David Moyes admitted West Ham discussed piling the pressure on Arsenal ahead of completing a fine comeback at the London Stadium.
The Scot’s side earned a vital point in their battle against the drop after being 2-0 down inside ten minutes, with the initiative handed to Arsenal by early goals from Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard.
Said Benrahma’s penalty to reduce the arrears was followed up a fifth Premier League goal of the season for Jarrod Bowen, and West Ham could have actually claimed all three points had Michail Antonio’s header not hit the top of the crossbar late on.
Arsenal wilted under the pressure after an extremely impressive opening 25 minutes, and were second best for the remainder of the game as West Ham outduelled and outfought Mikel Arteta’s side.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Moyes was asked if West Ham‘s coaching staff had a specific message for the players at half-time, and he revealed that keeping Arsenal under the cosh was paramount to getting something out of the game.
“We were a bit disappointed with how we conceded the goals, but we were more interested in that we’d got back in the game, how could we keep the pressure on them,” Moyes said.
“It’s difficult because they are such a good footballing team, that’s why they are where they’re at, everyone admires them. Mikel’s (Arteta) done a brilliant job with the team he’s got so for us to keep at it and obviously, moments in football, sometimes the fine line in football is so small.
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“They get a penalty kick and you’re saying here if they go 3-1 here it’s going to be very difficult for us because they’ll keep the ball, they’re so good at it, they make it hard. I think in the end, today, we got that little bit of good fortune with the missed penalty and we went on to grow and we went up the pitch and scored.
“To be fair, I think there was periods after that where I quite fancied us to get a third one maybe as we were going on.”
Michail Antonio gave Arsenal’s backline a torrid afternoon, in a throwback to the performances he put in 2021/22, and appeared to have particular success against Rob Holding, who continued to fill in for the injured William Saliba in central defence.
Probed on whether West Ham tried to isolate and target any of Arsenal’s defenders, Moyes continued: “I don’t think we necessarily targeted any of them, but I thought we had to try and play behind Arsenal and try and put Arsenal on the back foot. We had to try and put Arsenal in a situation where it was a bit more uncomfortable for them.
“We probably got the ball behind the opposition more than we have done all season and as was pointed out, maybe we’ve been doing that in the past and we’ve not been doing it as much. It’s something which today, we played the game in the way which would give us a chance of winning or at least getting something from the game and we got something.”
West Ham travel to Bournemouth next weekend in another vital game, while Arsenal’s next game is on Friday night against Southampton.
On this edition of 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings, part of the 90min podcast network, Sean Walsh and Jack Gallagher discuss the top 10 teams from across the continent after a busy week of Champions League and domestic football.
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