Date: 31st January 2009 at 6:21pm
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A stubborn defensive performance from West Ham saw Arsenal frustrated at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon as the impressive form of James Collins and Matthew Upson kept the Gunners at bay.

The draw sees West Ham stretch their unbeaten to eight games in all competitions, which dates back to losing to Aston Villa at home towards the end of December last year.

Despite the home side’s domination throughout the match, they were largely wasteful in attack although star performer Collins was forced to head the ball onto the frame of Robert Green’s goal early on from a tricky corner into the Hammers’ penalty area.

West Ham were on the back foot through the entirety of the match but in truth the game lacked chances as neither Green nor Manuel Almunia were seriously tested in a lacklustre first half.

In a surprising change of fortune for Arsenal, Emmanuel Eboue was impressive for the Gunners but was forced to come off for Carlos Vela midway through the first half because of a heavy challenge from Scott Parker, meaning Arsenal’s main threat in the Ivory Coast international had to limp off prematurely.

James Collins was involved in the Hammers’ most threatening attacking move of the first half as a header was glanced just wide by the defender.

After the break, Arsene Wenger’s side were still very much in front in the match. Collins was again involved in goal mouth action, this time clearing an Arsenal chance as Kolo Toure reacted well to spin and shoot, though West Ham’s Welsh international defender was there to head off the line.

Matthew Upson soon after had to block goal bound efforts from Denilson, and Emmanuel Adebayor missed from short range, firing the ball wide of Green’s post as Arsenal were becoming more and more frantic looking for a winning goal.

The Togo international Adebayor then headed a chance straight into the thankful arms of Robert Green. For the rest of the match West Ham would be stuck largely in their own half to resist any pressure from Arsenal who now sit five points outside of the Premier League’s Champions League places after West Ham held on for a satisfactory draw in north London.
West Ham team:
Hammers assistant manager Steve Clarke:
‘It’s always difficult when you come here against a team who pass so well, you have to be disciplined and do the right things.

‘Maybe I’m disappointed we didn’t do more with the ball, but today was more a defensive performance.

‘We came here with the intention of playing as we have been playing recently and didn’t concede too many clear-cut chances which was pleasing.

‘If you want success at a club, you have to start with basics. They’re working hard for the manager and themselves, and you can see the result of that on the pitch.’

Quotes courtesy of BBC Sport

Arsenal team:
Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Eboue (Vela 36), Diaby (Song Billong 90), Denilson, Nasri, Adebayor, Bendtner (Van Persie 68).

Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Ramsey, Djourou, Gibbs.

West Ham team:
Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble (Nsereko 70), Collison, Cole, Di Michele (Boa Morte 83).

Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Spector, Tristan, Sears.