Arsenal 2 – 0 West Ham

Arsenal entered the top four for the first time this season thanks to goals from young stars Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe who gave them a 2-0 win over 10 West Ham men.

Arsenal, again led by Alexandre Lacazette, had more clear chances in the first half; Kieran Tierney saw his long-range shot overturned over the crossbar by Lukasz Fabianski, while Gabriel Martinelli nearly shot home in front of the West Ham keeper on a rebound.

But Martinelli made up for that mistake minutes after the second half, finishing coldly behind Fabianski on a through ball from Lacazette (48), before the drama with 20 minutes left when Vladimir Coufal saw red for a second yellow, committing foul on Lacazette in the box (69). Anthony Taylor awarded the penalty, a decision West Ham boss David Moyes complained about shortly after the game, but Fabianski saved well from Lacazette.

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Gabriel Martinelli celebrated Arsenal’s lead early in the second half

Sub Emile Smith Rowe secured victory in the final, going deep right after a nice break (87) after being fueled by the brilliant Bukayo Saka, a goal scored at Arsenal academy. Ten of Arsenal’s 23 Premier League goals this season have been scored by players aged 21 and under, the maximum number of any team this season.

The result confirms Arsenal’s excellent form at home – they have won eight of their last nine in all competitions at Emirates, and have the best tied home record in the Premier League – and moves them to the Champions League for the first time in this is the season. They replaced West Ham in the top four, with the Hammers having only won one of their last six in the Premier League.

Player ratings

Arsenal: Ramsdale (7), Tomiyasu (7), White (7), Gabriel (7), Tierney (7), Xhaka (7), Partey (7), Odegaard (7), Saka (8), Martinelli (8), Lacazzetta (8).

Subtitles: Smith Rowe (7), Nketiah (NA), Tavares (NA)

West Ham: Fabianski (7), Coufal (5), Dawson (6), Diop (6), Masuaku (4), Rice (6), Soucek (5), Fornals (5), Lanzini (5), Bowen (5), Antonio (5).

Subtitles: Benrahma (5), Ashby (NA)

Man of the match: Bukayo Saka

How the young stars helped Arsenal take fourth place

Mikel Arteta showed his ruthless advantage by stripping Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang of the captain’s armband the day before the game following a disciplinary offense, and went with the same starting XI for the third consecutive game, the first time that the Arsenal has been doing it since April 2016 under Arsene Wenger.

After the match, Arteta refused to disclose whether Aubameyang would play in Arsenal’s next game against Leeds on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, recounting BT Sport: “We’ll talk about it another day. He was not eligible for this match and this match is gone.”

Lacazette, who casually took part in an in-depth interview focused on leadership on the day’s schedule, was again named skipper, and that remained the only real topic of discussion for a nervous and rather listless 40-minute football halftime.

Manuel Lanzini runs with the ball under pressure from Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka
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Manuel Lanzini runs with the ball under pressure from Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka

Pablo Fornals had their first real opening, curling inches wide as the ball broke towards him on the edge of the box, but Arsenal found the pace and carved out several good chances before half-time.

Bukayo Saka was wreaking havoc on the right, combining with Martin Odegaard to feed Granit Xhaka; his show was heroically blocked by Craig Dawson, before Tierney’s half-volley from outside the box was knocked over the crossbar by Fabianski.

Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal takes a missed opportunity
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Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal Streets a missed opportunity

Fabianski then only manages to save Lacazette’s shot from the edge to Martinelli, but the Brazilian is only half committed to throwing himself on the rebound under pressure from both the goalkeeper and Dawson, deflecting to the side.

West Ham desperately wanted the break, Arsenal maybe not, but the interval proved to be only a brief respite when the hosts came out firing after the second half.

They took the lead when Lacazette found a chasm in the West Ham defense, slipping a perfect through ball to Martinelli. The striker recovered and scored in the lower right corner for his second Premier League goal of the season.

