With Arsenal cruising to a 6-0 thrashing of West Ham in the Premier League, Mikel Arteta’s bench had a message for their manager during the second-half with the result emphatically wrapped up. The Gunners embarrassed their London rivals away from home, producing a statement win in their quest for the title.
William Saliba put Arsenal on their way to victory with a header from a Declan Rice corner in the 32nd minute before Bukayo Saka doubled the visitors’ lead from the penalty spot. Gabriel then made it 3-0 after latching onto another cross from former Hammers midfielder Rice.
Arsenal then continued to run riot, with Leandro Trossard putting his side four goals to the good with a fine curling strike in the 44th minute – which led to West Ham fans flocking the London Stadium in their numbers. And things got a whole lot worse in the second half for the home side.
With West Ham devoid of any confidence, their problems escalated even more early on in the second half with Saka getting his second of the match with a neat finish. Their misery was then compounded by former fan favourite Rice with the goal of the game.
There was still 25 minutes remaining for Arsenal to make it even worse for West Ham, and with the victory firmly in the bag, Arsenal’s bench appeared in a very relaxed mood. Speaking post-match, Arteta revealed the players behind him in the dugout had a message for him.
Arteta said: “There is something that you have to earn in your team and that is the trust of your team-mates. I had two things. One, the players on the bench whispering ‘bring Ethan in!’, which is a great thing to hear. The other thing is for your team-mates to give you the ball all the time.
“If they do that, it’s because they really trust you and you only have to see how many times he was involved in that. So it’s a great sign.”
Arteta clearly has plenty of trust in 16-year-old Nwaneri to hand him first-team experience, bringing him on in the 77th minute at the London Stadium. It’s his second opportunity under the Spaniard after he made Premier League history last year.
Arteta gave the highly-talented teenager his debut against Brentford away from home last season, in which he became the youngest ever player in the Premier League at the age of 15 years and 151 days. He’ll likely get plenty more game time in Arsenal red and white with high hopes for the youngster.