When Aaron Ramsey came at 1-0 and 25 minutes to go, my mate turned around to me and said “here we go, half an hour of hanging onto the lead.” My response was that it was frustrating when we are 1-0 up and our substitutes take the pace out of the team, resulting in us being unable to hit teams on the counter.
“FFS Ramsey” I shouted i the 93rd minute, as he missed his 3rd chance of the match. But by then, the game was over, we were 5-1 up, and it was said entirely in jest.
Arsenal played brilliantly. There first half play did not give them the goals they deserved, last ditch tackles in the first 10 minutes stopping us scoring a tap in.
When Arsene Wenger signed Alexis Sanchez, a few said he would be a striker. Wenger saw him as sharing attributes with Luis Suarez. His hard work, his technical ability, his pace and his ability to finish any chance. He could be Suarez without the attitude. Many scoffed, and it has taken into his 3rd season at Arsenal to be played up top.
And Arsenal’s opener reminded me a lot of Luis Suarez. Sanchez chased down a poor pass, got to the ball 1st, and was clean through with Mesut Ozil on his shoulder. Other players would not have chased down that ball, Sanchez did. GOAL.
His hat trick was brilliant. 3 different goals, including a sublime (albeit offside) 3rd where he left the keeper on the floor without even touching the ball. He is World Class.
5-1 away from home took us into second place and closed the gap in goal difference. But as good as we were, West Ham were equally as bad.
Slaven Bilic looks a broken man. Just 6 months ago many Arsenal fans had him at the top of their list as a replacement for Wenger – I did find it odd that this was based on good punditry whilst working for the BBC, whilst the same fans moan about Wenger working for French television.
West Ham are 1 point above the relegation zone. 12 points from 14 games. And a big reason for that is the stadium.
The London Stadium (Olympic Stadium? Whatever it is now called) is awful.
However bad we all thought it might be, it was worse. A lot worse. It is simply not a football stadium.
Massive gaps throughout the stadium, a huge distance between upper and lower tier, a massive distance from the pitch, and West Ham fans unable to fill it.
I actually feel sorry for West Ham fans. At least when Arsenal moved, it was 2 roads over from the current stadium, and an arena purpose built for football. West Ham’s new ground is shit.
It is a 20 minute walk from the nearest station before a game, this turns into a 45 minute walk after a game, going backwards and forwards through the Olympic Park, through Westfields, to get to the station. And the area is grim at night.
No local pubs, no burger vans outside, no one selling flags, scarves, nothing associated with normal football grounds.
It actually makes me wonder whether next year I will be back (if they stay up). The stadium is that bad.
At the time they won the Olympic Stadium, West Ham fans thought they had won the lottery. But like with many lottery winners, there comes a darkness. And that darkness is a stadium which is not theres, not made for football, and where the stewards celebrate Arsenal goals.
And the ultimate darkness could be that they get relegated.
It was a great result, but it is an awful stadium.