For the second week running, Arsenal found themselves storming into a 2-0 lead away from home, only to eventually succumb to a 2-2 draw.
There were many similarities between the 2-2 draw against West Ham United and last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Anfield. In both, the Gunners were incredibly dominant for the opening 30 minutes, but unfortunately, allowed the opposition back into the game before half-time.
The West Ham result was particularly frustrating, but it is not all doom and gloom. Here are three positives as well as negatives from the game.
3 positives & negatives from the 2-2 draw against West Ham
Positive #1: Another quick start
While the result was far from ideal, the players did perform exceptionally well once again in the opening stages of the match. West Ham’s aggressive nature in those early stages soon wavered as they were simply unable to compete with our attacking fluidity and composure on the ball.
During that time, our football was the perfect embodiment of how Mikel Arteta wants his side to play – eye-catching exchanges, intense pressing and rotation that bewilders the opposition. Unlike the rest of the match, it was extremely obvious which of the two teams were in the midst of a Premier League title race.
If were are to achieve success this season, those lightning-quick starts must continue.
Negative #1: Another 2-0 lead goes begging
However, just as important as those quick starts, is the ability to manage the game after we obtain the lead. In our last two matches, we have been grossly unable to do so. A loss of control at Anfield is somewhat excusable, but, to allow a two-goal lead to slip against a relegation-threatened team and to lose all composure in the process is unacceptable.
Whereas Liverpool’s comeback could largely be credited to their team spirit and incredible home crowd, West Ham’s was predominantly caused by our own over-confidence and complacency.
Arteta was also keen to place the blame solely upon our wrongdoings after the match.
"“We needed that ruthless mindset in that moment to go and kill the team. When a team is there for the killing, you have to kill it. Today we haven’t done it. When you don’t do that in the Premier League, at some stage they’re going to turn around and have some momentum. Then you have to defend much better, for example with the second goal. If you don’t, you won’t win the game.”"
Starting games quickly is a huge advantage, but if we are unable to maintain the leads we carve out, then it means very little.
Continued on the next slide…