Arsenal's Young Guns Move Into Top Four With 2-0 Win Over West Ham

Bukayo Saka shone as Mikel Arteta's side secured a vital win
22:03, 15 Dec 2021

David Moyes's 600th Premier League game ended in defeat as Arsenal moved into the top four with a 2-0 win over West Ham United. Given their dismal start to the season, and how much pressure Mikel Arteta was under just a few months ago, it has been a remarkable turnaround in North London. 

Now the Gunners, who once again relied on their young stars to get the job done, have leapfrogged West Ham in the table and look like contenders to finish in the top four at the end of the season. The top three places look set in stone, but that fourth spot is up for grabs and in this sort of form and without European football to deal with, the Gunners are well in contention. 

This was an important win psychologically for the home side, as West Ham have performed so admirably this season so far, progressing from their Europa League group as well as fighting it out at the top of the Premier League. But even without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, they got the job done as Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe got on the scoresheet, as Vladimir Coufal was sent off for the visitors in the second half. 

It was a meritable performance for Arsenal against a West Ham side that are struggling with injuries. Some excellent work from man of the match Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard set up a chance for Granit Xhaka in the box but his effort was blocked by the dedicated Craig Dawson, before Kieran Tierney saw his thumping effort tipped onto the crossbar by Lukasz Fabianski. Arsenal knocked on the door with intent but West Ham stood firm. 

Stand-in captain Alexandre Lacazette, keen to take on the goalscoring mantle from the disgraced Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired one in from the edge of the box but was denied by the Polish keeper, before Martinelli stuck the rebound wide from close range.

David Moyes’ side made it to the break but just two minutes after the interval, Lacazette turned provider for Martinelli, who used his pace to burst away from the defence before sliding the ball past the helpless Fabianski. Lacazette dropped deep for the first time and it left the West Ham defenders flat-footed and unable to deal with the driving run of the young forward. 

Aaron Ramsdale had a relatively quiet night as he kept yet another clean sheet but he was called into action when he tipped Jarod Bowen’s effort past the post and the former Hull man also saw his shot from close range go wide as the Hammers pushed for an equaliser. However, the game changed as Arsenal were awarded a controversial penalty. 

Vladimir Coufal went into a challenge with Lacazette and took the ball first, although his follow-through caught the French forward, so Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot. The referee then showed the right back his second yellow card and VAR didn’t overturn the decision, judging that Taylor had not made an error worthy of overturning. 

There was some level of justice for West Ham however as Fabianski got down low to deny Lacazette’s powerful penalty and keep the score at 1-0. West Ham fought bravely with ten men but late on, they were caught on the break by Saka, who fed Emile Smith Rowe to finish. 

Arsenal fans have a lot to like at the minute. Every one of their summer signings has contributed and this new-look young side are back challenging for the European places. Arteta has got his side into the top four. 

Arsenal are 250/1 to win the Premier League with Betfred*

*18+ only, T's and C's apply.

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