Booked: Parker, Faubert.
Arsenal: Almunia, Eboue, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy, Walcott (Adebayor 67),
Fabregas, Song Billong, Nasri (Diaby 68), Bendtner, Van Persie (Sagna 90).
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Toure, Ramsey, Djourou.
Booked: Fabregas, Clichy, Song Billong.
Goals: Faubert 75 og, Adebayor 90.
Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).
BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor 8.16
(on 90 minutes).
West Ham Utd 0 Arsenal 2
Filed: Sunday, 26th October 2008
By: Staff Writer
An own goal by Julien Faubert and an injury time strike from Emmanuel
Adebayor condemned West Ham United to a third successive Premier League
defeat at the Boleyn Ground this afternoon.
French defender Faubert inadvertently diverted an Adebayor cross into his
own goal with just 15 minutes of normal time remaining before the Arsenal
substitute struck into an empty net to gift the visitors all three points in
what was, for most of the match, a tight London derby.
The opening goal, whilst perhaps on the cards was extremely unfortunate for
United keeper Rob Green who had been otherwise excellent against a team he
appears to enjoy facing. However the England keeper was perhaps a little too
hasty coming out of his goal allowing Adebayor to add the injury-time late
West Ham, minus first team regulars Lucas Neill and Valon Behrami were
always up against it but never out of the game until Faubert's faux pas
changed the course of events. Craig Bellamy, making his first home start in
over a year could have marked his return with at least one goal whilst David
Di Michele also spurned a good chance to change the game.
United's best chance of the opening half fell to Bellamy - who has never
scored against Arsenal - on 29 minutes when he was sent through on goal by a
wonderful pass from the excellent Scott Parker. However the outstretched
boot of Arsenal 'keeper Almunia did just enough to send the Welsh striker's
effort looping over the bar.
At the other end Theo Walcott went closest for the visitors when his 20th
minute effort clipped the bar after a good break on the right-hand side,
whilst both Van Persie and Bentner - in for the rested Adebayor - missed
chances to give Arsenal the lead. Rob Green was also forced to make a
fingertip save to divert another Walcott effort after 26 minutes.
Both Matthew Upson and the returning James Collins were forced into
last-ditch tackles to maintain parity early on in the second half, whilst
Green had to be at his very best to deny Robin Van Persie on 71 minutes, who
hit the woodwork with a stunning free-kick two minutes later.
At that stage it looked as if the Hammers may just hold out for the point -
but the 68th minute introduction of former hammers traget Adebayor changed
the course of the game.
Whilst Arsene Wenger fiddled Gianfranco Zola opted to refrain from making
any substitutions, and with the Hammers visibly tiring that decision proved
costly as Arsenal finally made the breakthough with just 15 minutes
Adebayor, who gave the visitors a real boost when entering the fray twisted
and turned inside the penalty area before firing a cross-come-shot low
across the United six yard box. Under pressure, Faubert slid in to divert
the ball into his own net; a decision made even more disappointing as the
ball was clearly going out of play prior to the Frenchman's intervention.
Zola finally introduced Luis Boa Morte, Matthew Etherington and Freddie
Sears but it was a case of too little, too late. Whilst pushing forward for
an equaliser in the final minutes United were caught on the break and
Adebayor put the result beyond doubt by rounding Rob Green and firing into
an empty net.
A miserable afternoon was compounded in the third minute of injury time when
Carlton Cole was sent off for a late challenge on Alexandre Song; the target
man will now sit out an enforced absence, heaping more pressure on
Gianfranco Zola whose good start has been undone by three consecutive
For Zola and his team it gets no easier; next up is the trip to Old Trafford
to face reigning Premier League champions Manchester United.
A family affair
Filed: Sunday, 26th October 2008
By: Staff Writer
Valon Behrami says he is loving life at West Ham - despite being seperated
from his pregnant girlfriend. The 23-year-old midfielder has enjoyed a
promising start to his Hammers career despite currently living apart from
his partner Elena Bonzanni, who is expecting their first child early next
year. Bonzanni - an Italian model and TV presenter - has chosen to remain in
Rome in order to pursue her career whilst Behrami lives some 900 miles away
in London. However the Swiss international says he is happy with life in the
capital despite the distance between them. Speaking in an interview with the
Times, he said: "She has decided to stay in Rome but I want to be a father
to the child, so we will see. But I wanted to find a team like this, like a
family. "When I get up in the morning I go to training with a smile.
Everyone at work is happy. This problem that people say the club is in, the
directors have said there is no problem. "I'm sure we will have difficult
moments, especially when we play such teams as Arsenal, but if we keep
going, we can have a good season."
Behrami also revealed that his football-mad father Ragip was delighted to
see his son move to England. "We used to watch Serie A games when we lived
in Switzerland and, of course, my father came to my games at Genoa, Verona
and Lazio," he added. "But he has never been so happy as he is watching the
Premier League every week. "In Italy he would see maybe two or three chances
to score a goal in the whole of the game but now he says he sees a chance to
score every minute. He loves the football here in England."
Arsenal overcome brave Hammers
Adebayor nets after Faubert own goal
Last updated: 26th October 2008
Man of the match: Emmanuel Adebayor
Moment of the match: West Ham had looked like holding on for a point until
Julien Faubert inadvertently turned Emmanuel Adebayor's scuffed shot past
the unfortunate Robert Green.
Attempt of the match: Robin Van Persie rattled the crossbar with a
tremendous curling free-kick from 25 yards which left the superb Green
rooted to the spot.
Save of the match: Green made several excellent stops but the pick of the
bunch was early on when he leapt to his right to keep out Theo Walcott's
Talking point: Does Arsenal's victory prove they now have the battling
qualities necessary to be genuine title contenders?
Goal of the game: Nicklas Bendtner released Adebayor with a fantastic pass
and the Togolese striker kept his composure to go round Green and finish
from 20 yards.
