Pepe 8/10, Martinelli 7/10 as Arsenal rally for first win under Ljungberg
Things weren't looking great for Arsenal at half-time in tonight's Premier League encounter, but three goals in nine second-half minutes turned things around for the men in yellow in a 3-1 win over West Ham. Angelo Ogbonna's first-half header put the Hammers ahead, but Gabriel Martinelli equalised just after the hour mark with a clinical finish from Sead Kolasinac's low ball into the box.
The biggest positive Arsenal can take from this game is the resilience they showed to fight back, as well as the ruthlessness they displayed to capitalise on the equaliser and go on to win. There is also the fact that they were able to maintain possession for periods of the game. They will be looking to build on their performance in the last half-hour moving forward.
Arsenal looked poor before Martinelli's goal. A lot of their passing was pedestrian during that period, allowing West Ham to sit in and soak up the pressure. Perhaps as a consequence of that, they gave the ball away in dangerous positions far too often. Their defending from set pieces was also pretty shaky at points.
Manager rating (out of 10)
7 -- Ljungberg wasn't helped by Hector Bellerin's hamstring injury before the game started and Kieran Tierney's being forced off with a shoulder injury after half an hour. Things were looking pretty bleak for the interim manager when his side was 1-0 down, but there will be plenty of encouragement taken from the turnaround.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
DF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 6 -- He was a late addition to the starting lineup, coming in for the injured Bellerin. He ended up having an intriguing duel with Pablo Fornals and was unlucky when the ball rebounded off him and into the net for Ogbonna's goal.
DF Calum Chambers, 6 -- Often looked solid, but there were a few moments when he looked a bit nervy. The Englishman looked comfortable on the ball and stepped out with it at points. Put his body on the line to prevent Sebastien Haller from getting a chance late in the game.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 5 -- Rarely looked in full control, whether on the ball or dealing with West Ham's attackers. He was one of very few players in yellow who looked dominant when defending set pieces.
DF Kieran Tierney, 4 -- Had an uncomfortable start to the game, giving the ball away and not looking in full control defensively. He was taken off after less than half an hour due to a shoulder injury.
MF Lucas Torreira, 6 -- Made a ludicrous decision to try a flick after West Ham's opener and was lucky West Ham didn't go on to score. Aside from that, he drew fouls well, screened the defence well and looked fairly comfortable throughout.
MF Granit Xhaka, 4 -- Usually slowed the play down a lot, which made things easier for West Ham defensively. His defending for Ogbonna's goal was criminal and showed a lack of desire. He also made a lazy pass in the second half that could have easily led to another goal if the Hammers were more ruthless. The former captain was eventually forced off with a head injury.
MF Mesut Ozil, 6 -- Found space well in the early stages but seemed to fade out of the first half as it went on. He began making a more regular impact when Arsenal regained control after Martinelli's goal.
FW Nicolas Pepe, 8 -- The Ivorian was always trying to make things happen, though not always in the best areas. He was the man showing the most sustained threat throughout the game, and he took his goal very well. He should take a lot of confidence from this performance.
FW Gabriel Martinelli, 7 -- The Brazilian showed his clinical touch to equalise for the Gunners after largely being a figure on the periphery before that. He also put in a good shift and worked hard defensively.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 7 -- Aubameyang was anonymous for large periods of the game but produced a clinical finish to get Arsenal's third and make things more comfortable going into the latter stages.
DF Sead Kolasinac, 6 -- Replaced Tierney in the 29th minute and assisted Martinelli's goal well, though he should have been more aware of Fornals for West Ham's opener.
MF Matteo Guendouzi, N/R -- Replaced Xhaka in the 86th minute and got plenty of touches on the ball.
FW Reiss Nelson, N/R -- Replaced Pepe in the 88th minute and provided some neat pieces of play