Gabriel Martinelli brings Arsenal 1-0 ahead
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Gabriel Martinelli brings Arsenal 1-0 ahead

Arsenal briefly ignited the style – a Martinelli nutmeg on Tomas Soucek and the brilliant Saka’s change of pace was hailed as an Emirates goal – but West Ham nearly calmed the home fans instantly while Aaron Ramsdale superbly deflected Jarrod Bowen’s deflected effort.

The game opened up massively and Arsenal made the most of the gaps that appear in both final thirds. They won a penalty, albeit a controversial one, in the middle of the second half, when Coufal slipped onto Lacazette in the box; he made a slight contact with the ball first, then Lacazette, but it was enough for Taylor to win.

Referee Anthony Taylor shows Vladimir Coufal of West Ham (AP) the red card
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Referee Anthony Taylor shows West Ham’s Vladimir Coufal the red card
Alexandre Lacazette reacts after missing a penalty
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Alexandre Lacazette reacts after missing a penalty

Coufal saw red for a second yellow, and although Fabianski saved his left from the Lacazette penalty, the West Ham players felt harshly treated with the numerical disadvantage.

Moyes, however, was more balanced after the game, saying, “I thought he should have taken more ball, he should have thrown the ball away. Timing means he takes the top of the ball and follows it. I think that’s the way it is. which is why the referee had to come up with a decision. We made a mess to get to that point. “

Arsenal should have closed with 10 minutes remaining – Saka’s shot from Tierney’s center was somewhat blocked by Issa Diop – but they got their two-goal lead with a move made to Hale End Academy.

Emile Smith Rowe scores Arsenal's second goal in the second half
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Emile Smith Rowe scores Arsenal’s second goal in the second half

After receiving the ball from Saka, sub Smith Rowe headed for the area and found the smallest space between Diop’s legs and in the lower right corner of the net.

Team news

Arsenal have named the same first XI for the third straight game, with Alexandre Lacazette again named captain. As expected, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did not go on the bench.

It was only the only change for West Ham when Pablo Fornals joined for Said Benrahma, who fell on the bench.

West Ham, who took just five points out of a possible 18, may point to the questionable decision to send Coufal off, but Arsenal deserved the win, as Arteta begins to make the Emirates a stronghold in their search for a first top. – four finishes from 2016.

What the managers said …

Chief of Arsenal Mikel Arteta: “I think [the young players] they have been really good, everyone, and the senior players have set an example. We needed some sonic performances to beat this team. I’m really happy. It is important to Gabi [Martinelli] score a goal like he did today.

“It helps because they know each other, some of them are from the academy and the chemistry is there. I really like the connection and the senior players are contributing and have a lot of fun helping the kids grow.

Bukayo Saka (left) was the man of the match, while Emile Smith Rowe (center) scored Arsenal second place
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Bukayo Saka (left) was the man of the match, while Emile Smith Rowe (center) scored Arsenal’s second goal

“The championship ends in May. Obviously it’s much better than where we were, but we want to be higher. This championship is absolutely ruthless. Tomorrow is different.

“We are building a project and building a project without the people we play for is impossible. They are the biggest pillar of the project. When I’m with us and the team grabs that pillar, we can be really strong, so I’m really happy with that.”

About Aubameyang and whether he would play in the next game, Arteta said BT Sport: “We’ll talk about it another day. He was not eligible for this match and this match is gone.”

Chief of West Ham David Moyes on penalty and red card: “I thought he should have taken more ball. He should have sent the ball away. Timing means he takes the ball on top and follows it. I think that’s why the referee had to think about a Decision. We made a mess to get to that point. I thought Vladimir could have more ball. We gave the referee the opportunity to choose a decision.

On the January transfer market: “I don’t know if we will be busy, but I would like to try to add something. I have no idea if we will be busy.”

What’s next?

Saturday 18 December at 17:00

Kick-off 17:30


Arsenal go to Leeds on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 17:30. Meanwhile, West Ham hosts Norwich, also on Saturday; kick-off 15:00.

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