Arsenal 4-1 West Ham: Five talking points as Gunners win
By Nick Wright
Last Updated: 22/04/18 5:30pm
Arsenal beat West Ham 4-1 in their first game since Arsene Wenger announced he will depart the club at the end of the season, but what were the main talking points?
Nacho Monreal's opening goal was cancelled out by Martin Arnautovic in the second half at the Emirates Stadium, with Aaron Ramsey putting Arsenal back in front before a late double from Alexandre Lacazette.
From Wenger's reception to Lacazette's fine form, here are five talking points from the game…
Muted reception for Wenger
The announcement of Wenger's departure prompted a deluge of tributes from all over the footballing world, but it was not exactly a love-in at the Emirates. There was little fanfare as he took his seat in the dugout, and while the stadium was busier than it has been in recent months, there were still empty seats.
The atmosphere remained muted as Arsenal laboured on the pitch, but there were audible choruses of 'one Arsene Wenger' after Monreal's opener, and the volume increased as they turned on the style in the closing stages. The late-flurry of goals lifted the mood ahead of Thursday's Europa League meeting with Atletico Madrid. Win that, and perhaps Wenger can expect a warmer reception when they host Burnley next month.
Ramsey was the catalyst for Arsenal's turnaround, and while there was a large slice of good fortune about his goal, there was nothing lucky about his excellent work in the build-up to Lacazette's second goal. His overall performance was a continuation of an impressive run of form.
The Welshman has now scored eight goals and provided two assists in his last nine appearances in all competitions, underlining his importance to the side and, with only one year remaining on his current contract, highlighting the need for Wenger's successor to sort out his future.
Ramsey is likely to be a key figure against Atletico but quite who will join him and Granit Xhaka in Arsenal's midfield is uncertain. Jack Wilshere was ruled out against West Ham with an injury, Mesut Ozil was unavailable due to illness, while Mohamed Elneny was stretchered off after hurting his ankle in the first half, with Wenger admitting "it doesn't look good" afterwards.
Wenger threw on Ainsley Maitland-Niles to cover for Elneny against West Ham, but with few other options in central midfield, he will be eager for good news on Wilshere, Ozil and Elneny before Thursday's game.
Arsenal will certainly need to be tighter at the back if they are to avoid conceding an away goal on Thursday. The Gunners looked vulnerable throughout against West Ham, with David Moyes' side creating a number of openings in the first half and Arnautovic causing real problems.
It was another tough afternoon for Shkodran Mustafi, who has made a number of glaring errors in recent weeks, but he was not alone. And while Atletico are set to be without Arsenal's old nemesis Diego Costa, it is not difficult to imagine Antoine Griezmann relishing the opportunity to get at their fragile backline.
Lacazette's form well timed
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied for the Europa League, Wenger opted to start with Lacazette in preparation for Thursday's game. The Frenchman followed his goal against Newcastle last week with a well-taken double, taking him to six from his last six appearances and 17 for the season overall.
Aubameyang's arrival in January looked like bad news for his first-team prospects, but the Frenchman appears to have used it as motivation. He has been excellent since returning from injury last month. Arsenal will be hoping his fine form continues against Atletico.
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