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Emirates Stadium, England

Referee: Steve Bennett | Attendance: 60109

* Local time based on your geographic location.

0 - 0


Arsenal's title bid suffers fatal blow

Arsenal's Premier League frustrations continued as a determined West Ham held out for a goalless draw at Emirates Stadium.

• Wenger acknowledges fans' frustrations

Abou Diaby saw an early header deflected onto the crossbar, and Emmanuel Adebayor missed two good chances in the second half, while even the introduction of leading scorer Robin van Persie from the bench could not conjure up a winner.

The Hammers, who continued their unbeaten run, defended well as a unit throughout and were worth a share of the points.

The Gunners, meanwhile, may have not lost in the Premier League since beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on November 30, but remain well adrift in the title race and, crucially, outside the top four.

It was a bright start by the home side, who almost snatched an early lead when Diaby's header from a corner deflected off defender James Collins and onto the crossbar.

West Ham - who became the first team to win at Emirates Stadium in April 2007 during their successful battle against relegation - continued to sit back and invite pressure.

Samir Nasri was causing all sorts of problem with his pace down the left, and Nicklas Bendtner was only inches away from connecting with his cross into the six-yard box.

The young Dane should have perhaps done better than to head wide when, in the 21st minute, he did get on the end of a deep centre from the busy French winger.

There was a hold-up when Emmanuel Eboue needed treatment after being flattened in a challenge with Scott Parker. The much-maligned Ivory Coast midfielder limped heavily on his return to action, and was eventually replaced by Mexican youngster Carlos Vela with 10 minutes to go before half-time.

Nasri moved into the middle as Arsenal looked to be more creative.

However, while it continued to be one-way traffic, West Ham held their defensive line well.

To their credit, Zola's men looked to counter attack as possible.

Collins sent a header goalwards from a corner, which was knocked away by Gael Clichy on the far post.

Arsenal again enjoyed a good spell following the restart after Hammers skipper Lucas Neill pushed over Vela on the left.

The free-kick was sent deep towards the back post, where Bendtner knocked it down and Green punched out.

Kolo Toure acrobatically hooked the ball goalwards over his shoulder, but Collins was on hand to head clear.

Arsenal were on the offensive again when some quick footwork created space for Diaby on the edge of the penalty area, only for the midfielder to then drag his low shot wide.

Denilson had two efforts blocked as Arsenal again threatened the West Ham goal.

A quick counter attack released Bacary Sagna on the overlap down the right.

His cross towards the near post was met by Adebayor, who slid in ahead of his marker, but could only guide the ball wide.

Denilson pulled the trigger again from just outside the box, and his angled shot flew over the top corner.

With 22 minutes left, Wenger turned to Van Persie - who has had a hand in every Arsenal goal this month - as the Dutchman replaced Bendtner.

It was then West Ham's turn to make an attacking change when record signing Savio Nsereko went on for Mark Noble.

Adebayor had another golden chance when picked out in the middle by Vela's cross from the left, but could only head the ball straight at Green.

Vela was booked for going down as he charged between defenders into the left side of the penalty box, which looked somewhat harsh.

With seven minutes left, West Ham introduced former Gunner Luis Boa Morte for David Di Michele.

Diaby was carried off following an awkward fall in a challenge with Savio and was replaced by Song.

The Gunners pressed for a winner, but the visitors remained resolute to the final whistle during four minutes of stoppage time.

  • Wenger acknowledges fans' frustrations

    Arsene Wenger maintained he could not fault Arsenal's spirit despite watching

    them fail to break down West Ham.

    Wenger decided to leave leading scorer Robin van Persie on the bench for more

    than an hour, but felt it was just one of those afternoons where effort was not


    ''We gave everything for 90 minutes and restricted them to nothing,'' said the

    Arsenal boss.

    ''There was a great desire and I could not fault the spirit, but we did lack

    some creativity in the final ball and some sharpness because we had played a

    difficult game on Wednesday night at Everton.''

    The Gunners may have not lost in 10 Premier League games, but they

    remain well adrift in the title race and, crucially, outside the top four behind

    Aston Villa, who also could only manage a goalless draw today.

    Some boos rang out around the stadium at the final whistle, and Wenger can

    ''understand'' the frustrations of the supporters.

    He said: ''Fans want to win the game and when you do not win, they are not

    happy, we understand that.''

    Wenger, whose side face an FA Cup replay against Cardiff on Tuesday night,

    defended his decision to leave in-form Van Persie on the bench.

    ''It was done not to get him injured,'' said Wenger.

    ''We have to be cautious with him and he had played every minute against

    Cardiff and also Everton.

    ''We have bad experiences when we pushed him to play lots of games.''

    Arsenal lost both Emmanuel Eboue and Diaby to thigh injuries, but Wenger hopes

    neither are too severe - although midfielder Diaby looks set for a couple of

    weeks on the sidelines.

    Much has been made of the protracted transfer saga of Russian international

    Andrei Arshavin from Zenit St Petersburg.

    The deal will be concluded one way or another by close of business on Monday.

    ''Nothing is happening - maybe, maybe not. It doesn't worry me either way,''

    said Wenger, who insisted the player was not on his way to London to finalise

    the deal.

    ''We are not far away and we have a bit of time now until Monday night.

    ''We will see what we can do in the next 24 hours.

    ''I don't know if I am confident or not. With the experience I have, anything

    can happen in a transfer.''

    Wenger, though, rejected suggestions Arshavin would be the answer to all of

    Arsenal's creative problems.

    ''He can unlock defences and maybe we needed him today but we have other

    players who can do that, who are not available at the moment but who could be in

    the next two months, like (Theo) Walcott and (Cesc) Fabregas.''

    The Hammers, meanwhile, continued their own unbeaten run which now stands at

    eight games in all competitions with 14 from a possible 18 points.

    ''It was good. We kept our shape and defended well but it's just a shame we

    couldn't create a bit more,'' said assistant manager Steve Clarke.

    ''The team played very well as a whole, the work ethic was fantastic and every

    defender played well.''

    Clarke insisted: ''We didn't come here just to defend, but sometimes you end up

    doing that against very good sides.''

    The Hammers have been busy in the transfer market, with new signing Savio

    Nsereko coming on this afternoon.

    Radoslav Kovac, the Czech Republic midfielder, is the latest arrival and Clarke

    hinted at the possibility of more fresh faces before the deadline.

    ''There will be no more departures before Monday but we would like one more

    body if possible, probably in midfield,'' he said.

  • Scoring Summary

    • Arsenal
    • West Ham United

    Match Stats

    • Arsenal
    • West Ham United
    22(3) Shots (on goal) 2(2)
    13 Fouls 13
    13 Corner kicks 3
    1 Offsides 4
    63% Time of Possession 37%
    2 Yellow Cards 2
    0 Red Cards 0
    2 Saves 3


    • Arsenal
    • West Ham United
    Yellow Cards
    Abou Diaby (23')
    Carlos Vela (75')