Yesterday’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal made it three losses on the bounce, but there were plenty of positives to take with many signs of improvement.

Manuel Pellegrini opted for his favourite 4-2-3-1 formation, making plenty of changes from the defeat to Bournemouth last weekend.

Ryan Fredericks and Issa Diop came into the back four, while Carlos Sanchez replaced the injured Mark Noble in midfield.

Robert Snodgrass and Michail Antonio played either side of Felipe Anderson, with Marko Arnautovic the lone striker.

We started the early stages of the match very brightly. Whenever we overturned possession, we were slick in our counter attack and exploited their defensive fragilities excellently.

Most of our success came through Anderson, playing in an advanced central midfield role. He would often pick up the ball and drive at the Arsenal defence, and they didn’t have an answer.

The inevitable goal came after 25 minutes. Some excellent work from Anderson once more driving at the heart of the Arsenal defence and found none other than Arnautovic, who slotted the ball past Petr Cech.

We were playing some brilliant football at this point and were deserved of our lead.

However, we tend to switch off when we take the lead, and that’s exactly what happened. Five minutes later, they were level through Nacho Monreal.

The next five minutes were a little shaky, but then we went back to playing how we did prior to our first goal, and again we looked very dangerous and were creating chance after chance on the counter.

Snodgrass had an excellent opportunity to put us 2-1 ahead just before the break, but he failed to find the net one on one with Cech.

The second half changed as soon as Arnautovic went off injured. Our game plan was structured around him and, being captain, we looked very lost without him.

Arsenal then took the lead moments later through an unfortunate own goal from Diop.

Our heads seemed to drop for the next fifteen minutes, but Anderson kept trying to create and never stopped up until the final whistle.

Lucas Perez came whiskers away from equalising against his former club, but his cross-shot effort failed to connect with anyone or the target.

Arsenal sealed their victory in stoppage time when Danny Welbeck was allowed to turn in the box and fire home their third goal of the afternoon. 3-1 it finished.

The score line was not a true reflection of the game, in my opinion. We continuously created chances throughout the match and it was a much-improved performance overall.

Felipe Anderson was the best player on the pitch. He looked like the £40m player we paid for, and if that performance is an indication of things to come then we have an excellent player on our hands.

Pellegrini’s influence was apparent yesterday, and I reiterate that we must remain patient and the results will follow.

We should go into our next league match against Wolves full of confidence and it will be interesting to see how we line-up against Wimbledon in the midweek cup fixture.

To summarise, a promising performance but disappointing result.

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By Gonzo

West Ham fan for as long as I can remember. I was flukey enough to watch The Irons beat Bury 10-0 in my first ever game . . . True to form, West Ham then went out and signed their central defender 😬

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