Hammers Stun Gunners At The Emirates
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 09 Aug 2015 17:48:00
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West Ham United kicked off their 2015/16 Barclays Premier League campaign with their first win on the road since 1 December after a stunning 2-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.

Winston Reid was named in the starting line-up after he had recovered from the knock picked up in training before the second-leg of the Europa League tie against FC Birkirkara and was able to start alongside James Tomkins, who was filling in for Carl Jenkinson, as he was ineligible to play against the club who holds his registration. Reece Oxford was given his Premier League debut in place of James Collins who dropped to the bench. New signings Dimitri Payet and Angelo Ogbonna were also given their first starts by new manager Slaven Bilic.

Both teams started the game well but it was the Hammers who were looking like they had more purpose.

When captain Mark Noble conceded a freekick for a foul on Francis Coquelin with just five minutes played, I guess the travelling contingent were praying for referee Martin Atkinson not to brandish a red card, given that they have had quite a few during their UEFA Europa League campaign. Thankfully for Noble though, it was only a yellow. Two minutes later, Ogbonna received the same punishment, following a late challenge on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

With neither goalkeeper having been tested up to this point, Arsenal were piling on the pressure and went close on nine minutes, when Mathieu Debuchy crossed for Laurent Koscielny but his header went inches over the top. The home side had another chance just two minutes later, when Oxlade-Chamberlain raced into the box but fired his effort over.

The Irons were still playing with great intensity and on 20 minutes, Payet delivered a great cross for Diafra Sakho but new Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech was able to make an easy save.

Arsene Wenger's men were still trying to find an opening in West Ham's resilient defence and went close to finding one on 29 minutes, when Oxlade-Chamberlain set up Santiago Cazorla who shot over and just three minutes after, Aaron Ramsey's attempt took a deflection of Aaron Cresswell and, thankfully for the visitors, missed the target.

West Ham were showing they weren't just there to make up the numbers as on 36 minutes they were close to going in front, but Payet saw his effort deflect onto the post.

Tomkins was lucky he didn't receive a booking for his earlier challenge, as on 37 minutes, he was given a yellow card for a challenge on Natcho Monreal.

Adrian denied the hosts their clearest chance of the game on 43 minutes when he was out quickly to smother Olivier Giroud's effort.

After Arsenal had seen that attempt saved, the Hammers broke clear and Payet, who had been instrumental in everything that they were trying to do, sent over a cross and it was left to Cheikou Kouyate to head past Cech who came flying out of his goal in order to catch the ball.

That gave the travelling contingent something to smile about, as the two teams headed down the tunnel for the half-time break.

Although Mauro Zarate wasted a great chance for the Irons minutes after the second-half had commenced, the hosts continued to turn up the heat when Giroud hit the bar on 56 minutes and then saw his effort superbly saved by Adrian a minute later.

Once again, the hosts were made to rue that missed opportunity as West Ham went up the other end and slotted the ball into the net and it was Zarate who claimed it, much to the delight of the away end, who were celebrating for a second time.

The goal was the last contribution Zarate would make to the match, as on 63 minutes Bilic replaced him with Matt Jarvis.

On 79 minutes, Tomkins and Giroud clashed heads, meaning a lengthy stoppage in play but both were able to carry on. During the delay, the visitors made their second change, as Oxford was replaced by Kevin Nolan.

Two minutes later, the Hammers went in search of a third and Sakho raced clear only to see his effort saved.

Arsenal went close again a minute later, when Oxlade-Chamberlain fired into the side netting after Reid had blocked an effort from Theo Walcott.

With little left of normal time, Bilic took off Sakho and introduced Modibo Maiga to feature in the Premier League for the first time since January 2014.

Five minutes of stoppage time were signalled and all that Arsenal could manage was a ball into the box that Adrian claimed easily.

The final whistle blew and West Ham's first win at the home of the Gunners since April 2007 was confirmed. The question is now whether they can follow it up at home to Leicester City on Saturday.

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