Post-Match Report

Report: Arsenal 3-1 West Ham United

Eddie Nketiah celebrates his goal against West Ham

West Ham United -

Emirates Stadium
Premier League
Premier League
                  Saka (53)
                   Martinelli (58)
                   Nketiah (69)
Saka (53)
Martinelli (58)
Nketiah (69)
3 1
  West Ham United
              S. Benrahma (26 pen)
West Ham United
S. Benrahma (26 pen)

A rousing second-half comeback ensured we resumed our Premier League campaign where we left off in November – with a win.

We were good value for the three points, despite falling behind to a Said Benrahma penalty in the first-half.

But we were soon rewarded for our aggression and positivity with three goals after the interval. First Bukayo Saka finished well when unmarked in the box before Gabriel Martinelli fired home at the near post.

But the pick of the goals was Eddie Nketiah’s wonderful turn and finish to make it 3-1.

The victory moves us seven points clear at the top before Manchester City play on Wednesday. 

Bright start

After an unprecedented mid-season gap of 44 days without a game, we were finally back in Premier League action, looking to strengthen our grip on top spot.

Mikel Arteta’s starting lineup featured seven players who were on World Cup duty in Qatar – including France’s William Saliba just eight days after the final. But minds were clearly back on domestic matters as we set about West Ham early.

One of the star performers at the World Cup, Bukayo Saka, had the ball in the net inside five minutes, only for his effort to be flagged offside.

Martin Odegaard showed twinkling footwork on the edge of the area before looking for Kieran Tierney with a cute reverse pass, but the visitors got back to cut it out.

We were playing the ball around confidently and the next chance fell to Eddie Nketiah. A first-time pass from Granit Xhaka released the striker, but his shot was blocked outside the area.

Hammer blow

Odegaard then fired wide from a Saka knockdown before West Ham took the lead against the run of play.

William Saliba clipped the advancing Jarrod Bowen just inside the area and Said Benrahama tucked home his spot kick.

It was a damaging blow from the Hammers, especially given our bright start. We continued to press forward though and enjoyed 70 per cent of possession in the first-half. Odegaard especially was trying his best to unpick the visitors’ defence, but each time the final killer ball was snuffed out.

We were initially awarded a penalty for handball on the stroke of half-time, but it was overturned by VAR.

Quick turnaround

We started the second-half with even more intent and drive than we started the first, but this time got rewarded.

It was Saka who scored the equaliser. The England man was alone in the area when Odegaard’s scuffed shot fell to him and he kept his cool to slide the ball into the corner.

It was the third consecutive Boxing Day fixture in which he had found the net.

Our tails were up now, and the Emirates crowd – including Arsène Wenger watching on from the directors’ box – were given more reason to cheer just moments later.

Saka shrugged Declan Rice off the ball, and two passes later Xhaka was feeding Martinelli inside the box. From a narrow angle the Brazilian spotted a gap at Lukasz Fabianski’s near post, and squeezed his shot home.

A five-minute turnaround had put us in front, and Nketiah’s sublime effort soon made it 3-1. Ben White controlled well before passing to Odegaard. He played in Nketiah who spun past Thilo Kehrer and then drove the ball low into the corner.

It was a moment of brilliance, and the striker’s 11th goal in his last 11 starts at the Emirates.

It put the seal on a fine win – our 16th from 22 games at the Emirates during the calendar year.

And importantly, it ensured our momentum built up in the first part of the season was seemingly not affected by the World Cup.

Facts and stats

  • We have come from behind to beat West Ham eight times in the Premier League, more than we have against any other opponent.
  • David Moyes has lost 15 Premier League away games against us, equalling Harry Redknapp for the most away defeats against a specific opponent in the competition (15 vs Man Utd).
  • We have won 10 consecutive Premier League home games for the first time since April 2019, while this is the first time we've done so while scoring 2+ goals each time since November 2017.
  • Said Benrahma's opener was just the third time we have conceded the first goal in the Premier League this season. 
  • Bukayo Saka has scored in three consecutive Boxing Day games (2020 vs Chelsea, 2021 vs Norwich & today), the first Arsenal player to do so since Thierry Henry between 2002 and 2004.
  • Today was the second time Martin Ødegaard has provided two assists in a single Premier League game, with the other coming on Boxing Day last season against Norwich.

What it means

Premier League table as it stands
    P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 15 13 1 1 36 12 24 40
2 Newcastle United 16 9 6 1 32 11 21 33
3 Manchester City 14 10 2 2 40 14 26 32
4 Tottenham Hotspur 16 9 3 4 33 23 10 30
5 Manchester United 14 8 2 4 20 20 0 26
6 Liverpool 15 7 4 4 31 18 13 25
7 Brighton & Hove Albion 15 7 3 5 26 20 6 24
8 Fulham 16 6 4 6 27 26 1 22
9 Chelsea 14 6 3 5 17 17 0 21
10 Brentford 16 4 8 4 25 27 -2 20
11 Crystal Palace 15 5 4 6 15 21 -6 19
12 Aston Villa 16 5 3 8 17 25 -8 18
13 Leicester City 16 5 2 9 25 28 -3 17
14 AFC Bournemouth 15 4 4 7 18 32 -14 16
15 Leeds United 14 4 3 7 22 26 -4 15
16 West Ham United 16 4 2 10 13 20 -7 14
17 Everton 16 3 5 8 12 19 -7 14
18 Wolves 16 3 4 9 10 25 -15 13
19 Nottingham Forest 15 3 4 8 11 30 -19 13
20 Southampton 16 3 3 10 14 30 -16 12

What’s next

Our next and final game of 2022 is away to Brighton on New Year’s Eve, kicking off at 5.30pm (UK time).

We’re back in action at the Emirates on January 3, taking on Newcastle United – who are currently second in the Premier League.

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