Arsenal kept in touch with the Premier League leaders as they won 2-0 at
West Ham thanks to an own goal from Julien Faubert and a late strike from
Emmanuel Adebayor. West Ham were fortunate early on when Robert Green
handled the ball just outside the area but was not punished, and the
goalkeeper went on to make excellent saves from Theo Walcott and Nicklas
Bendtner before the break. Walcott also hit the crossbar, while at the
other end Craig Bellamy was denied by Manuel Almunia after being presented
with a glorious opportunity. Robin van Persie stuck the post with a
free-kick in the second half and was also denied by another fantastic stop
from Green. But Arsenal managed to break the deadlock in the 75th minute
when Faubert turned the ball into his own net, before Adebayor rounded Green
in stoppage time. Carlton Cole was then shown a red card in the final
seconds to complete a miserable afternoon for the Hammers.
Arsenal were led once more by captain William Gallas, fit again following a
thigh problem. However, both he and fellow France veteran Mikael Silvestre
were given plenty to concern themselves during the opening stages by a busy
West Ham frontline. After 10 minutes, it needed a fine tip over from Almunia
to deny the lively David di Michele, who powered in a 20-yard drive which
looked set for the top right-hand corner. Arsenal were being out-manoeuvred
in midfield, where Alexandre Song, pushed forwards from defence, and Spanish
maestro Cesc Fabregas were yet to strike up an understanding. Walcott had
been anonymous, but burst into the game on 20 minutes. The England man
turned his marker just inside the West Ham half before scampering away
towards goal down the right. After riding two challenges on the edge of the
box, he darted inside and unleashed a fierce drive which cannoned off the
top of Green's crossbar. Although Van Persie and Bendtner were both well
placed in the middle, given his current form, Walcott could perhaps be
forgiven for being somewhat selfish. The all-action teenager was in the
thick of things again when an intelligent chest down from Van Persie 12
yards out put the ball into his path. However, despite getting a shot away,
Green somehow pulled off a superb reflex save down to his right.
West Ham - who were out to avoid a third straight league defeat - needed
something to relieve the pressure as the half-hour mark approached. It came
following a quick break when Bellamy chased down a long ball ahead of
Silvestre. The Wales striker drilled in a low, first-time effort from the
edge of the penalty area which Almunia deflected over with his legs.
Bendtner chased what looked a lost cause on the left, before cutting inside
to force another fine save from Green at full stretch.
After a low-key start to the second half, the visitors again maintained a
spell of patient build-up. It was almost rewarded when Samir Nasri picked
out Walcott on the right, and his low centre was put over his own bar by the
back-tracking James Collins. The West Ham defender then made a timely
intervention to out-muscle Van Persie as the Dutchman looked to get on the
end of a long ball into the penalty area. As the hour mark passed, Bellamy
got in down the West Ham left - but Gallas was on hand to scramble the loose
ball away. Arsenal went close again when first Collins blocked Walcott's
angled effort and then Van Persie's follow-up flew through a crowded
six-yard box and hit Lee Bowyer.
With 25 minutes left, Wenger made a double change as Adebayor and Abou Diaby
- who had played so well in Turkey - were introduced, replacing Nasri and
Green was having an inspired afternoon and made another fine one-handed save
to keep out Van Persie's low, angled drive. When the England shot-stopper
was finally beaten by a stinging 25-yard free-kick from the Dutchman, his
luck held as the ball cannoned off the base of the post and bounced away.
Arsenal, though, finally got the breakthrough with quarter of an hour to go
when Adebayor weaved his way into the area and hit a low shot back across
goal. With Bendtner lurking in the six-yard box, the unfortunate Faubert
stuck out a boot which diverted the ball past Green. Adebayor should then
have done better when following up his own shot, only to stab over from
close range. The Togo frontman eventually made sure of what could yet prove
to be three vital points in an intriguing title race when he latched on to a
long pass up field from Bendtner to round Green and smash the ball into an
empty net. To compound the misery for West Ham, referee Phil Dowd showed
striker Carlton Cole what seemed a somewhat harsh straight red card for a
sliding tackle from behind on Song.
Zola rues Faubert error
West Ham boss staying positive after loss to Arsenal
Last updated: 26th October 2008
Gianfranco Zola remained confident that West Ham's results would soon pick
up following the defeat to Arsenal. The Hammers slumped to their third
successive loss as a Julien Faubert own goal and Emmanuel Adebayor strike
sealed a 2-0 success for Arsenal. West Ham carved out one or two chances but
Zola accepts that the key moment was when Faubert inadvertently slid
Adebayor's wayward shot into his own net. "There were a couple of occasions
when we had the chance to score and it is a pity," Zola told Sky Sports. "I
don't think Julien saw that he did not have anybody behind him. "We are
paying for any mistakes but I have said to the players that if we have
confidence and carry on playing like we are, I do not think it will be long
before we start winning again."
Carlton Cole was shown a straight red card in the final seconds of the match
for a foul on Alexander Song. Zola could understand the player's frustration
but was not able to defend the reckless challenge. Asked if the red card was
justified, Zola replied: "I don't know. I don't think he touched the player
but it wasn't a nice tackle either. "But I understand at the end of a game
when you find yourself losing like that it is not easy to take." Zola
maintains that he was happy with West Ham's performance and he has urged his
players not to lose heart. He said: "The only thing going wrong at the
moment is the results. Apart from that the team is playing well and
performing. "You have to keep faith and believe in what you are doing."
Bellamy inspired by Dyer
Striker insists team-mate played integral part in his recovery
By Richard Bailey Last updated: 26th October 2008
Craig Bellamy could return to action for West Ham against Arsenal this
afternoon and has revealed that he could not have recovered from his latest
injury set-back without the help of team-mate Kieron Dyer. Both were
team-mates at Newcastle and both have recently spent time on the sidelines
with serious knee injuries.
