Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has demanded a swift, sharp response from his side in their next two Premier League matches.
It was a familiar story for Arsenal, whose age-old inadequacies were on display as they failed to turn territorial dominance into goals, then found themselves outmuscled by more physical opponents who punished their defensive flaws.
Humiliated by Mark Hughes’s side in their last Premier League outing, Liverpool’s return to Stoke was a much calmer affair.
Again, a wrong-footed Cech was then beaten by a long-range Mauro Zarate strike at his near post 12 minutes into the second half and Arsenal were unable to summon a response, as they suffered a first defeat to West Ham in eight years.
Arsenal, who won the FA Community Shield at Wembley last weekend with victory over Chelsea, made a bright start with the lively Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain volleying the ball over the crossbar from 20 yards.
Bilic faced criticism after fielding under-strength sides in the UEFA Europa League after West Ham’s exit to Astra, but the former Besiktas boss was thrilled to hit the ground running in domestic action.
When it was put to him that Cech had been signed to stop this sort of mistake, Wenger said: “It’s not only him“.
He said: “He’s definitely going to be a big player“.
Reece Oxford was also widely praised for his consumate performance making a league debut at only 16 and dominating in the centre of midfield.
“I think our performance was not convincing”, Wenger told reporters.
“We have enough experience at the back“.
Premier League life is lovely for some players – even established stars like Cech – because there’s always another game.
But the Czech worldwide believes the lack of incision up front and the absence of control in the first half of the game were the two main ingredients missed by the Gunners.
“We have to manage him off the pitch as well to make sure he can progress”.
“We are a little bit short in that position”. “It’s very important. We want to have a better start than last season so we need to be very cautious of the situation”.
Against Slaven Bilic’s well-organised West Ham, however, Arsenal struggled to impose themselves and Wenger was frustrated with the way his team went about their business.