Arsenal climb into top four at the expense of West Ham after win over Hammers
In this article, we will take a look at some of the key takeaways from Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal turning on some style in their 2-0 win over West Ham at the Emirates Stadium as the Gunners climb into the top four after consecutive wins while earning their first points against a side that sat above them in the table.
Gabriel Martinelli pushes for first-choice minutes
When you get your chance in the first team you better take it, and that is exactly what Arsenal starlet Gabriel Martinelli did tonight after the Brazilian U23 international put in another credible display under Mikel Arteta.
Martinelli capped his third consecutive start for the club with a well-taken goal just after the interval when Alexandre Lacazette slipped him through the West Ham defensive lines before he slotted past former Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabiański three minutes after the break.
This finish from Gabriel Martinelli 🤤
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 15, 2021
It was Martinelli’s second goal in his last five matches for Arsenal, while he has also managed two assists in the same time frame. But his performance was so much more than his second goal of the season. His pace when running the channels, ability to press and regain possession in West Ham’s defensive third of the pitch, and general all-around play that painted a picture of yet another young gun in north London that looks set to work his way into Mikel Arteta’s thinking.
Lacazette-led Arsenal front four turned on the style
The absence of former Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang once again did little to disrupt the Gunners as they marched to their second consecutive win in the Premier League, and his replacement as keeper of the armband in Alexandre Lacazette can hold his head high after he proved his credentials in the number 9 role once more.
Alexandre Lacazette has now provided as many Premier League assists for Arsenal as Ian Wright (19).
Putting it on a plate for Gabriel Martinelli. 🍽 pic.twitter.com/tg8MoTpUU9
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 15, 2021
Though the former Olympique Lyonnais star is widely expected to leave the club in the summer and opt to not sign a contract extension in north London, Lacazette led the line expertly today while also bringing out the best of the trio of youngsters around him.
The Frenchman ran himself ragged for 88-minutes while providing the assist in Martinelli’s opener and offering a forward pivot that linked the forward line together well in conjunction with creative outlet Martin Ødegaard. Though Lacazette went on to have his second-half penalty saved after he was judged to have been brought down in the area by Czech international Vladimír Coufal, his multifaceted platform as a number 9 proved vital throughout.
West Ham struggling amid a two-front campaign
The worry for West Ham was always going to be how the club kicked on after their highly successful 2020-21 Premier League campaign that saw them finish sixth and push the top-flight elite all the way till the end of the season.
David Moyes and the club brass certainly did target reinforcements over the summer after successfully bringing in Kurt Zouma, Craig Dawson, and Nikola Vlašić in full deals while also securing Alex Kral and Alphonse Areola on season-long loans, but the jam-packed fixture list which includes their Europa League commitments this season threw a potential monkey wrench into the mix.
Now, West Ham is in the midst of an injury crisis at the back as both the aforementioned Zouma as well as Angelo Obgonna are both dealing with long term injury issues (Ogbonna is out for the season) while the club still has just Jamaican international Michail Antonio as it’s only recognized center-forward. With thread-bare options in key positions, the Hammers winning just once in their last six Premier League fixtures and now slipping out of the top four perhaps should not come as a surprise to anyone.