Gunners burst the Hammers bubble
Written By: Robert Halter
Arsenal had only lost one of their last twenty two matches against West Ham United. In the eleventh minute, after a low drive by Henrikh Mkhitaryan was pushed out from Hammers shot stopper, Lukasz Fabianski, a goal bound header by Aaron Ramsey, was ruled out for offside. But the Irons responded, when Robert Snodgrass found space for Marko Arnautovic, who crashed a shot into the outside netting of the right post. The breakthrough was made in the twenty fifth minute, as after playing a one two with Felipe Anderson, the ball was drilled into the bottom left corner from Arnautovic. However, Arsenal drew level on the half hour mark, when Mkhitaryan’s pass found Hector Bellerin down the right flank and as his low strike was pushed away from Fabianski’s hand, a touch by Alex Iwobi fell comfortably to Monreal, who from close range struck a left footed shot into the centre of the net. The Irons responded as Anderson cleared the way for Michail Antonio, but his tame effort was comfortably collected by Petr Cech. On thirty six minutes, a delivery was sent over from Granit Xhaka to Shkodran Mustafi, but the ball bobbled off his head and out of play. But within a minute, an incisive pass from Mkhitaryan opened up space for Ramsey, whose first time shot was scrambled away by Fabianski. In the thirty ninth minute, from an assist by Arthur Masuaku, the ball was bent wide of the far post from Antonio. Although on the other side of the park, Matteo Guendouzi sent the ball out to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who fired over a looping strike. After Anderson combined with Antonio, the ball wriggled free to Snodgrass, before a close range block was made by Cech, near the end of the first half. Before the re-start, Iwobi was replaced with Alexandre Lacazette. On forty eight minutes, through a delivery from Aubameyang, a spiralling header by Mustafi, was clawed away by Fabianski. In the fiftieth minute, Bellerin brought down Antonio, and after combining with Anderson, from the free kick, Snodgrass put the ball out to Arnautovic, who slashed his strike out of play. The Arsenal striking pair then combined as Aubameyang found Lacazette, who fired straight into Fabianski. Then through a Guendouzi assist, a long range effort by Xhaka, went into the safe keeping of Fabianski. Although the Hammers went again in the fifty fourth minute, as Anderson powered down the left, before Arnautovic’s strike was parried away by Cech, and while Arnautovic pulled up injured, Guendouzi was replaced with Lucas Torreira, who made a quick impression by finding Lacazette, whose low drive forced Fabianski into a full length save. Arnautovic then left the field for Javier Hernandez before Lucas Perez took over from Antonio. On sixty four minutes, through an Anderson assist, the ball was bent past the crossbar from Hernandez. Midway through the second half, a strike by Anderson, cannoned out of Cech’s hands, following an assist by Carlos Sanchez. But Arsenal turned the game around in the seventieth minute as Diop’s clearance flew high into the area, and a knock on by Monreal, was put into the box from Ramsey before Lacazette’s ball rebound off Diop and into his own net. Another chance was created by Ramsey, this time for Aubameyang, but his strike was blocked by Diop. After Aubameyang had another shot saved by Fabianski, he was later replaced with Danny Welbeck, while the Irons soon took off Snodgrass for Andriy Yarmolenko. On eighty three minutes, a poor headed clearance from Hernandez, went straight to Ramsey, whose low strike was turned away from the bottom left corner by Fabianski. A fine run from Anderson, carved an opening for Perez, but he miscued the ball wide of the right post. Then from a Ryan Federicks cross, and knock on by Perez, the ball was put across the face of goal from Anderson. But it was Arsenal that sealed a 3-1 victory, as Mkhitaryan went down the right and from Bellerin’s cross, on the turn Welbeck hit the back of the net to leave the hapless Hammers propping up the table.