Arsenal earn hard-fought victory over West Ham to return to the top-four

Arsenal have earned a difficult three points at the London Stadium to beat West Ham 2-1 this afternoon.

The Gunners made two changes in defender with both Rob Holding and Takehiro Tomiyasu making the starting line-up, with Ben White missing the trip with a hamstring injury.

The changes didn’t seem to bring an issue at the back though, with both players seeming calm and up to the task from early on, and neither side looked like being beaten during the early exchanges.

We took our first big chance of the half when Rob Holding shrugged off his marker to get the clean header away from the corner, and he placed it perfectly inside the post into the side netting.

That lead was short-lived however after Jarrod Bowen was found in the box by Coufal, who had managed to beat the offside trap down the right to get into space, with the forward somehow managing to guide his effort past the goalkeeper from the tight angle.

The late setback didn’t seem to shake our side as they came out in the second-half with a positive energy, and it paid off. We re-took the lead thanks to another corner, with the initial ball bouncing away before Martinelli spotted Gabriel Magalhaes at the far post, looping the ball neatly over the packed area for the defender to head home.

The Hammers did begin to build back into the game however, and we begun to focus on counter-attacking, and when Mo Elneny collected the ball in the box to run upfield, his ball through to Eddie Nketiah looked certain to be a goal, only for the English striker to put his effort narrowly wide of the far post.

The striker done extremely well up top with little support due to the way in which we were playing, and forced two fine saves from the goalkeeper also, but we did have to look on with frustration when seeing Tomiyasu have to be replaced by Cedric with him seeming to claim he had aggravated something. He played over 75% of the tie which may well have been too much, and we will have to hope for some good news on him in the coming days, while Saka also pulled up even later on also.

There was some late nonsense after Eddie Nketiah ruffled some feathers by obstructing their attempts to take a 90th minute free kick quickly, with Fredericks and Rice both getting in the face of our young striker, but it was a clever move by Eddie to give his side extra time to organise ourselves at a crucial point in the match.

Most importantly, we did hold out for the all-important three points to return to the Champions League places, whilst also closing the gap to third down to just three points also.

Could our growing injury list be our biggest obstacle to overcome in the last few matches?


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Video – Mikel Arteta Talks about Arsenal’s massive win over West Ham, injuries and the teams “character”

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  1. Holding is my MOTM for scoring our first goal and his crucial blocks. Arsenal were very cautious, but our attacking set-pieces were great

    1. Apart from not scoring Nketiah was great today and still proving why he should’ve been starting over Laca and even Auba ages ago this season. I wish he could’ve scored because his performance deserved it a he tormented the West Ham backline and had the beating of Zouma most times. He’s really close but not there yet.

        1. I thought his hold-up play was great in this match. Due to the fact that eh hasn’t played a lot he always wants to quickly finish off chances to impress. What he needs to do is stay calm before taking chances. He ahs a natural goalscoring ability and I see it in his movement and poaching like Auba.

          1. Nketiah is a talented striker and it’ll be a waste of opportunity if we lose him. The most ideal scenario is he stays to compete with the new CF

            1. I personally don’t see Arsenal spending money to sign two pure CF’s. What I think they’d do is one CF and maybe another winger who can also operate as a No. 9 based on outgoings. There are other areas of the team we have to improve and we don’t spend very big as you know. Already from the last window I’m seeing some mistakes we’ve made but that talk is for another day. We need to be spend wisely.

              1. Yeah. I also predict we’ll sign one CF only, that would most likely be our marquee signing next season

            2. Fully agree with you on Nketiah GAI.
              He’s got talent and it would be a waste of money to let him go. I like that he’s always trying to score goals.
              Signing Gabriel Jesus and having Nketiah to compete for the striker position next season would be perfect.
              There will be plenty of games to play for Nketiah with EPL, Europe and domestic cups.

            3. I disagree. A more natural goalscorer would have taken those chances, and to my mind he’s just falling short every time. He could do very well at a club like Palace.

      1. @kevv
        Agree Nketiah was very good today as well.
        But I think, he has gained some muscle and imroved his attitude over the season. earlier he wasn’t ready. Kudos to the ciaches.