The pair have been spurring each other on in the gym in a bid to get back to
full fitness. He said: "We've both been doing three sessions a day to try to
get back. We're both pretty competitive people so we've really been pushing
each other to see who can do the most in a workout. "If we're running I
want to run further than him and if we're rowing I want to row for longer.
"You get really into it and it helps keep you going. We've both driven each
Bellamy's latest set-back saw him undergo his seventh knee operation of his
career and he admits that the injuries have taken their toll on his body.
He said: "I'll get to 33 and see what my body tells me but it has taken a
battering. I'm the sort of player who invites challenges and that's why I've
had so many injuries. "There have been some real lows and it really takes it
out of you. Not just the injuries, but the surgeries and the rehabs are
really tough times. "The pain every day is tough."
Despite the set-backs Bellamy is not worried that his pace has diminished
and insists he will be as fast as ever. He said: "I'm not worried that I've
lost any pace. As soon as I could do any strenuous running I was working on
my speed because it's such a large part of my game. I'll just be the same as
Bellamy admits that any match against Arsenal is tough but with the Gunners
coming off the back of a 5-2 victory over Fenerbahce the match-up will be
twice as hard.
He said: "My experiences of playing against Arsenal are pretty much the same
as the rest of the Premier League's. "You just never get a kick. There was
nobody happier than me when they knocked Highbury down - I'd watched so many
games there because I could just not get the ball. "But it's a good game for
me to be involved in while I'm trying to get my fitness back, because I'll
have to do a lot of running."
Hammers eye Spanish striker
Scout runs rule over Xerez marksman
By Paco Acedo Last updated: 26th October 2008
West Ham have been linked with a January swoop for Spanish striker Antonito.
The Premier League outfit sent a scout to watch the 30-year-old Xerez
striker play against Las Palmas on Saturday. It is the second time West Ham
have had Antonito watched this season, and The Hammers are also thought to
be interested in Las Palmas striker Marcos Marquez. The 30-year-old is
currently the top goal-scorer in the Segunda Division, Spain's second tier,
while Antonito has had top-flight experience with Sevilla, Racing Santander
and Recreativo Huelva. "I've heard the rumours but I still haven't spoken to
anybody about it," said Antonito. Xerez are currently suffering some
financial problems and it is thought they would be willing to cash in on
Antonito during the winter transfer window.
Vinny's Arsenal Report
West Ham Online
Vinny - Sun Oct 26 2008
West Ham United 0 Arsenal 2
Two second half goals resulted in a third straight defeat for West Ham as
Arsenal deservedly ran out winners.
I don't think many West Ham fans went into this game thinking that we would
come away with much but many wanted to see a committed performance which we
did get but you will never win a football match if you continue to give the
ball away as cheaply and frequently as we did.
Arsenal played some great football and move up a gear in the second half
which we did our best to suppress and maybe this is why the goal we did end
up conceding was so disappointing as a effort from Adebayor was going wide
only for Julien Faubert to knock into his own goal.
A number of changes were made to the side who lost at Hull City last
weekend. Most of these came about through injury. In defence, Captain Lucas
Neill was out with a virus and was replaced by James Collins who was making
his first start of the season.
In midfield Valon Behrami and Mark Noble were both missing and were replaced
by Lee Bowyer and Hayden Mullins.
Gianfranco Zola decided to drop Matthew Etherington to the bench in favour
of David Di Michele. The saw us persist with the 4-3-3 formation.
Arsenal started the better although this was not too surprising coming off
the back of a wonderful result in Fenerbache last week. England
international Theo Walcott saw an effort comfortably saved by Robert Green
in the first sixty seconds.
Our first effort of the game came out of nothing as a clearance by Arsenal
was not completed and Di Michele saw a shot from way out palmed over the bar
by Almunia. Although a decent save the Arsenal keeper did seem to make a
meal out of it.
We were struggling to keep possession and Arsenal were piling forward with
pace. There ability to get the ball into forward position within a matter of
seconds is quite awesome. Nikolas Bendtner saw an effort go just wide as he
cut in from the left and hit a shot.
Arsenal's best chance of the first half came from a counter attack after Di
Michele had lost possession. With Ilunga out of position due to his movement
forward, Walcott burst forward and into the area where he hit a shot which
clipped the top of the cross bar and went over. It would have been a
stunning goal as Arsenal showed their ability to create something out of
Our best chance of the first half and in fact our best chance of the game
came around the thirty minute mark when a great ball from Scott Parker put
Craig Bellamy through on goal but the Welsh strikers shot was saved by
Almunia and away for a corner. You have to put chances like this away when
you are playing a top side as you will not get many more. Sadly for us this
would be the way it would go.
Robert Green then proceeded to keep us in the game after a great save from
close range from Walcott and then an even better stop from a Bendtner drive
which looked destined for the goal.
The opinion at half time seemed to be that we were doing well which I
suppose to a degree I could agree with but the fact that we were not losing
was the only highlight for me. Arsenal had not gotten into their stride and
it was obvious that there was more to come.
If we had any chance of beating them we would need to make sure we were much
better in possession than we had been. We must also make sure Arsenal see as
little of the ball as possible, but we seemed to have deployed this tactic
of "you have the ball and try and break us down". This would work if you had
a team of quality midfielders and defenders, but we do not and that is
probably why we haven't kept a clean sheet since February.
The second half began and we won a free kick over on the right after a late
tackle from Clichy on Mullins saw the Arsenal man joined Fabregas in the
book. From the resulting free kick Carlton Cole saw his glancing header go
wide when he seemed to be unmarked and looked as though he should have done
James Collins saved a certain goal as a low cross from the right was played
in only for the 'Ginger Pele' to clear from right under his own crossbar.
