The Emirates Stadium hosted a north versus east London derby, as Arsenal took on West Ham United. After walking away from Anfield with a point last time out, the hosts were looking to leapfrog Liverpool and head back to the top of the table. High-flyers West Ham came into this one with the hope of overtaking Manchester United and climbing to sixth place.
ARS: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Rice, Ødegaard, Trossard; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli
WHU: Aréola; Coufal, Mavropanos, Ogbonna, Emerson; Souček, Álvarez; Kudus, Ward-Prowse, Paquetá; Bowen
Once again, it was a fast start from Arsenal. The Gunners enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening 10 minutes, penetrating the West Ham third and looking for openings.
It was the visitors, though, who took the lead against the run of play – an unorthodox goal fired home by Tomáš Souček just 13 minutes in.Embed from Getty Images
VAR had a long look at whether the ball left the field of play, and the decision was made: goal for West Ham.
Whether the ball was out or not, nobody really knows. It was ultimately another decision reached due to the lack of a clear angle. One thing was for certain though, and that was West Ham’s early lead.
A chance for an equaliser came in the form of a Bukayo Saka header, but the 22-year-old’s effort was comfortably stopped by Alphonse Aréola.
Having pulled up in the pre-match warm-up, Lucas Paquetá’s evening came to an end just half an hour in when he was replaced by Saïd Benrahma.
Gabriel Jesus felt he should’ve been awarded a penalty when he was challenged by the goalscorer Souček in the box, but both the referee and VAR waved play-on.
The aforementioned Saka so nearly drew Arsenal level just before half-time, but his shot cannoned off the post before ricocheting onto Martin Ødegaard and flying wide.
West Ham found a second in the 55th minute, when former Gunner Konstantinos Mavropanos headed the ball into David Raya’s net.Embed from Getty Images
It was averse to the momentum of the game once again, but Arsenal brought it upon themselves through sloppy, unconvincing play.
The home crowd was growing more and more frustrated with the proceedings. Nothing was working for Mikel Arteta’s side, who were desperate to return to the top of the Premier League.
Two great, headed chances went amiss for Jesus in quick succession in a cumulative action that summed up Arsenal’s evening: limp.
Saka went down in the West Ham box following a challenge by Angelo Ogbonna, but his calls for a penalty went begging.
If you’d have given Arsenal another 90 minutes they still wouldn’t have found the back of the net. It was simply one of those evenings for Arteta and his team.
Ex-Hammers captain Declan Rice giving away a penalty in the last minute of the game was the cherry on the cake for the traveling fans, even if the spot kick was saved by Raya.
With the final whistle, West Ham leapfrogged Manchester United into sixth place, whilst a third league defeat for Arsenal left them two points behind league-leaders Liverpool. The visitors defended well and took the chances they created – and that was the key difference in this one.