Arsenal climb top four as they beat 10-man West Ham with confidence in London derby
In another round of the English Premier League, Arsenal hosted West Ham at the Emirates Stadium. It was a truly intriguing match as Arsenal could move up to fourth place for the first time in a long time – and they did, beating the resilient Hammers 2-0.
Adding interest to the game was the fact that the home side had deliberately lowered their weight a couple of days before the game. Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of his armband and excluded from the derby squad for missing training. But that didn’t seem to stop the stacked young side from playing their best game.
This is in no small part why Mikel Arteta was driven to place Gabriel Martinelli in the starting line-up. The young Brazilian striker has been on the mend since a knee injury he suffered in training in June 2020, when he underwent surgery and missed 170 days. The Brazilian did not get much playing time this season until he came on as a substitute against Newcastle United and scored a goal. After that, in the away game against Man Utd, he appeared in the starting XI and played on the left wing – the Gabon`s international signature position. In the encounter with West Ham, Martinelli again took the place of the ex-captain and Alexandre Lacazette played the false nine.
It was the 20-year-old Gabi, who had plenty of chances in the first half, and who potted the winning goal by opening the scoring elegantly in the style of Thierry Henry in the 48th minute, after a classy cutting pass from current captain Alexandre Lacazette.
Further into the match, France’s Alexandre Lacazette failed to convert a penalty after West Ham defender Vladimir Сoufal was sent off in the 67th minute.
Thus, Arsenal have failed to convert three consecutive penalties in the Premier League for the first time since August 1992, when they failed to score with each of their first five penalties in the competition.
Then, for a moment, it looked as if the visitors could turn the tide, even with ten men, but substitute Emile Smith-Rowe dotted down on 87 minutes, scoring after a great counterattack and an assist from another academy product Bukayo Saka.
In a difficult moment, Arsenal have the help of their juniors and now the team are in fourth place, albeit not a very confident one. Suffice it to say that of the team’s 23 goals this season, ten have been scored by players who are 21 or under. Saka and Smith-Rowe have long been essential players – perhaps the Aubameyang incident will give the Brazilian Martinelli a big career boost.
“We like to see the fans like that and cheer us on. We knew it was going to be a very difficult game but we have a very good group.They were defending well and we were waiting for the moment. Thank you Laca [Alexandre Lacazette] for the assist! I want to play every time. We are a team. We are together. It’s up to Mikel [Arteta] and the whole team to decide who will be captain.”Gabi said after the match.
Watch all the best moments of the match:
- David Moyes has never won away against Arsenal in the Premier League in 18 attempts (D4 L14), extending the record for the most times a manager has played away at a single club without ever winning in the competition.