Arteta: ‘We won ugly today’
Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta was delighted with his team’s performance, who he said had shown character in their 2-1 win over West Ham.
Arsenal moved back ahead of Tottenham in the race for Champions League qualification with a hard-fought 2-1 win at West Ham.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners were kicking off less than an hour after Spurs had climbed a point above them into fourth place in the Premier League with a 3-1 defeat of Leicester City.
West Ham, like Leicester, made changes ahead of the second leg of a European semi-final, but they gave Arsenal a stern examination in a match that took a little time to get going.
After a 38-minute wait for the first effort of note, Rob Holding and Gabriel Magalhaes were the unlikely Arsenal scorers either side of a Jarrod Bowen equaliser.
Eddie Nketiah’s low effort from the edge of the box was turned behind by Lukasz Fabianski seven minutes before the break, and the game burst into life from that moment. Arsenal were in front from the resulting corner as Holding got up ahead of Kurt Zouma to nod into the bottom-left corner for his first Premier League goal.
Back came West Ham, though, and after Aaron Ramsdale expertly kept out a header from Declan Rice, he was beaten by a deflected Bowen strike, with the winger given time and space to control and shoot inside the area.
But Arsenal were back in front nine minutes after half-time through Gabriel, their other centre-back, who was picked out by a fine Gabriel Martinelli cross and headed beyond Fabianski.
Nketiah should have taken the game away from West Ham but fired wide after cutting in from the left on the break, before the striker drew a sharp low stop from Fabianski.
However, the visitors were not made to pay for those squandered chances, holding on for a third straight victory that again puts them two points clear of Tottenham.
Holding (38′), Bowen (45′), Gabriel (54′)