West Ham United v Arsenal

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Press conference

Wenger on Wilshere, Alexis, the back four

It was his first Arsenal start in 577 days, so what did Arsene Wenger make of Jack Wilshere’s performance at West Ham?

The Arsenal manager was pleased with how the England midfielder performed, and also discussed his switch to a back four and Alexis’ form.

on the back four…
It was alright. I don’t think we had any problems at all. We made one mistake and nearly paid for it. For the rest, they were impeccable.

on Wilshere’s form…
Jack did very well overall for a first game, especially in the first half. He could add some sharpness but he defended well as well. For a first game, it’s satisfying.

on whether Alexis has had a dip…
It’s difficult to say that but he tried tonight, he did fight. It was difficult because they defended very well too.

on whether Alexis puts too much pressure on himself…
He is [very ambitious] but in situations like that, you do not want to focus on one player. You focus more on the collective attitude of the team to keep them focused on the quality of our game. We created chances and that will come back.

Interview

How the boss rated Ainsley at left back

Ainsley Maitland-Niles made his full Premier League debut against West Ham United on Wednesday night, but it came in a largely unfamiliar position.

The Under-20 World Cup winner is naturally a central midfielder but after proving his versatility at wing-back in our Europa League and Carabao Cup campaigns, was handed his first league start on the left of our back four at London Stadium.
 
Maitland-Niles produced a solid display in defence and completed more crosses than anyone else on Wednesday, and Arsène Wenger was encouraged by the 20-year-old’s performance.
 
“I felt that he played well,” the manager told Arsenal Player. “He played a little bit with the handbrake on in the first half but he defended well and gave good balls, showed calmness. In the second half he was even more adventurous and for me it is a positive performance.
 
“Playing in different positions to your preferred position is part of your job and it can only make you better.
 
The most important thing when you take that step is to convince people you can play at that level. If you do that for a while, then maybe you’ll get into your best position.”

Press conference

‘There’s a difference in what we create and score’

Twenty two shots on goal, and no reward once again.

It was a frustrating night for us at the London Stadium on Wednesday as we were held to a goalless draw against West Ham.

Afterwards, Arsene Wenger faced the media and this is what he said:

on the performance…
There are some draws that are frustrating, this is one of them because we had a lot of the ball and we played against 10 men. It was 10 against 10 in the final third and we couldn’t find an opening, a little bit through the fact that they defended very well. They are in a highly defensive phase, focused on that at the moment and it works for them, but they did that against City, Chelsea and here. We lacked maybe a little bit of sharpness in the final third we had many different good opportunities where they blocked our shots. I think that’s where you see maybe if we played on Sunday and they played on Saturday it would have been different on that front because they had more physical resources to defend with a lot of decisiveness.

on the winless run…
At the moment I don’t deny that, but it is a moment where our performances are not reflected by our results because against Manchester United we had 33 shots on goal but did not win the game and at Southampton we had a lot of possession and it was a similar game to tonight basically. It’s true, it’s a bit frustrating, we had to keep confidence in our game and we go through a patch where there’s a difference between what we create and what we score, but that will not last.

on whether it’s psychological…
I felt that the 33 shots on goal against Manchester United and the chances we missed had a little impact there, but we need to continue focusing on the quality of our game and not to focus too much on the fact that we are not ruthless at the moment. That will come back by not making too big a problem of it. There are periods like that where adjusted finishing is not right.

on being 19 points behind Manchester City…
I don’t want to talk about that. It’s good to make headlines, but we need to focus on our next game. City is too far away to talk about the title at the moment. There’s one thing that we are far away but it’s another thing to just give up. You don’t give up. Our job is to fight as long as we can and give our best. It’s not to focus too much on anything else.

on whether he’s surprised some managers have conceded that City will win PL already…
I don’t listen to all that stuff too much. You want to fight, our job is to fight and to continue to give everything and then see where you finish. You know very well what’s going on with City. We faced that problem with City like everyone else in the league.

on whether seventh is a fair reflection of where we are as a team…
The table is the table but it’s not a definite one today. We’ve just played two away games in difficult places. Let’s see after Christmas and January. It’s a long way to go until then.

Interview

‘We should have won… but could also have lost it’

It was a night of mixed emotions for Ainsley Maitland-Niles as he made his Premier League debut in our goalless draw at West Ham.

The England Under-21 international was thrilled to make his full debut, but frustrated not to have won the game.

