When Manuel Pellegrini spoke to the press pre-game, he spoke of not knowing his starting line-up, but when the team sheet came out many believed the balance was right.
Going ahead through Marko Arnautovic, perfect and calmly taken goal, the Hammers looked better than recent weeks.
Arsenal equalised through Nacho Monreal, a cruel Issa Diop own-goal, then with the Hammers pressing late on to get back on level terms, Danny Welbeck netted the winner, to seal the Chilean boss’ third loss in succession but he remains positive when interviewed by West Ham’s official website after the defeat.
“Arsenal won 3-1, but if you analyse the game we had many opportunities to score a goal before,” Pellegrini said.
“We were very unlucky with the own-goal that put Arsenal on top, and the last goal was in the last minute when we are trying to get back in the game.”
The Hammers moving in the right direction
The East London side started well, looking sharp and showed good energy when attacking and solid in defence, which has become a big talking point.
Players such as Felipe Anderson, Robert Snodgrass, Arthur Masuaku working well with Michail Antonio improved ten-fold. Pellegrini, was delighted and pleased with his side performance.
“I’m very happy about how we played. The team, in the current way, created a lot of chances” stated the Chilean.
“We played well, with good pace and good movement. I’m sure a victory will come.”
Despite conceding an own-goal, Diop looked solid in defence along Fabian Balbuena and Ryan Fredericks on the right, performing well together against Unai Emery gunners’ attacking side.
The Irons boss continued: “I’m happy with the team. I think the team played well and I think we were a team that defended well. Okay, Arsenal scored three goals at the end, but they didn’t create many chances, so I’m happy that we’ve improved as a team and we’re improving every week.”
A vote of confidence from the Hammers boss who sees and takes the positivity from his sides third defeat, praising the whole team, the way they performed and showed determination across the park.
Many West Ham fans, will feel encouraged and excited how their team have improved dramatically, working hard at Rush Green through the weeks.
Pellegrini concluded by simply adding: “I think, from the game today, fans will see we are on our way.”
Arnautovic’s long-term setback?
The Austrian goal-scoring ace, who got his second this season, was always looking dangerous and exciting when on the ball, although he was substituted after picking up a knock on his knee, before being replaced by Javier Hernandez.
Pellegrini commented on his setback, stating: “We will see during the week what happened with Marko. He felt a pain in his muscle.”
Before talking about his other injury concern, adding: “Antonio also has a problem with his ankle, but I hope that they will recover.”
The Irons next travel to League One side AFC Wimbledon in the second round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
Many fans will be hoping that Arnautovic and Antonio will be rested for the more important home fixture against a strong Wolverhampton Wanderers side who held the Chileans old side, Manchester City, to a 1-1 draw on Saturday lunchtime.