Arsenal made it two wins from two games so far this season, after securing a hard-fought 2-1 victory over London rivals West Ham tonight at the Emirates.
Most people thought the game would be a walk in the park for Mikel Arteta’s rejuvenated Arsenal side after West Ham slumped to an abysmal 3-0 home defeat against Newcastle last weekend.
However, the Hammers reverted to three at the back, a move which seemed to stifle Arsenal from creating much going forward in the opening exchanges, while David Moyes’ side also looked a threat on the break.
Arsenal would make the breakthrough on 25 minutes though, Alexandre Lacazette powering home a header from a beautiful clipped cross from talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
On the stroke of half-time, West Ham would deservedly draw level, Michail Antonio sliding in to finish from a low Ryan Fredericks cross after a sweeping counter-attack.
After the break the Hammers and Antonio, in particular, continued to impress, the 30-year-old attacker almost bundling home a cross from close range before seeing a header crash off the bar.
Despite all of West Ham’s positive play, a lapse of concentration with five minutes to go would mean they would leave the Emirates empty handed, Spanish midfielder Dani Ceballos getting in behind the visitor’s defence and squaring for substitute Eddie Nketiah to tap home the winner into an empty net – the Gunners pair having been involved in a bust-up during the warm-up before the Fulham game just last week.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 19, 2020
Speaking afterwards, Gunners boss Arteta was delighted to get the win, although he admitted West Ham made life difficult for his side and that the north London outfit will have to improve as the season goes on.
“I’m thrilled with the three points. I said before the game how difficult it would be with the way they play,” Arteta told BBC Sport.
“We made it even more difficult in the first 15 minutes with the amount of balls we gave away and the open spaces we gave them to run into. I’m glad we found the right moment and kept competing and believing, with good momentum in the last 25 minutes.
“We created many other situations. But we gave too many opportunities to the opponent in the final third. There are still a lot of things we need to get better at.”
Arteta finished up by praising 21-year-old striker Nketiah for his match winning contribution.
“Eddie can do that every week. He’s hungry and has a great quality to score goals.”
Next up for Arsenal is an EFL Cup clash against Leicester City at the King Power stadium on Wednesday, before travelling to Anfield to face Premier League champions Liverpool next weekend.