Hammers forced to settle for a point by Arsenal fightback


The Hammers celebrate Tomas Soucek's goal against Arsenal

West Ham United 3-3 Arsenal
Premier League

West Ham United had to settle for a point after seeing Arsenal fight back from a 3-0 deficit to draw 3-3 at London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Hammers roared out of the blocks and overwhelmed the Gunners in the early running, with Jesse Lingard's super strike, Jarrod Bowen's near-post finish and Tomáš Souček's close-range goal giving them a very healthy advantage inside 32 minutes.

Arsenal spent the rest of the game chipping away at the lead, though, with unfortunate own goals from Souček and Craig Dawson aiding their cause.

Michail Antonio hit the post as the Hammers looked to wrap the game up, but a fourth goal wouldn't come, and Arsenal took advantage by levelling late on through Alexandre Lacazette to ensure a frustrating end to a pulsating contest

West Ham were into their stride early on, pushing Arsenal back in the opening exchanges and getting a number of dangerous crosses into the box.

With 86 percent possession to their name in the first ten minutes, it felt as though the first goal was only a matter of time in coming - and it duly arrived in the 15th minute.

It was the man of the moment, Lingard, who broke the deadlock, receiving a pass from Antonio on the edge of the box, taking a touch and lashing a superb right-footed shot into the top corner and beyond Bernd Leno's drive.

Two minutes later it got even better for the Hammers. Antonio was fouled 25 yards from goal, and Lingard was alive to the situation, taking the free-kick quickly to Bowen in space to his right. With Arsenal sleeping, the Hammers No20 had all the space he needed to strike, squeezing the ball past Leno at the near post.

Following that burst, Arsenal began to establish more possession, yet it was the Hammers who struck again to establish a three-goal lead with 32 minutes on the clock.


Jarrod Bowen scores to make it 2-0

Vladimír Coufal was fed the ball by the touchline, and his first time cross was perfect for Antonio to attack in the centre. At first glance, it looked as though the home striker's downward header would go down as his goal, but replays showed that Souček had got a toe to the ball to ensure it would nestle in the net.

A look at the scoreboard told a scarcely-believable story, but Arsenal gave themselves hope by pulling one back seven minutes before the interval.

Callum Chambers engineered room to cross low from the right, and Lacazette controlled well, turned and struck powerfully for goal. His shot may have gone wide had it not been for an unfortunate nick off Souček's shin, which sent it whistling past Łukasz Fabiański's left hand.

Bukayo Saka wasted a chance to further cut the arrears before the break, striding through on goal, but taking the shot on early and failing to find the direction to beat Fabiański.

Arsenal maintained their pressure at the start of the second period and Lacazette was a whisker away from making it 3-2 on 47 minutes, getting in behind and dinking over Fabiański. The ball was goalbound, but Issa Diop got back just in time to hook off the line.

Just past the hour, Arsenal did have their second. The Hammers thought they should have had a free-kick when Bowen went down carrying the ball out of defence. The call went the other way, and Arsenal had the Hammers retreating. Chambers fired over a cross from the right and Dawson, tracking back towards his goal, could only divert it in. 

Arsenal, so far second best in that opening half-hour, were now right back in the contest, although they needed Kieran Tierney to make a couple of last-ditch blocks in quick succession to prevent shots from Bowen and Antonio finding the net.

Then 14 minutes from time, the Hammers were so close to sealing it when Saïd Benrahma burst into the box from the right flank and squared the ball across the six yard box. Antonio slid in and got his studs to the ball, but saw his effort strike the post and bounce to safety.

Six minutes later it was 3-3. Substitute Nicolas Pépé whipped over a dangerous cross from the right and Lacazette met it with a powerful header into the top corner.

Eight minutes remained for either side to find a winner, and despite both of them pushing, neither was able to find it on a quite remarkable afternoon.

West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Diop, Dawson, Cresswell, Rice, Souček, Bowen (Noble 74), Lingard, Benrahma (Fredericks 79), Antonio
Subs: Martin (GK), Trott (GK), Johnson, Balbuena, Alves, Lanzini, Odubeko

Goals: Lingard 15, Bowen 17, Souček 32

Booked: Coufal, Antonio, Cresswell

Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, David Luiz, Marí, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka (Smith Rowe 74), Saka (Pépé 74), Ødegaard, Aubameyang (Martinelli 81), Lacazette
Subs: Ryan (GK), Gabriel, Holding, Cédric, Elneny, Ceballos

Goals: Souček og 38, Dawson og 61, Lacazette 82

Booked: Lacazette

Referee: Jon Moss