Arsenal victory over West Ham helped move above Tottenham

Arsenal victory over West Ham helped move above Tottenham

Arsenal victory over West Ham helped move above Tottenham

Mikel Arteta lauded his Arsenal teammates for “winning ugly” in a 2-1 win over West Ham that lifted them back above Tottenham and boosted their chances of finishing in the top four.

After Spurs’ 3-1 win over Leicester earlier in the day, the Gunners were relegated to fifth, but Gabriel Magalhaes’ second-half header (55) from Gabriel Martinelli’s cross proved decisive in a tense clash at the London Stadium.

Earlier in the half, Gabriel’s centre-back partner Rob Holding had put the Gunners ahead when he nodded in a Bukayo Saka corner (39), only for Jarrod Bowen to square the game with a low finish just before the break (45).

West Ham deserved that goal after dominating the first half, but their Europa League efforts on Thursday left them tired in the latter minutes, and they barely threatened when Gabriel restored Arsenal’s advantage.

Mikel Arteta’s side had chances to win the game, with Eddie Nketiah missing multiple breakaway chances, but their small advantage was enough as they moved two points ahead of their north London rivals – and within three points of third-placed Chelsea – ensuring a top-six finish.


Meanwhile, West Ham is still in seventh place in the Premier League, three points behind sixth-placed Manchester United, and is focusing even more on the second leg of their Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.


How Arsenal clinch victory?

Arsenal knew what they needed to do to get back above Tottenham, but they got off to a sluggish start, conceding possession and enabling West Ham to pin them back.

The Hammers, on the other hand, were guilty of sloppiness, which was understandable given their Europa League exploits three days prior, resulting in a low-quality first half-hour.

West Ham did, however, create opportunities, with Pablo Fornals blazing over and Declan Rice hitting straight at Aaron Ramsdale either side of Holding’s remarkable stop to deny Manuel Lanzini.


At that point, West Ham appeared to be the most likely to break the deadlock, but Arsenal sparked into life when an errant pass by Bowen allowed Martin Odegaard to feed Nketiah, who drove past a crowd of West Ham defenders and unleashed a low, curling effort that Lukasz Fabianski had to push around the post.

Holding opened the deadlock from the subsequent corner, rising highest to meet Saka’s corner and sending a looping header into the far corner for his first goal since September 2019.

However, their advantage did not last long. Rice, who was outstanding in midfield, blasted a diagonal pass out to Vladimir Coufal, whose low cross found Bowen six minutes later. The winger was allowed enough room to handle the ball and score low past Ramsdale.

That goal appeared to give the hosts the upper hand in the second half, but it was Arsenal who took control, with Saka forcing a smart save from Fabianski at his near post before Gabriel struck.

Martinelli picked up a loose ball and dug out across to the far post, where Gabriel peeled off his man and headed past Fabianski from close range.

From then on, Arsenal were content to sit back and try to strike West Ham on the break, and the strategy paid off – even though Nketiah was unable to take advantage of their finest breakaway opportunities.


On one occasion, he missed the far post by a yard. On another occasion, when attempting to find the same part of the net, he was denied by Fabianski.

West Ham manager David Moyes attempted to reply by bringing on the rested Michail Antonio, but they were unable to convert their possession advantage, as Arsenal held firm to secure what may prove to be a crucial victory.


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