‘Tepid’ Arsenal beat West Ham 4-1 at start of Arsene Wenger’s farewell

Arsene Wenger will bring his 22-year stay in charge of Arsenal to a close at the end of the season, the Frenchman announced on April 20, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 April 2018
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‘Tepid’ Arsenal beat West Ham 4-1 at start of Arsene Wenger’s farewell

London: Arsene Wenger saw Arsenal claim a 4-1 victory over West Ham on Sunday in his first game since announcing his 22-year managerial reign will finish at the end of the season.
That Arsenal remain sixth in the Premier League is why support for Wenger has drained among the north London club’s fan base.
When Wenger stepped onto the pitch before kickoff there was no acknowledgment of the 68-year-old Frenchman from the stadium announcer. And fans only chanted about the only manager of the club many have ever known in response to taunts from West Ham supporters.
It was a tepid first half from Arsenal, showing just why the team are 30 points behind newly crowned champions Manchester City.
The hosts only came to life in the second half. But even after Nacho Monreal netted in the 51st minute, West Ham pulled level through Marko Arnautovic. The win was only secured with a flurry of goals in the last 10 minutes, with Aaron Ramsey’s strike followed by Alexandre Lacazette’s double.
Arsenal’s priority is now the Europa League, with the semifinal first-leg against Atletico Madrid on Thursday. It is the only realistic path into the Champions League and the final in Lyon can provide Wenger with the perfect send-off.
Wenger announced on Friday that he had decided to step down next month. But Arsenal’s leadership has sidestepped questions about whether the decision was because they did not want Wenger, a three-time Premier League winner with Arsenal, to complete the final year of his contract.


A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

Updated 20 March 2019
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A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

  • Can the Whites and Green Falcons find the back of the net more often?
  • Both teams need to set the tone ahead of the important World Cup qualifiers.

LONDON: Ahead of Thursday’s friendly between the UAE and Saudi Arabia Arab News looks at the main priorities for both sides as they embark on their new eras after the Asian Cup and ahead of the all-important the World Cup qualifiers.

FIND THOSE SCORING BOOTS

For the past 18 months both sides have struggled for goals. Under Alberto Zaccheroni the UAE scored just 10 goals in the past nine matches — five of those coming against lowly Kyrgyzstan and India — and likewise the Green Falcons have also struggled to find the back of the net. Heading toward the World Cup qualifiers, now is the time to find those scoring boots.

PUT ON A SHOW

Both sides have technically gifted players, can keep the ball and at times trouble opposition defenses. But both have been too defensive, too safety-first and, at times, too dull. Football is supposed to be entertainment, and the friendlies ahead of the World Cup qualifiers might be no bad time to throw caution to the wind and see what the players can do in the final third.

SET THE TONE

As the modern cliche goes, a week is a long time in football. With all the sackings and player movements, it is not hard to see the kernel of truth in that overused saying. But, conversely, time can also move very fast in the “Beautiful Game.” It may be six months before the World Cup qualifiers begin, but it will be September before the coaches and players know it. Set the tone and tactics now and triumphs will be easier to come by then and, more importantly, further into the future.