The West Ham v Arsenal game had a lot of importance attached to it regarding Arsenal’s late title challenge as well as West Ham’s ecstatic race for Champions League football.
The 90 minutes looked to be a long one for both sets of supporters as the fixture duly delivered the thrill and entertainment which was expected from it.
There were a lot of nail-biting moments throughout the course of the game, and it was just one of those classic encounters where if you blinked you could have missed a goal or two.
Although, the fact that the game ended in a draw seems to overshadow the intrigue surrounding the fixture and I think it’s fair to say that the result is a far cry from being a fair representation of the events that took place in the tie. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the five top talking points in what could prove to be the game of the season:
Lanzini’s Offside Goal
West Ham started out the game on the front foot as they got the ball into Arsenal’s half of the pitch with increased urgency intending to peg the Gunners with their fast-paced attacking football.
In early stages of the fixture, Manuel Lanzini found himself with acres of space to put one past David Ospina. Although for some reason, the linesman deemed Lanzini’s goal offside even though it wasn’t, as Hector Bellerin played him onside.
From the referee’s point of view, it might have been a tight call, but it was a wrong decision which adversely influenced the game and might have just hindered West Ham’s Champions League ambitions.
Payet’s World Class Display
Dimitri Payet put in a performance of the highest quality as he continued his excellent Streak of putting a smile on the faces of the West Ham fans.
His dribbling and dexterity left the Arsenal defenders absolutely bamboozled, and there was also an incident where Payet pulled off a cheeky Nutmeg on Mohammed El Neney which left both sets of supporters in awe of his ability.
With the way things have turned out for Payet this season, he might just be in the running for the Player of the season award, and this fixture has definitely left Premier League fans across the globe pondering about Payet’s inclusion in the exclusive list of World Class Players.
Payet’s Goal Ruled Out
Dimitri Payet had a goal ruled out, which most definitely influenced the outcome of the fixture.
Most would argue that West Ham deserved nothing but a win in this tie due to the amount of hard work put in by the West Ham players amongst other things.
In the build-up to the Payet goal which was ruled out, Andy Carroll found himself In a bit of a tussle with an Arsenal defender before Payet capitalized on the loose ball and slotted it past Ospina.
The referee’s decision could be backed up by the fact that the events in the build-up to the goal had some shreds of malicious intent.
Andy Carroll’s Hat-trick
Andy Carroll took his domestic season tally up to seven goals with an emphatic display at Upton Park, which saw him score an unexpected Hat-trick.
Carroll had a quiet start to the game, but he was instrumental in overturning West Ham’s two-goal deficit towards the end of the first half of exchanges with a quick-fire return of two goals before the halftime whistle.
His Hat-trick not only kept West Ham in the game, but it also helped them to secure a point, although it’s quite obvious that the Hammers deserved far more than one point. The referee made some big calls in the game which could have a significant say in who claims the fourth Champions League ticket at the end of the season.
Dent in West Ham’s Champions League Hopes
When Billic arrived at West Ham, his primary objective was to keep the team in the Premier League ahead of the move to the Olympic Stadium. However, considering West Ham’s current League position at this stage of the season, it is fair to say that they have every chance of playing European football next season.
By the looks of things, their preferred continental competition would be the UEFA Champions League, but after the draw against Arsenal, they have to hope that both Manchester United and City make some dire mistakes to allow Billic and Company claim the fourth UCL spot at the end of the season.