Monday 20 January 2020

5 things we learned from the 3-3 draw between West Ham and Arsenal

Andy Carroll proved too hot for Arsenal to handle
Andy Carroll proved too hot for Arsenal to handle

West Ham and Arsenal shared the points in Saturday's early kick-off in the Barclays Premier League with a 3-3 draw at Upton Park.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five things we learned from the game:

1 Andy Carroll sparks England talk

England manager Roy Hodgson has no shortage of options up front to take to Euro 2016, but Carroll's performance on Saturday will undoubtedly lead to calls for him to make the final cut. Arsenal boast one of the meanest defences in the Premier League, but Carroll gave them a torrid time as he scored just the second hat-trick of his professional career. The powerful hitman offers something different to the other strikers competing for an England berth and if he can build on this showing in the coming weeks, Hodgson may have a big decision to make. The main question, though, could be whether Carroll can stay fit enough to push his claims.

2. Arsenal's title hopes look all but over

The Gunners faced a huge task to overhaul leaders Leicester even before the game, starting the weekend 11 points behind the Foxes with only seven games left, but this draw could be the final nail in their coffin. It is not just dropping two valuable points, but also the loss of momentum gained by the back-to-back wins over Everton and Watford. Arsenal look to have a favourable run-in, but they have not managed to string three league wins together since December and that could cost them.

3. West Ham can consider themselves unfortunate

West Ham are in the thick of the fight for the final Champions League place and a victory here would have seen them provisionally move above both Manchester clubs into fourth place. The Hammers fans may feel that is exactly where they should be after seeing their side have two goals disallowed against Arsenal. The first one saw Manuel Lanzini's early header ruled out for a borderline offside before Dimitri Payet saw a later strike also chalked out, with Carroll deemed to have fouled Laurent Koscielny. Critics may feel both decisions were harsh on West Ham, and the potential loss of two points could really hurt the Hammers.

4. Battling Hammers can still take pride in performance

West Ham can still take plenty of positives from a match in which they battled back from 2-0 down to claim a point. It would have been easy for Slaven Bilic's side to fear it was not going to be their day with strikes from Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez following from Lanzini's disallowed goal, but the Hammers are made of stern stuff these days. Carroll will take most of the plaudits with his eight-minute hat-trick, but this was a determined all-round performance from West Ham against a prospective title challenger that bodes well for the future.

5. No chance for David Ospina

Petr Cech was expected to start at Upton Park after a calf problem, but Arsene Wenger kept faith with Ospina in goal. It is a matter for debate whether the veteran Czech's experience and standing could have improved the way the Gunners defence performed in general, but one thing for certain is that he is unlikely to have done any better with the three goals Ospina conceded. The first one was a clinical header that flew past the Colombia international the second was a acrobatic left-foot volley and the third another header that was deflected past him off team-mate Gabriel.

PA Media

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