Premier League: Arsenal defeat West Ham in battle for top four

(Football news) Arsenal progressed into the top four of the Premier League for the first time this season after a 2-0 victory over West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being stripped of his captaincy, Alexandre Lacazette captained the side as Mikel Arteta went for the same starting XI for the third consecutive time, being the first time for the Gunners since April 2016.

The game started off in a rather nervy and uneventful fashion in the first 40 minutes after which Pablo Fornals had the only real opportunity when he curled wide from the edge of the box. The attempt helped Arsenal find their rhythm after which they went on to create many good chances before the end of the first half. Bukayo Saka was at his best on the right side, combining well with Martin Odegaard to feed Granit Xhaka but his shot was blocked by Craig Dawson after which Tierney’s half volley was tipped over the bar by former Arsenal goalkeeper Fabianski. 

The second half saw Arsenal come out of the dugout firing on all cylinders and took the lead when Lacazette found an opening in the West Ham defence and fed the ball to Gabriel Martinelli who slotted it in the bottom right corner for his second goal of the season. However, West Ham almost scored the equalizer when Aaron Ramsdale tipped away a deflected effort by Jarrod Bowen which quietened the home supporters. 

With West Ham now in a position to desperately salvage at least a draw, the game opened for Arsenal to capitalize on the massive gaps in the West Ham defence in the final third. Midway through the second half, the Gunners won a controversial penalty as Vladimir Coufal brought down Lacazette in the box but appeared to make slight contact with the ball first followed by the Frenchman. Referee Anthony Taylor pointed towards the spot and Coufal saw red after a second yellow. However, Fabianski managed to save Lacazette’s penalty but West Ham felt they had an unfair numerical disadvantage as they were reduced to 10 men.

The Gunners sealed their victory 10 minutes from time when Emile Smith Rowe received the ball from Saka and the substitute shot from the gap between Issa Diop’s legs and into the bottom right corner of the net. With this result, Arsenal went one point ahead of West Ham in fourth position while the Hammers are now fifth in the Premier League, one point above Manchester United but have played a game more than Ralf Rangnick’s team.

Also read: Man City score seven past Leeds while Aston Villa defeat Norwich


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