A shout for 'handball' went up as Carlton Cole bust forward with his
attempted cross being handled by Gallas. I am yet to see a replay but many
of the West Ham players seemed to think it was a penalty.
Although we looked as though we might be able to do something on the break,
Arsenal were starting to take over the game and move up a gear which saw us
defend for our lives.
A superb ball over the top put Van Persie in on goal but Collins got back
and in front of the Dutch striker and brushed him off the ball.
As Arsenal continued to fail in their search for a goal, Arsene Wenger made
a couple of changes with the notable one being the introduction of Emmanuel
The visitors were now all over us and chance after chance fell their way.
Adebayor should have done better with his first touch of the ball as a
corner found his head but it went wide.
Robert Green made his best stop of the afternoon soon after as Van Persie
cut inside and unleashed a powerful shot which went through a number of
bodies only for Green to save and Faubert to clear away.
Van Persie went even closer moments after when his free kick crashed off the
post with most of the crowd thinking it was destined for the back of the
We couldn't get out of our half and having players like Di Michele who
cannot seem to trap cement only lead to Arsenal re-loading and preparing to
Just when we thought we had survived the worst of the Arsenal onslaught we
went a goal down through an own goal from Julien Faubert. It was the sub
Adebayor who scuffed a shot which was put into the goal by Faubert.
It is always gutting to concede a goal but to have got to 75 minutes and
defended bravely throughout only for an own goal to undo us was still hard
Zola brought on Etherington and Boa Morte (who was booed again) and replaced
Parker and Di Michele.
The change did nothing for us as an attacking force as the heads had gone
down and the players looked drained of any confidence. There was to be no
late rally and that last gasp chance never presented itself.
To compound our misery Arsenal stole a second after Bendtner out Adebayor
through on goal. Green made the wrong decision in trying to come for a ball
he was never going to make and the Arsenal striker nicked it passed him and
shot into the goal.
Cue the mass exodus of Upton Park and many would have missed the sending off
of Carlton Cole for what was a hard challenge but never a red card. I will
be interested to see how this looks on the replays because we cannot be
without Cole at the moment as we simply have no one else.
Made a string of stunning saves which was to be expected given the quality
of opposition. Should not have come out for the second goal and would have
had a better chance if he had stood his ground with a couple of defenders
Being up against the pace of Walcott was always going to be a test.
Walcott's best moment of the first half was when Ilunga was out of position
as he had gone forward to join an attack. I thought he dealt with him well
and maybe it was testament to Ilunga that Walcott was taken off.
Good in the air as you expect him to be but not really hot on his
distribution of the ball. Seems to have the tendency to knock it long and he
take so long making a clearance that he invites the opposition player on
which only leads to a rushed pass which rarely finds a team-mate.
If I am to pick a man of the match for us it would be Collins who came in a
put on a great display. As good in the air as Davenport but a lot more
mobile, Collins is a master at the last ditch defending. He always seems to
be there for that vital block or last gasp goal saving tackle. Keep him in
The own goal may have been unlucky but what about the rest of his
performance? Criminally poor in possession, his passing is just shocking to
watch and his crossing is abysmal. This was another poor performance from a
player who has done very little since being at the club.
Good to see him back in the side and it was a commited performance from one
of our most experienced players. Was not able to get onto the ball as much
as he would have liked but for a player who cannot be match fit he kept
going until he was taken off.
Awful last week but better this time around with his hard tackling football
working against this opposition. Put his body on the line multiple times and
made one terrific pass in the first half for Bellamy.
I never really understand what West Ham fans think he is going to do when he
is on the ball. Making his 200th appearance you would think fans would know
what type of player he is by now. He doesn't take on players, he has no real
skill and he doesn't burst forward into the box. He sits and attempts to
break up play whilst spraying the odd pass cross field. He is not a dynamic
midfielder but does a job which is often needed and today he did alright.
David Di Michele
I just don't get it. I haven't really since he made his debut and a couple
of goals against Newcastle cannot surely gloss over all the poor
performances since. To me he just loses possession time and time again and
if we are going to play this formation, he does not fit.
A few decent runs as the Arsenal defence and a golden chance in the first
half was about it for Bellamy today. This 4-3-3 formation does not suit him
and he need to play as part of a front two so that when Carlton Cole does
win a header he will be on to it.
Won just about every header that was available to him but with no support it
really didn't matter. It got to the point where I thought the Arsenal
defenders might have been letting him win them as they knew he had had no
one to flick the ball on to. Got himself sent off right and the end and we
will miss him.
Matthew Etherington (on for Di Michele 79 mins)
Should have been starting this game in my opinion and when he come on he was
put in the right wing?
Luis Boa Morte (on for Parker 79 mins)
Did nothing of real note and could not get into the game. Booed again by
sections of the support.
Freddie Sears (on for Bowyer 89 mins)
Don't know if he touched the ball.
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Davenport, Collison
We are not expected to beat a side like Arsenal who are far superior but we
are expected to give it a go and put in a committed performance. This we
largely did and it is hard to be too critical about the way we played.
I am a little concerned about the persistence of this 4-3-3 formation
especially when it is clear that in some games it just will not work.
Sometimes we need natural width and with players such as Etherington and
Faubert this is possible to play with if we need to.
In a game like this, have a 'luxury' player like Di Michele is in my opinion
a little pointless and he will never see much of the ball to do anything
with. Also couple this with Di Michele being one of the most wasteful
players in possession I have ever seen as you seem to be playing with a
disadvantage before you have begun.
Next up is Manchester United and I will be one of the 1,900 who are
attending. This is not a game I am expecting to get anything out of and if
we have a shot that will be probably be a positive.
Looking at the fixture list, (and without meaning to be really depressing) I
am struggling to see where our next win is coming from.
The easy games are over - from now until January it is going to be very
tough and a few more defeats and we will be looking up at 'Arrys 'appy
So what has Zola seen so far ?
