The Premier League has resumed, and it meant only one thing; that Arsenal is back under the flood lights against London opposition West Ham United. This was also a special game because it marked Arsène Wenger’s return to the Emirates, this time in the supporting capacity, for the first time since he left the club in 2018. Arsenal picked up from where they left off before the World Cup break with a point to prove to the rest of the Premier League that Arsenal is truly back. The Gunners were victorious, 3-1, with goals from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah. The front three scored a hattrick and enlarged Arsenal’s points tally at the top of the summit to a whopping seven points clear. Zinchenko made a second half appearance following an injury he picked up before the World Cup which put the fans and players alike at ease, as his presence is dominating and he is essential .
The only change which came from Arsenal was predictable as Eddie Nketiah replaced the injured Gabriel Jesus to lead the front line. Arsenal have started as expected in dominant fashion and it did not take long until the Gunners took the lead through Bukayo Saka, but it was short lived as the linesman flag was raised for offside. Arsenal could have and should have taken the lead in the first half, but the dominance came to no avail. Against the run of play, West Ham went on a counterattack and Jarod Bowen was brought down by a miscalculated slide tackle by William Saliba. Saïd Behrama converted the penalty to make it 1 – 0 to West Ham.
After conceding the Gunners did not let their guard down and dominated possession with West Ham dropping deeper and deeper. At the break Arsenal found themselves 1 – 0 down but the game was far from over.
The second half started like the first concluded with Arsenal in total domination and possession. The message from Mikel Arteta was simple to be more direct as in the first half Arsenal tried to be cute and walk the ball into the net, instead of taking shots and run at the West Ham defenders with pace. It did not take Arsenal long and they equalised after a hoofed shot by Martin Ødegaard which found Bukayo Saka by mistake and he converted the chance to make the score 1-1.
And after the equalizer spirits were high as Arsenal with 71% to West Ham’s 29% possession were minutes away from scoring another goal and asking a lot of West Ham’s resilience. It took Arsenal just 5 minutes to come back from behind; Granit Xhaka found Gabriel Martinelli and was able to squeeze the ball past the reaches of Lukasz Fabianski. West Ham had a monstrous task in turning the game around as before Arsenal took the lead West Ham managed only 1 shot on target and that came from the penalty spot.
Even when Arsenal took the lead West Ham did not trouble Aaron Ramsdale in the Arsenal goal enough to show that they intended to get back in the game. Another impressive display by Arsenal put the game to bed as Ben White passed to Martin Ødegaard and then played a magical through ball to Eddie Nketiah to slot the ball in the back of the net with a neat little turn that put the ball in the back of the net.
Once again impressive win and performance by Arsenal which sees them seven points clear at the top of Premier League table ahead of Manchester City’s fixture on Wednesday. Next up we face Brighton away which will be a tough game and really test the boys’ integrity, but with the fans behind Eddie and a full 90 minutes under his belt, I think he will really come through for us alongside Saka and Martinelli, still a very strong front three despite Jesus’ absence.
Written by: Andrei Petrescu (@FluidArsenal)