Arsenal marked their first visit to the London Stadium to face West Ham. Gabriel was forced into right back due to injuries to Mathieu Debuchy and Hector Bellerin, and Carl Jenkinson’s poor form, while Francis Coquelin and Granit Xhaka featured in midfield for Arsenal.
An efficient display from Arsenal saw West Ham completely outclassed, with the match ending 5-1 for the visitors. The first-half ended at 1-0 with Alexis Sanchez coming on the end of an Angelo Ogbonna error to tee up Mesut Ozil for a tap in, even though the score did not refelct Arsenal’s dominance. The second goal came when Alexis darted past the West Ham defence to snatch a shot at goal from a tight angle. Three goals in seven minutes (after the 80th minute) later and the London Derby was decided. A brace from Sanchez and an Oxlade-Chamberlain curler waved West Ham goodbye and gave Arsenal the three points.
In a match where Arsenal secured the valuable three points, let’s have a look at the ‘Man of the Match’ contenders:
A) Nacho Monreal
The first choice left back made quite a statement in the first-half with his superbly timed runs on the left flank to find space and enforce early pressure on West Ham’s defence. He was solid in defence but did not have much do to. It was his attacking presence that caught the eye in Saturday’s match. He has now established his place in Arsenal’s starting XI ahead of Kieran Gibbs but he has to keep his head down and keep working hard for his place and Arsenal’s first team.
He has now established his place in Arsenal’s starting XI ahead of Kieran Gibbs but he has to keep his head down and keep working hard for his place and Arsenal’s first-team.
B) Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez scored a hat-trick and claimed an assist to every Arsenal fans delight, guiding Arsenal to an easy victory at the London Stadium. He set up Mesut Ozil for a tap in, for Arsenal’s first and then killed the game with his superb hat-trick. His first goal came when he beat two defenders to score in the far corner, his second, a confident low volley and his third, a brilliant chip over the ‘keeper. It was 4-1 when The Ox drove a through ball in front of Alexis, whose ability allowed him to beat the goalkeeper with a composed finish to complete his hat-trick.
C) Granit Xhaka
The Swiss International did not seem to switch off over the course of the match and was vigilant throughout the whole game. His forward passes were menacing for West Ham and he looked comfortable on the ball when in possession. He and Coquelin did well to partner up and produce a solid midfield partnership in Santi Cazorla’s absence. An excellent performance from Xhaka, he will certainly get a long run in the first-team if he keeps that up.
D) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Oxlade-Chamberlain capped off his brilliant performance with a goal and an assist towards the end of the match. His electric pace seemed to get West Ham on their heels and his threat was significant in disrupting West Ham’s game plan. His goal came from the edge of the penalty box when his right-footed shot was perfectly wrapped around the ball, as Arsenal restored their three-goal lead just a minute after West Ham’s goal. Just two minutes later he freed Alexis with a steering through ball past the last defender, which Alexis took with precision to produce another beautiful goal.
Verdict: The ‘Man of the Match’ for today’s win was Alexis Sanchez. A hat trick to seal the victory and helping Arsenal get three vital points to keep their title charge going..
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