Arsenal ran absolutely riot at West Ham as they produced the perfect follow-up to their statement Liverpool victory which put them firmly back in the title race. Goals from William Saliba, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel, Leandro Trossard and Declan Rice handed the Gunners an astonishing 6-0 win over their rivals. Here, Express Sport takes a look at some of the biggest takeaways from the London Stadium this afternoon…
ARTETA GETS HIS WISH
After Arsenal thrashed Crystal Palace 5-0 at the Emirates to get their campaign back on track after the mid-season break, Mikel Arteta called on his centre-back pairing to score more goals from set pieces after the duo both netted in that game.
And his demand was met once again this afternoon as Saliba set Arsenal on their way to victory with a free header before Gabriel latched onto a delightful Declan Rice cross to make it 3-0 in the 44th minute.
It is now 16 goals from set pieces, excluding penalties, in the Premier League this season – more than any other team. It’s a key tactic of Arsenal’s and with the centre-back pairing’s formidable presence in dangerous scenarios, don’t be surprised for that tally to add up even more come the end of the campaign.
RICE PLOY PAYS OFF
During the mid-season break, Arsenal focused on their set-pieces both in attack and defence, and with that a key change was made. In their first match back after a couple of much-needed weeks off, Rice was seen on corners against Palace and got an assist for Gabriel’s opening goal of that game.
And that theme continued in east London as Rice grabbed two assists from set-pieces, first for Saliba’s header and then again for Gabriel’s finish. His consistency with his deliveries is massively paying off for the Gunners and no side will have it easy when defending corners and free-kicks against Arteta’s men.
… AND HAMMERS HAUNTED BY ENGLAND STAR
If his two set-piece assists weren’t enough to rub salt into West Ham wounds, things were made a whole lot worse with Arsenal fans singing ’10 more years, 10 more years Declan Rice’ to the home supporters – who flocked the stadium in their thousands at the end of the first-half as they went 4-0 down.
But it soon got even worse for the sickened home fans as Rice curled home a delightful sixth goal for Arsenal with 25 minutes of the match remaining, leaving Alphonso Areola with absolutely no chance.
A STRIKER NEEDED AFTER ALL?
There has been so much talk of Arteta needing a clinical striker to lead Arsenal’s title charge – and until then there has been the assumption that his side will fall short in their quest for ultimate glory. But when the Gunners are on it, they are one of the best attacking forces around regardless.
They were punishing teams left, right and centre last season and with Gabriel Jesus to return to this side, they have so many players to chip in with the goals – as was evident today. Arteta won’t be too worried in this respect…