Arsenal optimism checked as West Ham claim shock win
West Ham United capitalised on two mistakes from Arsenal's new goalkeeper to claim a surprise 2-0 victory.
LONDON - West Ham United capitalised on two mistakes from Arsenal's new goalkeeper Petr Cech to claim a surprise 2-0 victory at the Emirates and leave the Gunners deflated on Sunday.
Arsenal, full of opening-weekend optimism, knew the importance of a good start to the Premier League season after five draws and a defeat in the first eight games of the last campaign left too far behind eventual champions Chelsea.
Last week's defeat of Chelsea in the season-opening Community Shield fuelled hopes that Arsene Wenger's side could improve on the third place they achieved last season but goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate earned West Ham victory in Slaven Bilic's first league game in charge.
Arsenal, for whom new keeper Petr Cech was culpable for both goals, were booed off at the final whistle.
In the other early kickoff Steve McClaren's reign in charge of Newcastle United began with a 2-2 home draw against Southampton. Later, Liverpool have an immediate opportunity to avenge a 6-1 loss to Stoke City on the final day of last season with a return to the Britannia Stadium.
Former Chelsea keeper Cech was signed during the close season to shore Arsenal up defensively but the experienced Czech had a day to forget in the north London sunshine.
Just before halftime he came flying out to punch Dimitri Payet's free kick but was beaten to the ball by the head of Kouyate. Twelve minutes after the restart he was beaten at his near post by Zarate's low strike.
West Ham, who gave a Premier League debut to 16-year-old Reece Oxford, were deserved winners.
"We are all very pleased and it is great start for us. Not only for the three points but points against a team that are the title contenders," former West Ham player Bilic, who took over from Sam Allardyce, said.
"If you add to that a London derby, it makes it an even bigger win. This is very special."
Wenger described the result as an "accident".
"We know fitness wise, West Ham were ahead of us, they had already played competitive games (in the Europa League). You never get the same intensity.
"Today we have been hurt mentally and it is a good opportunity to respond."
Arsenal went closest early on with an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain volley before Aaron Ramsey's deflected strike hit the top of the crossbar.
But West Ham, knocked out of the Europa League in the third qualifying round by Romanian side Astra Giurgiu on Thursday, snatched the lead in the 43rd minute when Kouyate made the most of Cech's error of judgement.
Arsenal lacked urgency after the break and Oxlade-Chamberlain's casual defending was punished by Zarate who stole possession and fired a shot past the flat-footed Cech.
Intense late pressure was repelled by West Ham's defence.
As Newcastle boss McClaren stepped foot in a dugout as a Premier League manager for the first time since 2006, his opposite number Ronald Koeman was nowhere to be seen after undergoing an operation for a ruptured Achilles this week.
The Saints seemed unaffected by their manager's absence and took the lead in the 24th minute when Italian striker Graziano Pelle rose highest to plant a header past Tim Krul but Newcastle equalised just before halftime through Papiss Cisse.
New signing Georginio Wijnaldum headed in Gabriel Obertan's perfectly weighted cross to swing the advantage in Newcastle's favour but Shane Long levelled the score in the 79th minute with another headed goal.