Hammers beaten at home by Arsenal

Robert Snodgrass in action against Arsenal

Three goals in nine second-half minutes by Arsenal turned Monday’s Premier League match at London Stadium upside down, with West Ham United defeated 3-1 by the visitors. 

Angelo Ogbonna had capped an impressive first half for the home side with a bullet header seven minutes from the interval, giving the Irons a deserved advantage. 

However Gabriel Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck after the hour to give victory to Freddie Llungberg’s Gunners.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini made one change to his starting XI from the midweek loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers last Wednesday, bringing Michail Antonio back into the side at the expense of Sebastien Haller. 

The returning attacker’s relentless work-rate almost paid dividends for the Hammers early on too, with Antonio pressuring Arsenal into returning the ball to West Ham. Captain Mark Noble passed to Felipe Anderson, who set up Antonio, but the forward’s effort from the edge of the area was over.

With Arsenal appearing content to play the ball across their back-line and wait for an opening, the onus was on the home side to pressure. Robert Snodgrass won the Irons a free-kick down on the edge of penalty area, with the Scotsman’s set-play falling to Pablo Fornals. The Spaniard’s volley was claimed by Bernd Leno.

Arsenal struggled to break through West Ham and were limited to one chance in the first period, as Aubameyang crossed for Mesut Ozil, who could only lift his header over the cross-bar. 

Antonio’s industrious nature continued to pay-off, with the striker capitalising on a failed clearance to force Leno to save low at his near post on 34 minutes, but the Irons would finally take a deserved lead four minutes later.

Snodgrass’ initial corner was cleared but Noble returned the ball immediately into the mixer. Rice smartly found Fornals and the Spaniard crossed. Up rose Ogbonna, meeting the ball with power, and his header found the net via a deflection off of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. While there were nerves during a VAR check on a potential handball, any concerns were proven unfounded. West Ham had the advantage over their London rivals.

It seemed the Irons were more likely to extend their lead than concede it as the second half opened. Snodgrass capitalised on an atrocious Arsenal back-pass to get a shot away, which was deflected wide for a corner, before setting up Rice to strike from 20 yards. The England international’s effort was held by Leno.

As the game ticked into the hour, Arsenal found an unlikely leveller. Substitute Sead Kolasinac played a low ball into the West Ham area, finding an unmarked Gabriel Martinelli. The Brazilian made no mistake with his first-time effort. 

Just six minutes later, having been behind, Arsenal took the lead. Pepe collected the ball on the right of the penalty area before curling an unstoppable effort past David Martin and into the net. 

West Ham seemed unsure how Arsenal had found a way back into the game and, before an answer could be reached, the away side had a third. Pepe’s dinked cross found captain Aubameyang, who steered home with a clever volley.

The Irons looked to bounce back with attacking duo Haller and Nathan Holland introduced, with the latter making his home Premier League debut. The Academy graduate saw a low shot collected by Leno as West Ham pressed into the closing minutes. 

However Arsenal held their lead through to full-time, taking the three points back to north London.

West Ham United: Martin; Fredericks, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell (Masuaku 50); Noble (c), Rice, Snodgrass (Holland 78), Fornals, F. Anderson (Haller 70); Antonio
Subs not used: Roberto, Zabaleta, Diop, Sanchez, 
Goals: Ogbonna 38,

Arsenal: Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Chambers, Tierney (Kolasinac 29); Torreira, Xhaka (Guendouzi 86), Ozil; Pepe (Nelson 88), Aubameyang (c), Martinelli
Subs not used: Martinez, Luiz, Saka, Lacazette
Goals: Martinelli 60, Pepe 66, Aubameyang 69

Referee: Mike Dean