Hammers are undone as Arsenal press on for the top four

West Ham United v Arsenal – Premier League – London Stadium – Report

West Ham United 1-2 Arsenal

West Ham United found themselves wanting defensively as Arsenal – chasing Champions League football next season – won this hard-fought Premier League derby at the London Stadium.

With the tank running on empty, unsurprisingly, the East Londoners have looked out of sorts lately. Thursday’s defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt appeared to have deflated David Moyes’ men further: “I’m disappointed in Thursday night’s result, but we’ve moved on,” the Scotsman explained.

“The game’s gone now, so looking forward to the next game. 

“We’ve moved on quite quickly. We’re getting ready for the Arsenal game now. 

“We’ll be happy to talk about the second leg next week, but at the moment we’re considering Arsenal,” he added.

Rather surprisingly, and with that huge Europa League semi-final second-leg in mind, Moyes didn’t tinker too much with his starting line-up. Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen started, while Mark Noble was drafted in after featuring during the heartbreaking late defeat at Chelsea.

The Gunners headed across town eyeing up a top-four place off the back of notable victories over Chelsea and Manchester United. Nevertheless, the opening period proved to be a slow burner with chances coming at a premium. Indeed, almost half an hour had passed before Pablo Fornals fired the first reasonable opening high over the Gunners bar.

Rob Holding put his body on the line to block from Manuel Lanzini, while Rice drove into Aaron Ramsdale’s midriff as the home side probed a little deeper. 

Eddie Nketiah forced Lukasz Fabianski into a terrific one-handed save after skipping through the Hammers’ rearguard. And from the resulting flag-kick, Holding rose unchallenged to direct beyond the Polish stopper and hand the North Londoners the lead.

But a minute before the interval West Ham levelled. Vladimir Coufal fashioned the opening – Bowen firing, left-footed, past Ransdale much to the relief of the home crowd. It was the former Hull City man’s tenth goal of the season.

Fabianski denied Bukayo Saka at the foot of an upright. But again, West Ham were undone from a set-piece. Martinelli recycling the resulting corner – Gabriel diving headlong to restore the Gunners’ earlier advantage. 

With the game now wide open, Nketiah blazed wide when provided with a great chance to kill the contest. Soon after, Fabianski was forced to save low to his left from the same man as Arsenal broke with purpose. 

A late West Ham rally never really materialised. Moyes’ men are now four without a win in the Premier League. Their top six hope now looking extremely unlikely.

West Ham United now turn their attention to the UEFA Europa League where they face Eintracht Frankfurt at the Deutsche Bank Park on Thursday, May 5 in a semi-final second-leg tie. They return to Premier League action on Sunday, May 8 when they take on Norwich City at Carrow Road

West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Zouma, Cresswell, Fredericks, Noble (Capt) (Souček 77′), Rice, Benrahma (Yarmolenko 81′), Lanzini (Antonio 71′), Fornals, Bowen Subs not used: Areola (GK), Masuaku, Diop, Alese, Král, Vlašić

Booked: Jarrod Bowen (simulation), Aaron Cresswell (ungentlemanly conduct) 

Goals: Jarrod Bowen 45′

Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu (Soares 77′), Holding, Gabriel, Tavares, Xhaka, Elneny, Saka (Smith Rowe 87′), Ødegaard (Capt) (Lokanga 90+1′), Martinelli, Nketiah Subs not used: Leno (GK), Swanson, M’hand, Kirk, Pépé, Lacazette

Booked: Saka (foul), Nketiah (time-wasting)

Goals: Rob Holding 38′, Gabriel 54′

Referee: Mike Dean

Assistants: Ian Hussin and Darren Cann

Fourth Official: Simon Hooper

VAR: Darren England

Assistant VAR: Matthew Wilkes

Attendance: 59.959

Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk