Arsenal 4-1 West Ham: Emotional victory for Arsene Wenger
By Stephen Mills
Last Updated: 22/04/18 7:54pm
The countdown to Arsene Wenger's Arsenal exit started with an emphatic victory as West Ham were beaten 4-1 on Super Sunday.
Emotions were running high at the Emirates Stadium following Friday's shock announcement that the Arsenal boss was to end his 22-year reign, but goals from Nacho Monreal (51), Aaron Ramsey (82) and an Alexandre Lacazette double (85, 89) ensured victory, despite a 64th-minute equaliser from Marko Arnautovic.
The late surge of goals ensured Arsenal moved four points clear of seventh-place Burnley as they warmed up for Thursday's Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid in style.
The result leaves West Ham in 15th, six points above the relegation with four games to play and still with work to do to avoid the drop this season.
Arsenal: Ospina (6), Bellerin (6), Mustafi (6), Koscielny (7), Monreal (7), Xhaka (7), Elneny (7), Iwobi (6), Ramsey (7), Welbeck (6), Lacazette (7).
Subs: Maitland-Niles (6), Aubameyang (6), Chambers (n/a)
West Ham: Hart (7), Zabaleta (6), Ogbonna (6), Rice (5), Cresswell (6), Kouyate (7), Fernandes (6), Noble (6), Masuaku (5), Mario (7), Arnautovic (7).
Subs: Lanzini (7), Hernandez (6), Carroll (n/a)
Man of the match: Alexandre Lacazette
Wenger spoke before the game of his hope that the week's events would stir positive emotions in his players, but the first half was subdued with the Emirates Stadium once again below full capacity.
Perhaps inspired by Wenger's half-time words, Monreal broke the deadlock six minutes into the second period, running onto a Granit Xhaka corner and volleying left-footed past Joe Hart from near the penalty spot.
West Ham struck back 13 minutes later when David Ospina punched away Arthur Masuaku's cross and the ball was eventually worked to substitute Manuel Lanzini to slip in Arnautovic and he rifled a brilliant shot across the goalkeeper and into the far corner.
West Ham goalkeeper Hart made superb saves to deny Xhaka and Danny Welbeck, but was cruelly beaten by Ramsey eight minutes from time when Declan Rice inexplicably ducked out of the way of the Welshman's cross and the ball drifted into the net.
Arsene Wenger made five Arsenal changes following last week’s defeat at Newcastle with starts for David Ospina, Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck. Meanwhile, David Moyes named the same West Ham XI which grabbed a late 1-1 draw with Stoke on Monday.
Three minutes later, Lacazette scored Arsenal's third when he finished off a flowing Arsenal move with a fierce drive, which deflected off Aaron Cresswell and across Hart.
Lacazette added gloss to the result in the final minute when he received a pass from Ramsey and powered home his second of the game to spark raucous chants of 'one Arsene Wenger' from the victorious home supporters.
- Arsenal have won six consecutive home matches in all competitions, netting at least three goals in each victory (20 goals in total).
- Arsene Wenger has beaten David Moyes in 22 matches in all competitions - more than he has beaten another manager during his time as Arsenal boss.
- Moyes is winless in all 18 of his away matches against Arsenal in all competitions (D4 L14).
- The last three occasions that West Ham have conceded four second half goals in a Premier League game have been against Arsenal (January 2013, December 2016 and today).
- Marko Arnautovic has had a hand in 14 goals in his last 16 Premier League appearances (10 goals, 4 assists).
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Jack Wilshere sat the game out for Arsenal, while Danny Welbeck was full of running for the 88 minutes he was on the pitch, though was consistently wasteful in front of goal.
Despite conceding four goals, Joe Hart enhanced his chances of forcing his way into Gareth Southgate’s starting XI as his overall display was excellent. He made two brilliant saves with the scoreline at 1-1, denying both Granit Xhaka and Welbeck and was let down by his defenders for the first two goals which he was helpless to prevent.
Man of the Match - Alexandre Lacazette
Arsenal's striker picked up the Man of the Match award after netting the two late goals which took the game beyond West Ham and 80% of his strikes for Arsenal this season in all competitions have come at the Emirates. The Frenchman was a consistent focal point for the home team throughout the game and profited when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang emerged from the bench to give him additional support in attack.
Arsene Wenger (Arsenal): "The second goal was key. At 1-1 you could see we may have been wobbling but the second goal killed them. We had a spell in the second half when we came out when we should have scored two or three goals. So when they came back to 1-1 it was interesting to see how we responded."
David Moyes (West Ham): "The young centre-half [Declan Rice] should head the ball away and it wouldn't have even got to 2-1, it was that easy. Why he would duck in the box I've got no idea. But look, we've all been young players going into games and we're always going to make mistakes. The most important thing is you learn from your mistakes, you don't do it again and you understand how important it is."
The pundit - Thierry Henry
"Arsenal were much better at the end of the game. For an hour you didn't know where the game would go. Arnautovic scored a well-deserved goal, he played really well. It was no more than West Ham deserved after their first-half performance. Arsenal went 2-1 up in the second half and from there on there could have been a fifth or a sixth goal had there been a couple more minutes. It looks great in the end for Arsenal and it's a good result for the boss, it creates a gap over Burnley."
Arsenal host Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday night before travelling to face Manchester United on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports. West Ham are also in action on Super Sunday when they host Manchester City.