Football: Seaman dismissed but Arsenal survive

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The Independent Online
West Ham United. .0

Arsenal. . . . . .0

ARSENAL are nothing if not the most obstinate team in the country, as West Ham discovered to their cost at Upton Park last night. And they were never more so than in the 83rd minute when David Seaman hauled down Trevor Morley as he broke through the last line of defence, the upshot being that the England goalkeeper was sent off for his flagrant cynicism.

Cheats sometimes prosper, however, and from David Burrows's resulting free-kick Nigel Winterburn hacked the ball clear of the goal- line. Well might George Graham, the Arsenal manager, have said afterwards that he had no complaints with the referee's decision. A one- match ban for Seaman seems a very reasonable exchange for one extra point - for all the good it will do them. That is one defeat in 15 games now for Arsenal, who have only lost once away from home in 12 games this season: championship form in most other seasons but this one.

Their defensive meanness was there for all to see here last night, yet they might have been breached, and deservedly so, had Morley made better use of his chances. In this profligate mood he would probably have missed the open goal which presented itself in the crucial incident following Mike Marsh's excellent early ball beyond the Arsenal back four, even if he looked more than a shade offside.

The Hammers, now beaten only once in seven games themselves, gave irrefutable proof that they have turned around their season. Their new signings, Lee Chapman, David Burrows and Mike Marsh, once again gave an excellent account of themselves. With Steve Morrow (making his first start since breaking his wrist in last April's calamitous Coca-Cola celebrations at Wembley) and Martin Keown in central midfield, Arsenal were no match for the invention of Marsh, Ian Bishop and Peter Butler.

What Ian Wright would have done with that kind of service needed no guessing. Arsenal were beginning to look desperate by the time of Morley's first miss after 35 minutes, when Marsh sent him scampering past the frozen defenders only for the forward to pull his shot wide. Burrows then stung Seaman's palms from a free-kick before another astute ball by Bishop gave Morley the opportunity to lay it on a plate for someone. Instead, he served up the ball behind the advancing line of claret and blue.

West Ham United (4-4-2): Miklosko; Breacker, Potts, Gale, Burrows; Marsh, Butler, Bishop, Holmes; Morley, Chapman. Substitutes not used: M Allen, Boere, Peyton (gk).

Arsenal (4-4-2): Seaman; Dixon, Linighan, Bould, Winterburn; Limpar (Campbell, h/t), Keown, Morrow, Merson; Wright (Miller, gk, 83), Smith. Substitutes not used: Davis.

Referee: P Durkin (Portland, Dorset).

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