West Ham Online
Yarmouth - Mon Oct 27 2008
So what has Zola seen over the past few weeks and what can he do to adjust
things. Given that he was a class player, and class players play with the
ball, the 1st priority must be to select the players that can retain
possession. Sounds pretty basic, but we are very poor at that in key areas
and very good at it in in other's.
Faubert has shown that he's not up to the job. It's simply not good enough
or tactically smart enough to play the ball short to the full backs from the
keeper if we simply give it away. If Green was to just punt the ball upfield
(which I for one don't agree with) at least we would have a 50/50 chance of
retaining possession. With Faubert, it's almost a certainty that he will
give it away and of course when he does, they other side are already in our
half so we're on the back foot all the time.
You could argue that the midfield players aren't making themselves
available, but that's not the case. His passes are bad and he has adopted
this habit of trying to chip the ball around and it doesn't work.
He has to be dropped.
This is gonna be a good 'un – Noble and Parker can't play together much like
Lampard and Gerrad. They are too much of the same player and it's only
Nobles energy that moves him forward that separates Parker and him occupying
the same space.
Mullin's, though never gonna be a world class player gives us a stability in
that part of the pitch that parker and Noble don't. Ray Wilkins didn't score
for Man U or get into the box yet he was vital to the team. I think Mullins
is the same for us.
I'm sorry to harp on again, but Cole is not gonna do it lads. We like him
coz he works his nuts off and is WH through and through (seemingly) but
apart from the odd goal, he's not gonna develop any better than a tough
centre forward who holds it up but doesn't really add much to the teams'
potential to score a goal.
Sear's is the lad I'd like to see. OK, he's not a giant like Cole or Ashton,
but he's quick and eager and I liken him to Defoe. With Zola's way of
wanting to play the game by passing and movement, Sear's is the lad to lead
the line with Bellamy hassling just behind. We don't play the crossing from
the wings game, it's not our style, and we don't have the players to do it.
We want to play the ball on the floor with pace and get behind defenders.
Collins had a great game and looked very strong. Bowyer, whilst not always a
favourite is a bloody good player and whilst he lacks pace now, he's got
skill in abundance and put in the right formation would do a great job.
Upson is improving back to his form, and in Ilunga we have a left back with
class and skill.
We were never gonna beat Arsenal, won't beat Man U and won't beat Chelsea or
Liverpool consistently. They are too good in to many areas. A fluke result
here and there is all we can hope for at present.
But we have got the players to be a top 8 club, I think Zola will be the
manager to take us there, and if he can retain confidence in the side we
will move on from this little slump.
Ashton, should be sold in January. He flatters to deceive and he's injury
prone. Yes, he scores but we can't depend on him, and his goals / appearance
ration means he should move on.
My starting line up (given the available players) –
Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga
Noble, Mullins, Parker, Behrami
Yes I've put Noble in with parker, but only if you play Mullins as the
anchor. Parker and Noble will get forward, Noble more so, and Behrami looks
very good. If you needed another anchor in midfield to allow Noble room to
get forward, play Bowyer instead of Parker, or Bowyer instead of Noble and
let Parker go forward. But Mullins id the key to stabilising it.
Now, play the ball to feet, play it quick, pass and move, and let Sear's and
Bellamy run the fuck out of defences all day.
Maybe another thread for this particular view – but has anybody else noticed
that whenever Lampard plays against Liverpool he hides up ? Gerrard was
awesome yesterday, but Lampard bottles it whenever he's on the same pitch.
Different class and he knows it.
Up the Iron's !!
West Ham 0 Arsenal 2: A striking difference as Adebayor shows the real value
of a predator By Simon Cass
Last updated at 11:51 PM on 26th October 2008
Arsene Wenger need only cast a glance in the direction of White Hart Lane to
see what happens when you lose such a precious commodity as a quality
Tottenham have struggled without Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane, so
little wonder the man who Harry Redknapp will now be pitting his wits
against on Wednesday night is delighted he still has his own goal machine to
count on despite intense pressure from Barcelona in the summer. Emmanuel
Adebayor made the difference against West Ham, coming off the bench for Theo
Walcott in the second half to lure Julien Faubert into an own goal before
sealing the win with a well-taken goal in stoppage time. It may have needed
a bumper new £80,000-a-week contract to banish thoughts in Adebayor's mind
of joining Thierry Henry at the Nou Camp, but if the Togo striker can
continue to inspire his side to vital victories such as this then few
Arsenal fans will complain about being held to ransom. Wenger insists he
has no concerns about Adebayor's attitude, even if his striker admitted he
was disappointed to start on the bench. 'What is fantastic is that he is a
regular player in my team,' said Wenger. 'He fights very hard and today he
came on with 25 minutes to go and he fought for every ball. That is more
than all the speeches I could make.
'Last year I overused him and now we go into a period where we have a game
every three days. I have a compact squad but one of quality and I can only
show that by giving my young players a chance.' Arsenal's youngsters
certainly suggested that Wenger's squad is better equipped to go the
distance this season. In addition, the experienced defensive pairing of
Mikael Silvestre and William Gallas - back in the side after a thigh injury
- suggests that costly defensive mistakes can be ironed out.
All smiles: Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates his side's second
goal late on Indeed, prior to the arrival of Adebayor, Arsenal's young guns
could have been away and clear but for another stunning performance by
Robert Green in goal for West Ham. A trio of magnificent saves to deny
Walcott, Nicklas Bendtner and Robin van Persie threatened to make it an
extremely frustrating afternoon for Arsenal, while Green deserved his slice
of luck when Van Persie saw a free-kick cannon off the post.