This is what he said to the press afterwards:

on West Ham going close at the end…
We had a lot of possession and we should have put the game to bed early doors. It’s a lack of concentration when getting forward which nearly lost us the game.

on not winning since before United game…
It’s not a concern. The manager and the boys have a plan, so we’re just trying to get back to winning ways.

on lacking the final touch today…
We’ve had a lot of possession, it’s just that final ball. It seems like it will return, so I’m sure we’ll start scoring goals again.

on his first Premier League start…
It was the best feeling I’ve felt so far to be honest. It’s great to be out there with the lads behind me, and they keep urging me forward to try to get goals. That’s fantastic.

on the disappointment of dropping points…
Very disappointed, but words can’t describe how I feel right now. We should have won the game. We could have lost it at the last second, so there’s loads of emotions right now.

on how he felt when West Ham nearly won the game…
You think to yourself, ‘Oh no, all this hard work and we’ve given them a chance’. It was a poor bit of play from us really.

on what the team make of their form…
I guess every team has their bad days. At the moment it’s not really too bad for us, we just can’t find the end product at the other end of the field. That’ll come.

on starting a Premier League game compared to his other appearances…
I think it’s the best one of the lot. It’s the Premier League and English football. I’m an English lad and it’s great to play.

on getting a lot of the ball…
I was trying to get forward as much as possible and help the team to get a goal.

on how it has been adapting to the team and what people said to him pre-game…
Everyone just tells to do what I do in every game and training session. They say to get my head up and be myself and express myself and that’s what I tried to do today.

on playing at the Emirates at the weekend…
We’ve got our home crowd behind us and I think that could be what we’re missing in terms of getting that finishing touch on a goal.

Video

Match Video: West Ham United 0-0 Arsenal

We were held to a goalless draw at the London Stadium against West Ham, where neither side was able to break the deadlock.

Alexi Iwobi struck the post in the first half, while Javier Hernandez did the same for the hosts as we neared full-time.

Click on the video above to watch our bitesize highlights.

Post-Match Report

West Ham United 0-0 Arsenal: How it happened

WHAT HAPPENED

We were held to a frustrating goalless draw at West Ham United on Wednesday, with Alex Iwobi’s shot that cannoned off the post the closest we came to making a breakthrough.

The game took some time to come to life as the hosts put men behind the ball and tried to catch us the break, but neither defence were giving anything away.

West Ham thought they had the lead on the quarter-hour mark when the dangerous Marko Arnautovic headed beyond Petr Cech – but the flag saved us after the Austrian had edged into an offside position.

We remained on the front foot, but found clear-cut chances hard to come by – until the 22nd minute when lovely interplay between Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud teed up Alexis, but his shot was deflected inches over the bar.

Iwobi had the only other chance of note in the first half when Alexis slipped the ball to the Nigeria international in the area, but his shot cannoned off the post and flew wide.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles made his first Premier League start and completed a full 90 minutes at the London Stadium

The second half nearly got off to a disastrous start for us as Mark Noble chested the ball through to Arnautovic in the area, but the West Ham man hooked his shot up and over the bar.

We responded well, and back we came with Giroud seeing a glancing header deflected just wide, before Ozil dragged a snapshot past the post as we upped the ante.

But David Moyes has revitalised this Hammers side in recent weeks and they posed a real danger themselves, with Nacho Monreal having to clear off the line from Arnautovic.

With 20 minutes remaining we had a big chance to break the deadlock as Giroud found Wilshere well placed in the area, but the midfielder flashed his shot over the bar.

Alexis tested Adrian with a well-struck free kick moments later, and while we continued to knock on the door there was no way through and we had to settle for a point from this London derby.

HOW IT HAPPENED

See how the match unfolded and check out some of the key match stats with our play-by-play commentary

WHAT IT MEANS

Following that result, we have fallen to seventh in the league table and sit on 30 points, one behind Burnley, Liverpool and Tottenham, who lie in sixth, fifth and fourth respectively.

WHAT’S NEXT

We’re back in Premier League action on Saturday when we host Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium.

WILSHERE WATCH

Jack Wilshere made his first Premier League start for us in 577 days against West Ham on Wednesday night.

Here are some of his key moments:

22 - Wilshere combines beautifully with Giroud on the edge of the area, and tees up Alexis whose shot is deflected just over

40 – Wilshere spins away beautifully from Lanzini but is hauled down by the Argentine, who is shown a yellow card

58 – Jack starts a move from deep as he pirouettes away from Noble and finds Ozil, before receiving the ball in front of the Hammers’ area but his pass just evades Iwobi

70 – Big chance for Wilshere as Giroud knocks a header down to him at the back post, but after taking a touch he flashes a right-footed shot over the bar