        1. I disagree. He was already this way in preseason and even in his cameos he looked like he could score but he got ignored for Laca time and time again. I was rooting for him to start over Laca weeks before the Chelsea match.

        2. If Nketiah was very good, why didn`t he score. He was not good at all! Sme old, same old! We need a top class striker who can get us goals.

      2. Nheketia needs to keep his head in front of goal, as he misses to many clear cut chances.
        Arsenal scoring goals from set pieces. Who would have thought it? The specialist coach is earning his money.
        Well done today for the win.

        1. He has been brilliant both offense and defense in set pieces. He is my MVP that set pieces coach, recruiting him was brilliant.
          I agree Eddie improved a lot, he has been really good since he started to get involved.

      1. We could be five points away from Spuds if Liverpool beat them. I’ll be disappointed if we don’t finish in the fourth place

    2. Again proving that White was not a necessity compared to other positions like a striker, and I would dare to say may be even midfeilders.

  2. Wasn’t great performance by any stretch but Massive 3 points.

    Got to learn how to pass to people wearing the same shirt as you I think for the next game..pffff!

  3. This was an above average performance and I don’t know why we intended to make it difficult wit ha lot of cheap giveaways. Tomiyasu once again proving why he’s undoubtedly our best defender and was the MOTM up until the point he was subbed. The team hasn’t found the right balance between attack and defense. It’s a win that papers over many cracks but kudos to the team for holding on to the lead.

    1. Many cracks and competing for 3-5’th spot??
      Maybe not so many cracks in reality?

      1. The position doesn’t shock me. I predicted us to finish 4th weeks back before even those losses to Crystal Palace and Southampton because I believed neither Spurs nor Man Utd were consistent enough to beat us to that position. 3rd will be an overachievement but 4th was where I was expecting us to finish. Having said that, there are still many cracks in this team that is clear. The league position doesn’t tell everything.

  4. We were lucky with Ramsdale challenge. Some referee might award it as red.
    Nketia looks tired but on attack he was superb.
    We really miss KT, Taveres isn’t anywhere near good enough atm hopefully he improve, even Martinelli disappointed me today

    Great win, ironically, we won games we thought we’ll lose and lost the games we thought we’ll win

    We are up against 2 relegation threatened teams, Leeds and Everton, am nervous

      1. I think Arsenal would have more difficult games compared to Spurs. We will be playing Leeds/Everton who will be fighting to prevent relegation. There is Newcastle who is trying fighting to impress. Lastly, Spurs fighting for 4th place with us.

    1. It was mike dean too. shocked he didn’t give a red. honestly the yellow could’ve gone to either Ramsdale or Bowen, but Bowen went down too early. Ball going away from goal means not Red tho, but we all know some refs dont care and VAR would not have overturned it.

      1. It shows that Mike Dean is not biased against arsenal. He is transparent. The red cards we got in the past were deserved.

        1. Ramsdale said in the interview after that Bowen got straight up and admitted it. Just saying, why I found the yellow weird.

      2. It was because of Bowen that ramsdale wasn’t booked. Bowen went to Mike Dean and said something in Ramsdales defence and you can clearly see Mike Dean say “thank you,I appreciate that” and shook Bowens hand. Good sportsmanship from Bowen

  5. 3 points is what matters. the defensive performance after we took the lead was very good from everyone and West Ham hardly had a chance after that. Well done. Now to Leeds, who we CANNOT underestimate. We’ve gotta give our all there as well

  6. Arsenal won ugly and saw through the game. I think that’s the big difference from the Arsenal of the yesteryears. Big win imo.

  7. Not pretty but who cares?Today Holding showed again the importance of depth squad.i don’t know if it’s luck but I’m grateful that so called “flops” like Elneny,Holding…are doing a good job for us when called upon.

  8. Great performance but we failing to take advantage of their tired legs is what am dissapointed of,a very important win by the way.leeds up next.

  9. 20 wins out of 34 games is impressive, Liverpool have won 5 games more, Chelsea have 19 wins out of 34.