'Green always has the game of his life against us. It is unbelievable,'
claimed a relieved Wenger. Yet Arsenal needed the intervention of Manuel
Almunia's outstretched foot to prevent West Ham, playing effectively on the
counter-attack, taking a first-half lead through Craig Bellamy. Hopes that
West Ham could finally achieve their first clean sheet in 21 attempts were
extinguished just seven minutes after the introduction of Adebayor for
Walcott Collecting a pass from Van Persie inside the area, Adebayor spun and
whipped the ball across goal where Faubert's lunge at the far post only
succeeded in turning the ball into his own net with 15 minutes left. West
Ham had to push forward, but as they were still arguing for what would have
been a harsh penalty for handball against Gallas, Bendtner released Adebayor
with a 60-yard pass. The Arsenal man got there ahead of the onrushing Green
and had time to compose himself before firing the ball past the covering
Faubert. There was still time for a frustrated Carlton Cole to hack down
Alexandre Song and receive a red card from Phil Dowd when most onlookers
expected no more than a yellow. 'It wasn't a nice tackle but it wasn't worth
three matches,' said West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola. 'Maybe the referee will
have a look at it and it will change. If not, we will find another
solution.' Praising the attitude of his team, Zola refused to let a third
straight defeat dampen his enthusiasm ahead of Wednesday's daunting trip to
Old Trafford. 'The players' commitment is fantastic and they did everything
we asked on the pitch. It might seem crazy but I am not worried at all. A
good starting point is to play well and you have to believe you are doing
Arsenal certainly are doing things right as they closed to a point behind
WEST HAM (4-3-3): Green 8; Faubert 6, Collins 7, Upson 7, Ilunga 6; Parker 6
(Boa Morte 78), Mullins 6, Bowyer 6; Di Michele 6 (Etherington 78), Bellamy
7, Cole 6. Booked: Parker, Faubert. Sent off: Cole.
ARSENAL (4-4-2): Almunia 7; Eboue 6, Gallas 7, Silvestre 7, Clichy 7;
Walcott 7 (Adebayor 68, 8), Fabregas 7,Song7, Nasri 6 (Diaby 68, 6);
Bendtner 6, Van Persie 7 (Sagna 90). Booked: Fabregas, Clichy.
Man of the match: Robert Green.
Referee: Phil Dowd.
GRAHAM POLL: The Official Line
How differently this match would have unfolded if video reviews could have
been used at Upton Park yesterday. Robert Green would have had to be
dismissed when he handled outside his penalty area after half-an-hour
(below). Commentators accepted that the assistant could not have kept up
with play as it moved too quickly.
I am not convinced that Andy Williams should not have been able to keep up
but, with the video replay, a 10-second delay would have shown the
Julien Faubert's faux pas gifts victory to Arsenal
West Ham 0 Arsenal 2
Much has been written about the frosty relationship between Nicklas Bendtner
and Emmanuel Adebayor, but it was Arsenal's odd couple who came to their
team's rescue on an evening when it seemed likely that they would lose
ground on Liverpool in the race for the Barclays Premier League title.
Bendtner, starting in place of Adebayor, who was given a well-deserved rest
after his midweek Champions League exertions in Istanbul against Fenerbahçe,
struggled to impose himself until help arrived in the shape of the Togo
forward. Within eight minutes of Adebayor replacing Theo Walcott in the
second half, Arsenal were in front after Julien Faubert, the West Ham United
defender had turned the substitute's low cross into his own net. Adebayor
wrapped up the victory in the dying minutes by racing on to a breathtaking
50-yard crossfield pass by Bendtner before lashing the ball into an empty
net with Robert Green, the West Ham goalkeeper, stranded in no man's land.
"I had something to prove," Adebayor said. "It was frustrating to be on the
bench but the most important thing is that we won the game."
Arsenal would have won with something to spare if Green, who always seems to
save his best for Arsenal, had not been in such inspired form. The
goalkeeper had to be at full stretch to keep out strikes from Bendtner,
Walcott and Robin van Persie, but was lucky not to be sent off after he
caught the ball outside the penalty area when under pressure from Bendtner
midway through the first half. "Their goalkeeper was outside the box and
they could have played with ten men," Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager,
said. "He always has the game of his life against us. It was unbelievable,
he does that every year."
West Ham had their chances too, especially before Adebayor and Bendtner
clicked into gear in the second half. Gianfranco Zola had promised that his
team would attack and the West Ham manager was true to his word. With combat
veterans such as Craig Bellamy and Lee Bowyer returning to the starting XI,
West Ham had plenty of bite in midfield and were unlucky not to take the
lead in the 28th minute when Manuel Almunia's outstretched left leg
prevented Bellamy from giving his side the lead.
The result could also have been different if Phil Dowd, the referee, had
pointed to the spot when Abou Diaby and William Gallas appeared to handle
the ball in the penalty area after the interval. Television replays
suggested that Dowd had made the right calls, but the referee was at fault
when he showed Carlton Cole, the West Ham forward, a straight red card in
the dying seconds for a late challenge on Alexandre Song that deserved only
a caution. Zola confirmed that he would try to convince Dowd to look at the
incident so that Cole would not be suspended for his team's visit to
Manchester United on Wednesday.
"I'm not worried at all because we are going to get through this," Zola said
after watching his side lose three games in a row. "We're going to become a
team that will be hard to be beat. Arsenal are the model that we have to
Wenger is used to that sort of compliment and the Frenchman was in such a
good mood when he left Upton Park that he could afford to joke about
Gallas's recently acquired smoking habit. "He played well today," Wenger
said. "He must have smoked something good."
West Ham United (4-3-3): R Green 9 - J Faubert 6, J Collins 7, M Upson 7, H
Ilunga 6 - L Bowyer 6, S Parker 7 H Mullins 6 - C Bellamy 7, D Di Michele 7,
C Cole 7. Substitutes: F Sears (for Bowyer, 88min), L Boa Morte (for Parker,
77), M Etherington (for Di Michele, 77). Not used: J Lastuvka, W Lopez, C
Davenport, J Collison. Next: Man Utd (a).
