Mighty Mo laments mistakes after derby defeat to Arsenal
Mohamed Diame netted his first West Ham United goal in Saturday’s London derby with Arsenal – but was far from satisfied with his performance in the 3-1 defeat.
The Senegalese international opened the scoring when he glided past Aaron Ramsey on the left flank, then cut into the box and struck a spectacular shot across goal to beat Arsenal stopper Vito Mannone on 21 minutes.
Upton Park inevitably erupted and a jubilant Diame celebrated his maiden Hammers strike a little too close to the supporters in the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand for referee Phil Dowd’s liking and was promptly shown a yellow card.
That left the 25-year-old walking a disciplinary tightrope and he was, perhaps, fortunate not to be sent off before half-time after a late lunge on Mikel Arteta was punished only by the concession of a free-kick.
Diame’s usual bullish style of play was absent from then onwards as his attention, by his own admission, turned to avoiding a red card.
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He was uncharacteristically caught in possession in the build-up to Arsenal’s equaliser from Olivier Giroud, before second-half goals from Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla earned the Gunners three points.
And Diame admitted his goal felt bittersweet after a below par individual showing.
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“It was one of the best goals I’ve scored,” he said.
“At first I thought about passing the ball. But I saw their keeper didn’t know if I was going to shoot or pass, so I took a chance and it was good for us.
“The yellow card killed my game. It came early in the game, so afterwards I could not defend with the same power and the same aggressiveness.
“I lost the ball in the midfield [for Arsenal’s first goal], which killed us.
“We’ve got to try and keep working and make sure in the next game we don’t make the same mistakes.
“It was disappointing for us to lose. We started well in the game and looked as though we could win.”
Diame, like several of his Hammers team-mates, joins up with his national side this week ahead of their African Cup of Nations second-round qualification match against club-mate Guy Demel’s Ivory Coast.
And the former Wigan midfielder hopes when West Ham’s foreign contingent return from their respective corners of the world to east London next week, they will all be fighting fit and ready for action.
“We will go and join up with our national teams and give everything. Hopefully we won’t come back with any injuries,” he said.
“We have started well this season. The team are focused on being in the top half of the table. We have to keep working hard.”