    Get a top forward that gap will close, because Liverpool and city are pretty much at the top of their potential IMO…

    1. We have massively improved this season. With the right personnel the coach has done a good job.

  10. Martinelli and Tavares partnership is not it at all. Too much space behind for opponents. The very weak point Westham explored. This must change

    1. Tavares is an awful player, at large parts of games he looks amaturish. Cedric most play LB until the end of season, or god forbid we lose points because of him, as we almost did today and against United.

      1. Agreed , going forward he is pretty tasty , it’s just a shame he is also tasked with defending and being able to pass the ball to a teammate both of which he fails at 9/10!

        1. Aside speed he offers nothing going forward too. His decisions in the final third are off 9 times out of 10. We just have to keep managing him we ve got no option. I hope in God’s name Tomiyasu hasn’t developed a serious injury.

  11. 9points in the last 3 difficult games.
    Unbelievable! Something to be definitely proud of.
    Kudos to the team and the manager on the win

  12. Great three points.
    Keeps up the pressure.

    Great three “dross” players.
    Holding, Xhaka and Elneny.

    Great three pitch leaders.
    Gabriel, Xhaka and Ramsdale.

    Great three young players.
    Xaka, Martinelli and Odegaard.

    Great three wins MA!!!
    Chelsea, WHU and Manure.

    That’s the consistency that brings success and our coach regarding set pieces (forgot his name) is working wonders.

        1. No one in this thread, I admit.
          I am sorry, but I just thought he deserved some praise too

          1. Not on ANY thread I believe and he has been getting a lot of credit on this thread – I’m surprised you haven’t noticed it!!

  13. Yeah you look at are GD compared to the top 3 it’s not pretty. A top striker is what were missing ATM get 2 good-uns in and we’ll take a huge jump forward. Supplement that with a new right back, looks like Norton-Cuffy could be the lad to step up and save us a couple of million.

    More than likely Elneny will get a short extension maybe a 2 year contract but we still need another 2, 3 if Xhaka goes. 1 box to box, 1 no# 6, Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice would be nice if we can get champions league football. Upfront go big or go home is what I say, get Nkethia to extend as a backup. Whether hell stay to back up our main man I don’t know. For his career I think he would be better staying for another contract at least.

    I would send Balogun on loan again he’s at the age where he needs to be playing, just like Saliba not sat on our bench. Saliba is in the French team cause he’s playing regularly. He wouldn’t have done that with us, I don’t think the boss wants to trust the 21 year old as the pinch pin of our defence just yet.

    But 3 massive games down 4 massive games to go. Hopefully Liverpool give Spurs a hiding next sat evening and we follow up with a win against Leeds and the 5pt gap. We have to beat Newcastle away and Everton home then the spurs game is irrelevant.

    The spuds have a tough game against a reguvinated Burnley fighting for their lives to stay in the league. Was disappointing to see Leicester field a team short of 9 first teamers today. Suppose they have a shot at silverware and Europa qualification so you can’t blame them. West ham may pay Thursday for their exertion today but who know we stuffed a better Frankfurt team a few years back.

    Onwards to the next game now

      1. Would very nice wouldn’t it, I think that could be the big sell to the boys if LFC do what they should and we beat Leeds. You be spurs and your in the champions league shouldn’t need much mor motivation should they

  14. One team I think that might actually give us a tough run is Newcastle.
    They have won 4 of the last 5 matches and lost only to Liverpool side with a single goal.

  15. At this stage, it’s result over performance so good to have the 3 pts. Nketiah always keep defenders on their toes which is a good thing. I wish he Improves on his finishes though.

    Next weekend
    Arsenal win Leeds.
    Liverpool win spurs
    Then it’s 5 pts ahead of spurs. Draw against spurs later on then we have top 4 In our hands. Hoping this pans out…

    1. then we need to beat newcastle away to secure it. And they’re capable of getting a result. Essentially WDW ends the top 4 race.

  16. Massive ugly three points, honestly I would take four more of those wins all through the month of May

  17. Absolutely loved that win, and it’s a sign of good team. Not at our best, mainly the first half, but we get the win, and we deserved it.

    Very solid second half as well. People may think that Saka and Martinelli didn’t play great, but that would be ignoring the amazing defensive shift they put in.

