Arsenal demolish West Ham to strengthen their Premier League lead.
Arsenal 3-1 West Ham: Gunners move seven points clear at top of the Premier League in front of former boss Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal extended their Premier League lead with a thrilling 3-1 triumph over West Ham United at the Emirates on Monday night.
For the first time since leaving the club in 2018 after 22 years as manager of the Gunners, Arsene Wenger watched from the stands in north London as table-topping Arsenal increased their lead to 40 points after 15 games this year.
Arsenal maintained a seven-point lead over Newcastle United in second place after goals from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Eddie Nketiah in the second half offset a penalty by Said Benrahma in the first.
After William Saliba fouled Jarrod Bowen in the box, West Ham’s Benrahma converted the penalty kick to score the game’s opening goal. Arsenal had looked energetic in the opening 20 minutes.
Mikel Arteta’s side spent much of the remainder of the first half in West Ham’s defensive third — showing off plenty of tidy one-touch passing — but could not find an equaliser and went into the break trailing 1-0.
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Before the hour mark, Martin Odegaard’s mishit drive was settled by Saka and rolled past Lukasz Fabianski, giving Arsenal the lead. Martinelli then scored for his club with a tight-angled shot into the near post.
With 20 minutes remaining, Nketiah scored Arsenal’s third goal to conclude a great team effort. He did so by deftly turning to his left after Odegaard found him in the area and striking the back of the net at Fabianski’s far post.
Arsenal were playing their first match since the season paused for the World Cup and their first since key striker Gabriel Jesus was ruled out of action for three months with a knee injury while playing for Brazil in Qatar.
When Arsenal found themselves behind at halftime, any worries that the injury may hinder their quest for their first title since 2004 would have increased, but a superb performance in the second half allayed such worries.
In the first half, West Ham, who have not won on the road in the league since August, had done well to keep Mikel Arteta’s team out of the penalty area, but their defence crumbled once Arsenal, helped by some excellent service from Odegaard, regained their rhythm after the interval.