Arsenal claim win with strong second half showing
Arsenal beat West Ham United 3-0 in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium tonight.
Second half goals from Mesut Ozil, skipper for the night Theo Walcott and substitute Olivier Giroud secured the three points for the Gunners.
The result moves Arsenal into 5th place in the Premier League table above Manchester United on goal difference.
West Ham remain in 15th place in the table, six points above the drop zone.
The Gunners are now four points behind Manchester City with a game in hand and six points behind Liverpool with two games in hand.
City lost 2-1 to leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tonight. Whilst Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw by Bournemouth at Anfield tonight.
The first half was a tepid affair. With both sides struggling to find any fluency in their play.
Hardly surprising as Arsenal had only won one, and drawn another, in their past six Premier League games.
Whilst West Ham had lost their five previous Premier League matches and went into tonight’s game without a win since the 4th February.
The match also wasn’t helped by an erratic refereeing performance by Martin Atkinson. Any chance that the match might have had to flow was thwarted by his constant whistling and baffling decisions
Arsenal raised the tempo at the start of the second half and got the vital first goal in the 58th minute.
Ozil making his 150th appearance for the Gunners took full advantage of a mistake by Jose Fonte. His shot from the edge of the penalty area beat keeper Darren Randolph.
Randolph was at fault despite claiming that Alexis Sanchez was in a offside position and blocking his view.
It puts the West Ham keeper level with Bournemouth’s Simon Francis and Manchester City’s John Stones in making errors that lead directly to goals. The trio have each made three such errors.
That West Ham’s poor defending contributed to conceding the goal was no surprise. They have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their past 12 away Premier League games.
The goal galvanised Arsenal into a much improved performance. Danny Welbeck missed two excellent chances to increase the lead. First he was denied at close range by Randolph and then fired wide with just the keeper to beat.
The Gunners second goal though duly arrived in the 68th minute courtesy of the move of the match
Ozil played a one-two with Alexis Sanchez, then crossed for Theo Walcott to side-foot into the net from eight yards out.
Walcott and Ozil both enjoy playing against the Hammers.
Walcott has scored more Premier League goals against West Ham than he has against any other side (six).
Whilst Ozil scored and assisted in the same Premier League game for the second time this season, with the other game being the reverse fixture against the Hammers at the London Stadium.
Arsenal’s third goal came seven minutes from time, with substitutes Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain combining.
Oxlade-Chamberlain picked out Giroud, with the Frenchman curling the ball into the net beyond the despairing dive of Randolph.
Giroud has scored more Premier League goals as a substitute than any other player this season (five).
Arsenal have won both Premier League games against West Ham in a season on 10 occasions – more than they have against any other side.
The Gunners became the first Premier League side to score 100 goals in all competitions this season (currently 101).
Emi Martinez had a relatively quiet night in-goal, deputising for the injured Petr Cech and David Ospina.
He made a couple of smart saves to low dives late in the match to keep a clean sheet.
Martinez has kept a clean sheet in three of the four Premier League games he’s started for Arsenal.
This is what Arsene Wenger had to say to BBC Sport after the match.
“West Ham defended well in the first half and we needed to find a solution in the second half. We were convincing after the break.
“Ozil and Sanchez are important players but everyone did well. You could not say any player had a bad performance.
“We come out of a difficult period and our confidence goes quickly and comes back slowly.
“We are in the final sprint in the Premier League. Consistency will be very important.
“We have a little handicap on the points front. We have less possibilities to drop points.”
The Gunners next match is away to Crystal Palace in the Premier League at Selhurst Park next Monday.
Arsenal: Martinez 7, Bellerin 6, Mustafi 8, Gabriel 7, Monreal 6, Xhaka 7, Elneny 7 (Ramsey), Walcott 7 (Oxlade-Chamberlain), Ozil 7, Sanchez 7, Welbeck 6 (Giroud))