  18. I think most of us and myself certainly rapidly need to eat some HUMBLE PIE, where Eddie Nketiah is concerned.

    I have been prominent in saying , MANY TIMES TOO, that he is not up to snuff.

    Well I was WRONG and how!

    Since this latest mini run of games thanks to Laca’s timely(for Eddie, that is) injury, Eddie has looked transformed from a skinny half decent poacher, to a proper and effective central striker.

    I NOW think we must attempt to keep him and offer him a long contract, though not on crazy money, even so. And I AM EVEN ENJOYING MY VERY NECESSARY HUMBLE PIE!! I recommend it to many others.

    1. That’s the way to go, Mr. Fox.
      Operation top four is on.
      We need to believe as a House. We are the Arsenal.

    2. I agree Jon, he’s growing with every game. Should have score 2 today mind. If he were a 26-27 year old I think the 2 efforts he had would have hit the back of the net

    3. Yes Jon.

      Nketiah is tough now. Seems he has built some muscle. I’m impressed with his aggression.

      The club should give him a contract extension.

      Elneny also, he stepped up when we needed him the most. He is tidy on the ball. Good in the air. Always doing the simple things. He never complained. He deserves a contract extension as well.

      Great win today. Good job Arteta

      3 wins and 1 draw will give us top4.

      Spurs will lose against Liverpool

      Saint Totteringham day loading.

      1. Plus if Liverpool beat spurs and we beat Leeds the Spurs then by a week Thursday could be St Totteringhams day if we beat them at the toilet bowl

    4. I’m still waiting to see the finishing. The goals he had scored have largely come from forcing mistakes (which is not to be sniffed at as he does force mistakes quite often!), but in spite of his reputation, I haven’t seen anything to suggest he’s a very good finisher – so he’s largely doing what laca was up until very recently: contributing well, being a great team player, but not looking that dangerous in front of goal himself.

      Agree broadly with what you’ve said, though, as he’s been playing really well lately. As I’ve said before, his attitude is first rate so I wouldn’t be against keeping him on. Even if he doesn’t find that goalscoring touch in the future, I could see him moving to another position and doing well.

    5. Sorry Jon
      Don’t share your sentiment with Eddie.
      Will do us a turn until the end of the season but we need to invest in a top cf to put the ball In the back of the net
      If Eddie puts one of his two good chances away and we settle down
      He has stepped up to come in for lacca but never a starter for us next season
      4 to go and we are almost there
      Fingers cross 3rd is back on within our sight again
      Onwards and upwards

      1. Alan, A week or two ago I myself would not have shared my “own sentiment”, so I cannot argue too much with your view , which WAS mine but no longer is
        But we all know we need not one but TWO stikers and we have one here who JUST MAY be one of the two we need, IF he will accept the contract that, it is said, awaits his signature. LACA is clearly going and I say good to that!

        Kroenke is not made of money , if you will pardon the inaccurate cliche and I HONESTLY think, Eddie may change his mind and agree to sign again.

        I see no reason for his clear and rather sudden improvement to stop now and so I have to back my view against yours. But I mean no criticism whatsoever of your view, since it was mine too, EXTREMELY RECENTLY!

  19. Tavarez is always a disaster in waiting..very poor awareness ,,very poor in defense and very poor attacking wise

  20. Look at the bright side as one of the guys said above, beat Leeds and Spurs were top 4. That’s now the aim 2 massive games and Newcastle and Everton won’t matter

  21. 5th spot is the lowest we could get this season and 3rd is highly positive with Chelsea inconsistent form

  22. For me atm is 3 points. It’s better to win ugly than to play well and loose. Holding, Elnely, Nketia and even Xhaka were great. Others did well too. Congratulations to the boys and well done arteta.
    Having said that, arteta should manage the small squad we have by making changes on time. We can’t afford to loose some important players now. It’s not yet over. Four matches is still a long way to go.

  23. Just a timely observation regarding Nketiah – he was, of course signed by our previous manager Arsene Wenger in 2015 I believe.

    Must say, however, that I tend to agree with AB – but if Mikel keeps playing him and he agrees to sign the contract on offer, he could become a very good squad player.

