3 positives & negatives from Arsenal's 2-0 defeat to West Ham

  • Leandro Trossard struggled to replace Kai Havertz, Arsenal failed to keep a clean sheet again and Oleksandr Zinchenko was erratic, but David Raya earned some plaudits

Arsenal FC v West Ham United - Premier League
Arsenal FC v West Ham United - Premier League / Marc Atkins/GettyImages
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Negative #2: Leandro Trossard struggled mightily

Leandro Trossard
Trossard had a difficult night in midfield / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Replacing the suspended Havertz in that roving link role from the inside left of midfield proved a bridge too far for Trossard. Instead, the former Brighton winger consistently looked out of his depth.

Trossard's distribution was erratic, while his timing and technique were both scattershot. Playing centrally didn't appear to suit him, despite the 29-year-old showing promise in the middle earlier this season.

Things were different this time, and it was no surprise Trossard became a focal point for some of the boo boys among the home support.

The naysayers might have been placated a little when Arteta finally hooked Trossard for Emile Smith Rowe in the 79th minute.


Positive #2: Emile Smith Rowe's cameo

The first thing Smith Rowe did was throw himself at an Odegaard cross. While ESR failed to connect with his attempted header, the brief moment provided a snapshot Arteta should remember.

Specifically, this near link up showed what's possible when Odegaard is joined on the pitch by a creative midfielder on his wavelength. Smith Rowe has the same nifty, quick feet, the same deft turns and the same intelligent instincts for using space.

The similarities between the two beg the question, why doesn't Arteta pair Smith Rowe and Odegaard together more often? It's probably a structural issue, with Arsenal's popular, academy-reared No. 10 not offering the defensive security Arteta wants to balance his midfield.

That's a legitimate concern, but Arsenal may get greater rewards with more risk. Meaning the Gunners' attacking play can bear greater fruit with more creative players involved.

Continued on the next slide...