About an hour into this non-event of a game, a look around at the crowd told the whole story. People sat with chin on hand, rubbing eyes, scratching heads - one Gentleman looked to be asleep - and barely anyone said a word. If it was a summation of Avram Grant's tenancy of the Upton Park hot-seat then it said much; if it was a ploy to lull Arsenal into a false sense of comfort then - like Grant's other tactics - it failed lamentably.
This then was abysmal. No fight, no clue. no interest. This club is either in such a state that we can't even manage to string together a team capable of just chasing Arsenal and annoying them or, as I suspect, this was one match too many for a Manager who looks beaten before the game starts.
Wayne Bridge made his debut for the club and, as you might expect, looked all-at-sea as a slick Arsenal side passed their way around where he and the Hammer's defence weren't, enabling Van Persie to slot home from well inside the box after only 13 minutes. Thirty minutes later it was 2-0 as van Persie found acres of space to cross for Walcott to leave Bridge and volley into the roof of the net.
It was over as a contest and the rest of the game was just mind-numbing tedium as Arsenal flicked the ball back and forth and West Ham watched them. Sir Trevor Brooking was sittiing in the stand and must have squirmed as he remembered how, as a Second Division club, West Ham had once embarrassed the Gunners at Wembley by attempting to play them at their own game. Now? Ah. let 'em have the ball - they weave nicer patterns with it than we do!
Bridge again clattered Walcott as he sprinted past him - it reminded me of the type of tackle a small boy might make on the sand at the seaside as his competitive father shows him how the game is played - and van Persie scored from the resulting penalty after 76 minutes.
And that was about it! Grant threw his 'lucky scarf' into the crowd - hopefully whoever collected it can make more use of it - and that was it. I hate to see a Manager sacked but if this was Avram's last throw of the dice then I'm afraid the dice ended up under the sideboard and the cat ate 'em. Absolutely woeful!
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