    1. OMG Ken
      We finally semi agreed on something
      Took 34 games but really feel we have connected now 🤗

  24. Aside speed he offers nothing going forward too. His decisions in the final third are off 9 times out of 10. We just have to keep managing him we ve got no option. I hope in God’s name Tomiyasu hasn’t developed a serious injury.

  25. Am very surprised of Eddie performance recently, earlier in the season the gaffer had give him a run in the team keeping Laca out but he did absolutely nothing.

    He was definitely one of the better performer today if not the best

  26. What a nice end to the Amazon Documentary snatching 4th at Spurs. And that famous Nigel Ferage quote ” You all laughed at us, well your not laughing now are you”

  27. Thank you Gunners for a job Welldone, its not easy to beat westham( Derby game) at their home ground, top 4 is loading, three more wins to achieve that… COYG…..

  28. Massive 3 points.

    Beat Leeds next weekend, Liverpool beat Spurs and we are 5points clear. Beat Spurs at their home turf and that’s top4 cemented.

    Chelsea have 3 home games I expect them to win to get 3rd.

    Hopefully Liverpool tank Spurs for that Goal Diffeernce and we can get a good 3/4, goals v Leeds.

    I can slightly hear the champions league music in the back of my mind….
    Cmon Arsenal. Well done boys!!

    1. Once (and if) Arsenal gets there some real money has to be spent to strengthen first choice positions.

  29. “We took our first big chance of the half when Rob Holding shrugged off his marker”

    That’s journalism-speak for “… wrestled himself free of an octopus that was trying to keep hold of him”.

  30. I know everyone is rigjtly focused on top four but surprised that there is barely a mention of the fact that, with this win, Arsenal has clinched top six (unless I’ve got my math wrong).

    Given our start I’d say that’s a pretty good worse case scenario achievement. Now let’s get third…

    1. I much agree and to his credit , so will fairfan, who has been predicting 5th or 6th all season long. Third is unrealistic given th fixures Chelsea have and their goal difference too.

      Fourth is now more likely than not but I would noT wish to boast that its almost done, as some are foolishly, IMO, doing on this thread.

      1. I wouldn’t rule out 3rd as yet Jon
        Stranger things have happened at the end of the season games
        Wolves will definitely test chelski next week as will Leeds us
        But can see us again picking up 3 points and wolves nicking a draw or win at the bridge
        The spuds are still clinging on but hopefully pool be the first of a few nails in there coffin for 4th spots
        Us driving the final one in when we take a minimum of a draw at the there ground
        Oh lord I wish we could have taken a win from Brighton or Southampton and given ourselves a bit of wiggle room
        My nerves are starting to feel shot and still 4 to go
        Onwards and upwards

        1. If it was anybody else other than Spurs in the two-horse race I’d be feeling quite calm – I would have happily taken fifth at the start of the season (along with a recognised style of play, passion and young player development- tick, tick, tick)

          But its Spurs so my nerves will be shot by the 22nd May.

  31. Same thought occurred to me.

    7th is not EL yet since if WH win the EL then the place doesn;t go to the 7th club, so Wolves may yet be disappointed.

    3rd shouldn’t happen, but Chelski are looking like a bunch of players who don’t expect to be there next season. With their klepto oligarch gone, they see the writing on the wall. So… maybe.

  32. I don’t think Tavares is good enough to wear the Arsenal T-shirt, even as a sub. Poor in defense, poor going forward. Losing crucial balls in defense…

  33. Low quality game and worrying lack of creativity again, cant think of a player that stood out but all that counted today was the 3 points and nothing else at all.

  34. Share the humble pie regarding Nketien, great to see Holding finally get one, Tomyasu back, another big tick, nothing wrong with the three points. So far I am two out of two with my predictions for final run down. Still think we’ll beat Spurs and Everton, draw at Leeds and lose to Newcastle with today’s lineup and performance. It was butt ugly. The manager got away with one.

    1. We may not have to beat Spurs, the have Liverpool next, we probably just need to win at most 3 from 4. All in our hands and we control our destiny.

  35. Yes, and there’s also the factor that Chelsea are turning Spursy although their schedule looks a lot easier on paper.

  36. What a performance and what grit shown by our players. The crucial thing now is not to let our guard down till the end of the season and CL football is ours.

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