Arsenal (4-4-1-1): M Almunia 8 - E Eboué 7, W Gallas 7, M Silvestre 7, G
Clichy 8 - T Walcott 7, F Fàbregas 7, A Song 7, S Nasri 6 - R van Persie 8,
N Bendtner 7. Substitutes: E Adebayor 8 (for Walcott, 67min), A Diaby (for
Nasri, 67), B Sagna (for Van Persie, 90). Not used: L Fabianski, K Touré, A
Ramsey, J Djourou. Next: Tottenham (h)
Emmanuel Adebayor comes off bench to fire Arsenal to victory
West Ham United (0) 0 Arsenal (0) 2
By Oliver Brown
Last Updated: 11:01PM GMT 26 Oct 2008
The case of the captain and the cigarette has been emphatically snuffed out.
Arsenal proved on Sunday that they had no time for such frivolities as
William Gallas being caught smoking outside a nightclub, with Emmanuel
Adebayor's brief but incendiary star-turn lighting up the Premier League
Gallas gave no impression at Upton Park that he had over-indulged, busily
blunting every thrust of West Ham's attack while Adebayor bided his time,
before springing off the bench and delivering the turn of pace that left
defenders watching his vapour trails. Arsenal, ominously, moved to within
four points of leaders Liverpool as both Chelsea and Manchester United
choked, and are likely to move closer the longer Arsene Wenger has the
confidence to use his star striker only at the butt of games.
For Wenger Gallas' indiscretion had been no joke, but this was the type of
performance to prove how consummate his team have become at shutting out
distractions. The portents were not good: Arsenal endured one of those
league games in which they struggled to drive home their dominance, but
their resolve in breaking West Ham's resistance with two late goals
suggested this flamboyant if sometimes flaky team have at last found the
mental strength to stay the course.
The manager had no doubt this was a watershed, psychologically. "It is a big
win," Wenger said. "A frustrating 0-0 draw would have felt like a wasted
opportunity." As it transpired Adebayor converted his chances, both of them,
capitalising on a deflection off Julien Faubert before latching on to a
sublime long pass from Nicklas Bendtner to conclude matters in injury time.
West Ham were unfortunate, having convincingly played Arsenal at their own
dazzling game, and their sense of injustice was magnified when Carlton Cole
was harshly shown a straight red card for sliding in on Alexandre Song in
the dying seconds. Gianfranco Zola indicated the club would ask referee Phil
Dowd to review the incident but they are unlikely to have the possibility of
appeal. "It would be easy for me to have a go at the players but their
attitude was fantastic," Zola said. On Cole's challenge he argued: "It was
not worth a three-match ban."
Indeed it was Arsenal who found themselves outmanoeuvred in the first half,
with Song and Cesc Fabregas struggling to forge an understanding in
midfield. Walcott, though, made a significant impression after 20 minutes,
firing in a fierce drive that rebounded off Robert Green's crossbar. He was
in the centre of the action again soon after when an intelligent chest-down
from Van Persie steered the ball into his path. The England forward managed
to get a shot away but goalkeeper Robert Green contrived a superb reflex
save low to his right.
West Ham sought to relieve the pressure and almost succeeded when Craig
Bellamy chased down a long ball ahead of Mikael Silvestre but his first-time
shot was parried by Manuel Almunia. In the second half the frantic tempo was
sustained, James Collins forced to make a decisive intervention to keep out
Robin van Persie before Bellamy strove to strike on the counter-attack,
surging down the left flank before Gallas scrambled the ball away.
Arsenal, however, were becoming near impossible to contain and Wenger pulled
off a telling trick with 25 minutes left, dispatching Adebayor and Abou
Diaby for the fading Samir Nasri and Walcott. Green made another superb save
to keep out Van Persie's low shot and when he was ultimately beaten by the
Dutchman's 25-yard free-kick moments later he had the luck to watch the ball
cannon off the base of the post to safety.
But the breakthrough had an air of inevitability. With quarter of an hour to
go Adebayor weaved his way into the area and hit a low shot back across
goal, the unfortunate Faubert stuck out a boot, and the ball was past Green.
West Ham's misery was compounded when the Togo striker raced up the field
after Bendtner's cross and smashed his shot into an empty net. As Wenger
observed: "He must have had a very good cigarette."
5 Arsenal have scored in the final five minutes in five of their last six
matches – four times in the 90th minute.
Adebayor adds missing cut to Arsenal's thrustGuardian report Min-by-min
West Ham United 0
Arsenal 2 Faubert (og) 75, Adebayor 90
Paul Weaver at Upton Park The Guardian, Monday October 27 2008 Article
Emmanuel Adebayor's introduction in the second half provided Arsenal with
additional presence up front. Photograph: Nigel French/Empics
Arsenal were ultimately the clear and deserved winners but if their captain,
William Gallas, was tempted to lean on a post with another gasper between
his lips it was an indulgence he could never afford against a determined and
well organised West Ham United side. The home team had a game plan and they
stuck to it with discipline. It was to defend in numbers and hit Arsenal on
Both Craig Bellamy and David Di Michele supported Carlton Cole from deep
positions, and their populous midfield made it difficult for Arsenal to play
through them. West Ham also created the most thrilling and clear-cut chance
of the match on the half-hour when Scott Parker, playing the best ball of
the afternoon as he fell over, sent Bellamy scampering towards the Arsenal
goal. Bellamy decided to shoot low instead of lifting the ball over the
sliding Manuel Almunia and the goalkeeper saved it, desperately, with his
outstretched left leg.
