HT: West Ham United 2-2 Arsenal
Arsenal’s aerial weakness was exposed in spectacular fashion late in the first half in their final ever match at Upton Park.
The Gunners had looked in total control, after Alex Iwobi provided two assists – for Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez – to open up a 2-0 lead for the away side.
West Ham looked uncomfortable playing with a back three and Arsenal punished their unfamiliarly with that new system, by slicing through the Hammers backline on countless occasions.
But Arsenal too have a weakness. They are substandard when it comes to defending crosses, especially when up against an old-fashioned no.9.
And Andy Carroll is nothing if not an old-fashioned no.9!
The former Newcastle and Liverpool giant rose highest to head the hosts back into the contest on 44 minutes.
Carroll then capitalised on plenty of hesitancy in the Gunners box to acrobatically volley home an equaliser in stoppage time.
Arsenal’s weakness at defending high balls was perhaps not the only factor responsible for the loss of their two-goal lead. The Gunners also seemed complacent, especially as the half-time whistle approached.
There has never been any questioning the ability in Arsene Wenger’s team, but – once again – their lack of mental strength looks set to cost them dearly.