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WEST HAM manager Manuel Pellegrini is rumoured to be holding onto his job by a thread after Monday night’s comprehensive collapse in front of an increasingly exasperated home support at the London Stadium.
The fans’ growing anger was evidenced by a more than half empty stadium by the final whistle. The boos rang out from those who were left, as they had done earlier when Filipe Anderson, arguably West Ham’s most threatening attacker on the night, was substituted.
Pellegrini felt his team competed well for the first hour but then it all went wrong.
“We needed to try to score the second goal,” said Pellegrini, who seems well aware of his team’s inconsistencies. “We need to see more like the performance against Chelsea and for 60 minutes of this game.”
The manager listed a number of weaknesses, such as not concentrating in defence, conceding easy goals and lack of confidence. What a difference a couple of months makes. West Ham had been flying high in the top four of the Premier League.
Since then things have gone from bad to worse. The decision to continue with goalkeeper Roberto for so many games before bringing in the much more able David Martin is looking like a monumental error.
But there are other real problems at West Ham, which were so evident in this performance. Arsenal were very poor for the first hour, continually giving the ball away and failing to mount any serious attack.
West Ham came alive just before half time, Angelo Ogbonna coming through a group of players to head home a Robert Snodgrass cross. There were then efforts from Snodgrass and Declan Rice which failed to find the net.
Everything, though, changed on the hour, when Arsenal broke down the left. A cross found Gabriel Martinelli who, alone on the edge of the six-yard box, slotted home.
Five minutes later the ball was worked across the area, before Nicolas Pepe drove home.
Then Pepe turned provider, sending over a cross that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finished with ease — a complete capitulation in less than 10 minutes, having been in almost total charge for the preceding hour.
Interim Arsenal manager Freddie Ljungberg was happy with the win, though not the lethargy shown by his team in the first half.
Ljungberg felt his players felt the pressure that had built up over recent weeks.
“In the last 30 minutes the pressure lifted and we played,” said Ljungberg.
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