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PREMIER LEAGUE: West Ham spring opening weekend surprise on Arsenal

West Ham United have cause the first upset of the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season.

The Hammers, in Slaven Bilic's first as manager in England's top flight, defeated Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium in a major surprise on opening weekend.

Goals either side of the break from Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate did the damage for the Hammers who will make the short trip back to East London feeling very content with an admirable performance.

Arsenal, as usual, had the lions share of possession and created more chances but were unable to break down the West Ham resistance.

22 attempts and six on target was not enough for the Gunners to beat goalkeeper Adrian who was served by a rock solid defence led by Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna and James Tomkins, while 16-year-old Reece Oxford was also prominent in a midfield role.

The opening goal came in the 43rd minute after Oxford had won a free-kick centrally. The dead ball was taken by the impressive Dimitri Payet who put it into the mixer, allowing Kouyate to play off the shoulder of Nacho Monreal and head home past Petr Cech, who was a little hesitant off his line.

The Gunners had a number of chances in the first half, namely Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's fizzing strike, Santi Cazorla's lob and Aaron Ramsey's deflected shot which ricocheted off the crossbar, which indicated that perhaps a goal was coming the way of the home side.

But West Ham stayed strong and managed to skip away to a two-goal lead in the 57th minute when Zarate pounced on an errant pass in midfield and caught Cech by surprise, firing out of reach of the former Chelsea gloveman's right hand.

Arsene Wenger's side huffed and puffed and tried to create something in the remaining half-hour but the determined Hammers dug deep and kept out any advances to kick off their campaign in fine fashion.

It was a massive blow so early in the season for Arsenal, who with Cech, are tipped to go close to the title this term but results like this suggest it could be the same old story for the Gunners who are striving to break a 12-year premiership drought.

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE - 2015/16 SEASON SCORES

Arsenal: 0

West Ham United: 2 (Cheikhou Kouyate 43', Mauro Zarate 57')

Emirates Stadium, London - 59,996

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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