Lacazette strike extends Arsenal's unbeaten run
LONDON: A goal from substitute Alexandre Lacazette earned Arsenal a hard-fought 1-0 win over a wasteful West Ham United side at the Emirates on Saturday, extending the Gunners’ unbeaten Premier League run to eight matches and boosting their top-four hopes.
Both sides struck the woodwork in the first half but the visitors had the better chances and goalkeeper Bernd Leno came to Arsenal’s rescue with an excellent save from Michail Antonio after the break.
Mikel Arteta’s side found the breakthrough when Lacazette fired home from a Mesut Ozil knockdown, although the Frenchman’s celebrations were delayed after the goal was initially ruled out for offside before a VAR review overturned the decision.
The result moved Arsenal ahead of Burnley into ninth place, level on 40 points with eighth-placed north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. West Ham remained 16th on 27 points, outside the relegation zone only on goal difference.
"I'm really happy with the result because big teams find a way when they don't have the best day - which is obvious, it wasn't our best day in terms of performance - they find a way to win it," Arsenal manager Arteta told Sky Sports.
"You can build from there and you can learn and you can take the positives and the negatives in a much better way. The unity, the solidarity the players are showing, at the end it pays the price."
Arsenal are on a three-match winning streak and five points adrift of Chelsea in the fourth Champions League qualification spot, but West Ham’s woes on the road continued as they fell to a sixth league away defeat in a row.
"We didn't deserve to lose it," said Hammers boss David Moyes.
"In recent weeks we've made mistakes defensively which have cost us a goal. Today I felt as if the mistakes came when we didn't take the chances.
"Apart from that, I thought the players did a great job, played very well, made several good chances but we couldn't convert them."
Moyes retained faith in the same starters who ended their two-month wait for a Premier League win against Southampton last weekend, and his side were inches away from taking the lead after two minutes when Jarrod Bowen’s low shot struck the foot of the post.
Arsenal showed signs of life when Sokratis Papastathopoulos headed a cross off the top, before the visitors missed a good chance when a knockdown from a corner fell to Michail Antonio, who swivelled but turned the ball wide from point-blank range.
The Gunners finished the first half with most of the possession but failed to record a single shot on target.
Lukasz Fabianski was off his line quickly to charge down an Eddie Nketiah effort after the break, before Antonio came close again when his header was denied by a superb one-handed save from Leno.
Arsenal made their London rivals rue their missed opportunities when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s deflected shot looped into the path of Ozil, who headed down to Lacazette for a simple finish.
The VAR review confirmed that the German playmaker was narrowly onside as Aubameyang took his shot. The hosts were saved by Leno again when the German saved a Sebastien Haller effort late on.
Arsenal’s run of eight games without defeat - four wins and four draws - is currently the best in the Premier League, while West Ham have the worst form in the division over the past nine matches with one win, two draws and six defeats.