West Ham United had to settle for a share of the spoils after throwing away a three-goal lead against Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
David Moyes will surely be fuming with his side’s collapse in the second half and centre to all that was struggling left-back Aaron Cresswell, who was constantly exposed throughout the 90 minutes he was on the pitch.
The Hammers romped to a 3-0 lead in a 17-minute spell, with goals coming from Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen and Thomas Soucek, but they had their backs against the wall for large spells as the Gunners dominated with 64% possession.
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Irons forward Michail Antonio had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed at 3-2, late in the second half but he saw his close-range attempt cannon off the post. He perhaps should have done better with it, though you can forgive that moment considering he provided two assists.
Strangely, the 30-year-old took pelters on social media from some supporters – one fan labelled him a “donkey” soon after missing that chance, whilst others branded his display “terrible” and “shocking.”
He was far from the problem.
Arsenal were hugely dominant on their right flank, with right-back Calum Chambers regularly getting up the pitch to contribute. The Sky Sports ‘Man of the Match’ managed to attempt a whopping eight crosses, one of which resulted in Craig Dawson’s embarrassing own goal, and this was because Cresswell could not contain him.
Similarly, Nicolas Pepe got the better of him before providing the assist for Alexandre Lacazette’s equaliser late on.
Indeed, only Dawson (6.1) was graded worse than Cresswell (6.4) as per SofaScore ratings, and it’s easy to see why.
The 31-year-old, now valued at €10m (£8.5m), was so weak in his battles, winning only one of his six duels (16%) up against the aforementioned visiting players.
When Cresswell did engage with them, his best option was to bring them down to concede two fouls, which would only go onto invite further pressure on the backline. An unnecessary thing to do when trying to hold out the lead.
It got so bad in the second half that Moyes brought on Ryan Fredericks so that there was another body to help out at the back though within three minutes of his arrival, the game was all-square and that was largely down to the clear weakness at left-back.
‘Difficult second half for the left-back with a lot of Arsenal play coming down his wing including all three Arsenal goals.’
As he mentions, all three of their goals came from his side and that only goes to show how poorly he struggled on the afternoon.
Cresswell badly let Moyes down with his display, and as bad a miss it was from Antonio, he had no fault to play in them conceding three goals when holding a 3-0 lead.