West Ham United hosted a London derby teeming with importance as they welcomed Arsenal to the east of the capital. The reverse fixture saw West Ham walk away from The Emirates with all three points in a shock victory that left Arsenal scratching their heads.
A win for the Hammers would see them overtake both Newcastle United and Manchester United into sixth place. Meanwhile, the Gunners, fresh off the back of a convincing win over leaders Liverpool, sought to draw level on points with Manchester City and maintain their status as Premier League contenders.
WHU: Areola; Coufal, Zouma, Aguerd, Palmieri; Álvarez, Souček; Johnson, Ward-Prowse, Kudus; Bowen
ARS: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior; Rice, Ødegaard, Havertz; Saka, Trossard, Martinelli
An early booking for Edson Álvarez set the tone for what was a busy opening to the match for the visitors, who claimed 90% of possession in the first 10 minutes.
The first big chance of the game fell to Leandro Trossard, whose powerful volley was met by a strong left hand from Alphonse Areola.
Arsenal kept probing and eventually found their breakthrough. An inswinging corner from Rice was nodded home by William Saliba for his second goal of the season.
Another goal could’ve and should’ve followed swiftly after, as Bukayo Saka missed a free header from the edge of the six-yard box.
The Englishman kept his head up and, not long after the opportunity, earned Arsenal a penalty after being brought down by Areola inside the penalty area.
Saka made no mistake from the spot-kick, firing home his 50th goal in Arsenal colours.Embed from Getty Images
The goals kept coming for the Gunners, as another set piece from Rice met Gabriel Magalhães who headed the ball into the back of the net.
On the stroke of half-time, Leandro Trossard sent the traveling fans into jubilation as he smashed the ball into the top-right corner, and Arsenal entered the break four goals to the good.
The second half started similarly to the first, with the visitors in total domination.
The Gunners soon added to their tally, as Bukayo Saka netted his 10th goal of the Premier League season with a pinpoint effort nestled into the near post.
The best of the lot came from former Hammers captain Declan Rice who, greeted with jeers on his return to his old stomping ground, fired home a 30-yard screamer for Arsenal’s sixth of the afternoon.Embed from Getty Images
Academy prospect Ethan Nwaneri, who made history as Arsenal’s youngest-ever Premier League player against Brentford last season, featured off the bench in the closing stages to mark his second top-flight appearance.
Ultimately, it can only be described as a miserable afternoon for West Ham, who made life easy for the visitors throughout. As for Arsenal, it was a breathtaking performance from start to finish. The demolition draws them level with Manchester City in second, and two points behind league leaders Liverpool with 14 games left to play.