HAMMERS NAIL ARSENAL
Rice strikes down Gunners as Nasri provides assist against his former club
The result takes West Ham to seventh spot
THAT autumnal unbeaten run has long been forgotten at Arsenal. Only Burnley, Fulham and Blackpool have fallen to Unai Emery’s team in the
last eight games in a spell that saw the gap between them and the likes of Liverpool cruelly exposed.
And on a grey January afternoon at the London Stadium, as the mid-winter begins to bite, West Ham put them firmly back in their place.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team have their own ups and downs, of course, but on an afternoon where home-grown Declan Rice shone, dominating the midfield and scoring his first goal for the club, this was definitely one of their better performances.
There was no heroic homecoming for unsettled Marko Arnautovic, who had one of those mercurial afternoons, where he offered only occasional glimpses of his class.
But there would be a crucial role for Samir Nasri, formerly of Arsenal 18-moth and drugs returning bans. Bizarrely, from an
footballers seem immune from the usual opprobrium reserved for drugs cheats so Nasri’s return to the Premier League after an FA Cup start last weekend attracted little comment. And on the basis of this display, he will have much to offer West Ham.
For Arsenal, the lack of strategy was confined to the pitch. Mesut Ozil has belatedly discovered that $450,000 a week doesn’t even get you on the bench at Arsenal these days. Three full backs and Eddie Nketiah were a considered better fit as back up options for this clash than the best-paid player in Arsenal history.But though this wasn’t the first time Unai Emery has excluded him from the squad – and both Ozil and Arsenal confirmed that he had trained all week and was available.
Matteo Guenduozi Arsenal players Laurent Koscienly and Pirre Emrick Aubameyang react after losing the match at the London Stadium. West Ham United’s Declan Rice (centre) heads the ball into the net in London on Saturday.