Arsenal have moved back into the top four after a crucial 2-1 victory over West Ham at the London Stadium. The game got off to a very slow start and the deadlock was only broken when Rob Holding rose high from a corner to nod the Gunners in front.
Their lead didn’t last long though as Jarrod Bowen’s half volley deflected of Gabriel past Aaron Ramsdale right on the stroke of halftime. Not long after the break Arsenal were back in front though as Gabriel Martinelli latched on to a second ball from another corner and crossed to Gabriel who nodded home.
From then on it was a tense game for the Gunners who devastatingly saw Takehiro Tomiyasu go off injured yet again on his return to the side. Eddie Nketiah meanwhile had some good chances. Here are some of the things football.london noticed at the game.
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Arteta gets angry with Saka
As Arsenal started to hold on to the lead towards the end of the game there were plenty of the dark arts on display. Bukayo Saka was one of the practitioners as he went down injured conveniently just as West Ham were about to take a free kick.
This prompted a furious reaction from the home crowd at the London Stadium, but Mike Dean was not too sympathetic, and after telling Saka to get up on several occasions, he promptly told Aaron Cresswell to continue with play. This left a massive space on the right-wing spot where Saka should have been defending wide open.
Cue fury from Mikel Arteta who could be seen yelling at the England international telling him to get back up again and into position. In fairness to Saka he was substituted off late in the game for Emile Smith Rowe so maybe he was injured after all.
Xhaka’s captaincy decision
There has been plenty of controversy around the captaincy at Arsenal this season ever since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left the club. Alexandre Lacazette has generally assumed the role but having been out of the team recently someone else has had to take charge.
Kieran Tierney is next in line but after being ruled out for the season Martin Odegaard has taken on the skipper duties. However, as the Norwegian was subbed for Albert Sambi Lokonga late in the game it begged the question who’s next in line?
Granit Xhaka has had his far share of controversy with the armband having lost it after a bust-up with the fans against Crystal Palace in 2019 and been accused of refusing it during a game earlier this season. However, with Odegaard coming off the Swiss international took the armband instead. A sign that he’s in line for more of an official leadership role next season perhaps.
Rice and Nketiah fight
As previously mentioned towards the end of the game Arsenal resorted to a few tactics to slow the momentum down as they hung on for a crucial three points in the race for the top four. Eddie Nketiah was another willing participant and stood in front of a Cresswell freekick late in the game.
This prompted a furious reaction from the West Ham defender who grabbed Nketiah by the shirt prompting a melee that saw almost all the players on the pitch to get involved. Eventually, the players all separated and moved away before Nketiah was booked, but Declan Rice wanted more.
He went to square up to Nketiah who was willing to stand his ground and shout back a bit. This prompted Rice to yell “shut your mouth” in the direction of the Arsenal striker. With his impressive performance though, it’s unlikely Nketiah will be losing too much sleep over the bit of argy-bargy that ended the game.
Source by Football London