Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal scores his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on December 15, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images
Arsenal moved into the top four on Wednesday night as Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe strike in the second-half to secure a vital 2-0 win over ten-men West Ham in the Premier League.
All the talk pre-match centred around the dethroned captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was not considered for selection off the back of him being stripped of the armband. Alexandre Lacazette led the line in his stead.
Mikel Arteta opted to make no changes to his back five for the third match running, while the midfield duo of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka kept their places. So too did Martin Odegaard.
It was in the forward line where the biggest decision would come, with a tussle for the spot on the left won by Gabriel Martinelli to ensure that the same team was fielded three matches running.
It was a purposeful start from Arsenal who pressed and counter-pressed with more conviction than they have done in weeks. A makeshift Hammers backline was there to be got at.
No goals came in the first half with the hosts seeing two penalty appeals waved away, and while the chances were few and far between until the latter stages barring Kieran Tierney’s thunderous drive being tipped onto the crossbar, it was a positive and energised display.
The goal came shortly after half-time as Lacazette’s wonderfully weighted through ball fed Martinelli in and the Brazilian channeled his inner No. 14 with a lovely finish into the far corner.
Arsenal then won a very dubious penalty that saw Coufal sent off for a second yellow card, one Lacazette won and, for the first time in his Gunners career, one he missed.
Unable to consolidate the win, Smith Rowe finally wrapped the points up with a delightful low strike from outside the box to move the Gunners into the top four