Arsenal responded to Liverpool and Manchester City’s victories on Saturday with an emphatic 6-0 win over a dismal West Ham United at the London Stadium.
Arsenal’s statement win moved them level on points with City and just two points behind league leaders Liverpool, with their goal difference also receiving a significant boost.
Here are the five things we learned from Arsenal’s rout at the London Stadium…
Vast differences to last seasonEmbed from Getty Images
It was in this fixture last year that Arsenal’s title credentials started crumbling, blowing a two-goal lead and virtually handing the initiative to Manchester City. This time around, Arsenal banished those demons with a statement win at the London Stadium and are very much in with a chance of winning their first Premier League title since 2004.
Arsenal looked so much more mature and assured today and even when they were cruising at 6-0, West Ham never looked like getting a sniff in front of the Arsenal goal. Their game management along with their clinical prowess up top made it the perfect bit of revenge for Arsenal against West Ham.
Rice’s rampant return
Talk about a fairytale return to your boyhood club. After being booed on the ball in the opening 10 minutes, Rice blocked out the noise and delivered a masterclass at his old stomping ground – registering two assists and scoring an absolute stunner to inflict more damage on West Ham.Embed from Getty Images
Rice was classy on the pitch, including after he scored the goal, opting against celebrating and applauding all four corners of the London Stadium when he was subbed off. Even the West Ham fans couldn’t help but stand and cheer their former player who has made a huge impact in this Gunners midfield.
Saka’s superb showing
Saka’s missed penalty in this fixture last year was all too costly for Arsenal, but the young forward more than redeemed himself with the performance he put in today.
He stepped up to make amends from the spot to put Arsenal 2-0 up before weaving his way into the box in the second half and finishing emphatically. The West Ham defence simply could not get near him all day as he ran Emerson into the ground.Embed from Getty Images
It is now ten goals in the Premier League this year for Saka, helping to diminish the chatter around Arsenal’s lack of cutting-edge in front of goal.
Dismal day for West Ham
This was billed as being a really tricky game for Arsenal. West Ham are no pushovers at home and last season’s fixture would have certainly been playing on the minds of the Arsenal players. West Ham have also beaten Arsenal twice already this season which makes this result all the more difficult to process.
They were outfought, outthought and at times they seemed disinterested in closing Arsenal’s players down, with Martin Odegaard, in particular, having far too much license to dictate the game.Embed from Getty Images
Moyes said after the game that his team were weak and that the result is not a representation of the West Ham defence, which up until today had been reasonably solid.
Trossard and Havertz combination proves deadly
Without Gabriel Jesus today, Leandro Trossard was given a start up front. Arteta has been experimenting with two number 10s and Trossard and Kai Havertz operated in that system today and to devastating effect.
Trossard’s lovely curling finish made it 4-0 just before half-time but his all-round play was hugely encouraging. He was always collecting the ball in between the lines and was a constant nuisance with the runs he was making into the box.
Given the success of Arteta’s newfound tactic up front, and especially with how Trossard performed today, it looks like Arsenal have a temporary fix for the absence of Jesus.