The crucial difference between the two sides was that when Arsène Wenger,
the Arsenal manager, turned to his bench, there was Emmanuel Adebayor and
Abou Diaby to come on, and when West Ham looked up their sleeve there was
If Wenger had any doubts about whether his efforts to keep hold of Adebayor
in the summer were worthwhile, he cannot have them now. The Togo striker's
contribution when he came off the bench in the 68th minute was massive.
First he created mayhem in the West Ham defence with a shot which would have
gone wide but was guided into his own net by the West Ham defender Julien
Faubert. Then in the third minute of injury-time he latched on to Nicklas
Bendtner's superb crossfield ball from a left-back position to slip it past
the advancing Robert Green, who scarcely deserved to be on the losing side.
"He came on with a determined attitude and did very well today," said
Wenger. "He's a regular player in my side and he fights very hard. Last year
I overused him so this time I want to rotate him a bit. When there's a
breather in the championship, we play in the Champions League. This was a
big win for us. We would have felt that this was a wasted opportunity not to
get closer to the top. We knew before the match that we couldn't drop points
Arsenal stay fourth and Wenger is happy with their position. "We are one
point behind Chelsea and four points behind Liverpool, which in October is a
good position to have.
"West Ham decided to frustrate us by defending very deep and protecting very
well in the centre. But they can feel frustrated, because they defended very
well and gave absolutely everything.
"A week ago everyone made Chelsea super favourites; now it's Liverpool, so
things change very quickly. We were very close last year, when we lost only
This was West Ham's third defeat on the spin and they have now dropped more
Premier League points to Arsenal (30) than any other club. But their
manager, Gianfranco Zola, was in a positive mood afterwards. "The players'
commitment was fantastic and their attitude perfect. They are doing
everything that I've asked them to do, so I have no complaints. I'm not
worried at all because we are going to get through this moment. It won't be
long before we get the results." Presumably not, though, on Wednesday, when
they are away to Manchester United.
Green was lucky not to be sent off when, challenged by Bendtner, he appeared
to handle outside the area after 22 minutes, but the goalkeeper's form was
so outstanding that he deserved the break. He saved particularly well from
Theo Walcott four minutes later. Walcott's surging diagonal runs troubled
the West Ham defence, but it was the extra quality of Adebayor which made
the vital difference. "I think he smokes a very good cigarette," said Wenger
as he left the press conference.
Adebayor maintains Gunners' grip on Zola
West Ham 0 Arsenal 2
By Andrew Warshaw
Monday, 27 October 2008
How Gianfranco Zola must hate the sight of Arsenal. In his seven years in
Chelsea's midfield, the diminutive Italian never once tasted success against
Arsène Wenger's team in 12 appearances. Yesterday, as West Ham's manager,
that sequence continued in a gripping encounter that was settled by an own
goal and a last-gasp Emmanuel Adebayor special.
Although there was probably more at stake at Stamford Bridge and White Hart
Lane, West Ham knew victory would have pushed them to within a point of the
Gunners and matched their opponents for long periods with eye-catching
football and had a couple of penalty appeals turned down, but were undone by
superior technique and individual quality.
Aston Villa's thumping win at Wigan had threatened at half-time to see
Arsenal, who gave Adebayor a rest by leaving him out of their starting
line-up, spinning out of the top four had they been defeated. Instead,
normal service was resumed in the second half as the visitors turned up the
heat despite an inspired display from Robert Green in West Ham's goal.
With Craig Bellamy making his first home start for over a year following a
remarkable seventh knee operation and Lee Bowyer back after a two-month
absence to add bite to the midfield, West Ham started brightly, a flying
tip-over save by Manuel Almunia keeping out David di Michele's 25-yard drive
inside the first 10 minutes.
It was not long, however, before the smooth Arsenal machine clicked into
gear as Theo Walcott thumped an effort against the woodwork after a surging
run from the halfway line, then brought the best out of Green as he moved on
to Robin van Persie's chested-down pass.
At this point, however, Bellamy came close to celebrating his return with
the opening goal, as he burst on to Scott Parker's pin-point pass, but saw
his shot cannon off Almunia's leg.
Wenger had had enough. Midway through the second half, off went the
dangerous Walcott. Had the Arsenal manager taken one gamble too many? Not a
bit of it. Van Persie, a threat throughout, could only stand and watch as
Green produced more heroics, then the Dutchman was unlucky to see his
free-kick rattle the post.
It was no surprise when Arsenal finally broke the deadlock, albeit with an
element of good fortune. Adebayor's cross-shot seemed to be going wide, but
Julien Faubert stuck out a leg to deflect the ball past his own keeper.
Another blinding Green stop thwarted Adebayor from doubling the lead, but
Arsenal's pace took them up the other end and their tall Togo marksman
clinched the points with a piece of trademark accuracy that had the purists
purring with admiration.
West Ham's misery was compounded in stoppage time when Carlton Cole was
unlucky to be dismissed with a straight red for a lunge on Alex Song that
was badly timed but nothing more. "It's a big win for us because we would
have wasted an opportunity with a 0-0 but West Ham gave absolutely
everything," Wenger said.
Zola was crestfallen."I've never seen a team play consistently so well and
lose so many games," he said after a fourth defeat in five matches.
Goals: Faubert og (75) 0-1; Adebayor (90) 0-2
West Ham United (4-3-3): Green; Faubert, Collins, Upson, Ilunga; Mullins,
Parker (Boa Morte, 77), Bowyer (Sears, 89); Di Michele (Etherington, 77),
Cole, Bellamy. Substitutes not used: Lastuvka (gk), Lopez, Davenport,
Collison.Arsenal (4-4-2) Almunia; Eboué, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy; Walcott
(Adebayor, 67), Fabregas, Song, Nasri (Diaby 67); Van Persie (Sagna, 92),
Booked: West Ham Parker, Faubert; Arsenal Fabregas, Clichy, Song.
Sent off: Cole (90).
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Man of the match: Silvestre.