After losing our opening two games against very difficult teams, the hope was that we would see a very different Arsenal against inferior opposition. Let's not get it twisted here, West Ham United coming to the Emirates is an easier fixture than Manchester City at home or Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. At the half-time whistle, it is safe to say that Arsenal were happier to go in at 1-1.
A few observations from the first half.
Once again we are playing very high up the pitch which is both a benefit and a hindrance. We were winning the ball from West Ham in advanced areas, forcing them into mistakes, but we really should have created more chances from these turnovers but our passing seemed somewhat off. The likes of Bellerin, Ramsey and Mkhitaryan not quite getting the correct weight or angle of pass, this happened quite a few times during the first 45 minutes.
What seems quite apparent is that our full backs are tasked with playing very high up and the central midfielders are supposed to cover those areas when we have to recover.
Our defenders are still far from in sync at the moment, in particularly our offside trap seems all over the place. West Ham carved out opportunities by sliding passes through on several occasions. A couple of times I remember either Bellerin or Sokratis not stepping out.
It's quite impressive just how authoritative Guendouzi is for his age. He is very demanding of the ball, not happy when he doesn't get it. One time he gave Mustafi a good mouthful for not getting a pass even though we kept possession.
West Ham struck first after some good combination play between Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautović. We had enough players around them but they pinged it around us and Arnautović fired past Cech from outside the box.
Moments later, Nacho Monreal equalised after a Bellerin run and cross. That goal shows just how advanced our full backs are in Emery's system. We should see improvements from both players offensively this season and that, on paper at least, should suit both players. It's how we cover for them defensively will be interesting as the season progresses.
We were so open at the back after that point. Every time West Ham escaped our press they had a good run at our defence, a defence as mentioned earlier, that isn't quite in sync together at present. If we are going to play this way then surely we need a player like Torreira in the midfield. You have to assume that the new boy is settling in rather than a stylistic issue. That being said, Emery is more than comfortable in throwing in new boy Guendouzi straight into the starting line up at 19 years of age, without any top level experience so it's got to be a case of LT building up his fitness before given a starting berth.
Lacazette comes on at half time for Alex Iwobi and as he has done previously instantly makes us a more cohesive side offensively. It's difficult to know if I am being objective or not because I really like Laca the footballer but we seemed to connect much better going forward when he came onto the pitch.
Torreira came on for Guendouzi early which was interesting, especially given the scoreline, but we certainly looked a better side after the break, whether it was down to the substitutes or tactical adjustments made during the break is difficult to know exactly.
I was glad to see the back of Arnautović when he went off injured, he caused us many problems throughout and to be honest, he should have had a couple of goals to his name before limping off.
But it was Lacazette from the bench who made the difference, turning in the box and firing off West Ham player Diop into the net for 2-1. At first I thought it was Aubameyang who got the final touch but unfortunately for him it was the West Ham man.
How we used Torreira was pretty interesting I thought. He is very good at sliding balls down the sides for runners, he is quite good in and around the opposition box but really and truly, is that where we need him? Late in the game, we had a corner which he took, West Ham broke quickly on us and had a decent chance of creating a good opportunity. Lucas Torreira was out of the game as he was the one tasked with taking the corner.
That's the kind of stuff that Arsene would have been crucified for.
I was glad to see Danny Welbeck come off the bench and grab his first minutes of the season. If there is one attacker who can thrive in Emery's front footed approach, it is Danny Welbeck. Easily the hardest working forward we have at the club. He found himself in the right place at the right time to control Bellerin's cut back, turn and fire left-footed past former Gunner Lukas Fabiański.
A quick word on Hector Bellerin, he has been getting pelters from the fans for a little while now, without doubt some of his defensive work needs improving as is the case for our entire defensive system across the entire pitch, not just our back four. But Hector is being used in a different way than he or the team is used to and we are seeing a benefit of this offensively.
He has probably been our most effective attacker in terms of production this season. He made two goals yesterday, had a good chance saved against Manchester City, created a perfect chance for Aubameyang at Chelsea, And I know I've missed a few and I can't be bothered to go hunting for them.
Under Arsene, Bellerin was usually there to stretch the pitch, stay wide but not get to the byline as frequently. Like the rest of the team, he needs time but his production shouldn't be ignored.
So it finished 3-1, our first points on the board but there is still a hell of a lot to work on and we knew this would be the case. Right? right?
Still the hope is that we iron out these issues asap because throwing away important points could well cost us down the road.