Arsenal came back to win 3-1 over London rivals West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day (December 26).
The Premier League leaders had a good start to the game, easily finding each other with sharp passes. It only took them five minutes to hit West Ham United. Martin Odegaard made a pass to Saka, who passed the ball to Nketiah. The striker cleverly passed the ball to Saka, who shot from close range. Unfortunately for Mikel Arteta’s side, the goal was disallowed for offside during the set-up.
24 minutes, Saka directs Thomas Partey‘s cross into the path of Odegaard. The Arsenal captain made his shot well but went wide of the post. A few minutes later, William Saliba recklessly descending Jarrod Bowen inside the Gunners’ box, causing the referee to point at the penalty spot. Benrahma stepped up and fired a shot into the center of goal to put West Ham ahead.
In injury time at half-time, the referee awarded Arsenal a penalty after Martinelli’s shot from just outside the box appeared to hit Aaron Cresswell’s extended arm. Upon closer inspection, VAR rescinded the decision and found no violation as the defender had touched his head.
Eight minutes into the second 45 minutes, Saka equalized for the hosts, parrying Odegaard’s shot and passing Lukasz Fabianski from close range. Five minutes later, Martinelli completed the swing, beating Fabianski at close range.
Nketiah comes on as an injured substitute Gabriel Jesusscored an insurance goal after 69 minutes. Odegaard found the striker in the open space inside the box, and he made no mistake as he shot into the far corner of the goal.
Arsenal maintained a tight position for the rest of the match, while the away team failed to create anything remarkable. Victory helps Arteta’s boys maintain the top spot with 40 points after 15 games. Newcastle United are second with 33 points from 16 games, while Man City are third with 32 points from 14 games.
Here are the 5 Gunners who did their best to push the team to a morale-boosting win in their return to the Premier League:
#5 Edward Nketiah
Chosen as Arsenal’s number one striker in Jesus’ absence, Nketiah performed quite well. He showed a lot of initiative, linked well with his teammates and scored a neat goal in the 69th minute.
Receiving a pass from Odegaard, Nketiah spun past an unexpected Thilo Kehrer and found his way to the bottom left corner of West Ham United’s goal with a neat finish.
Nketiah completed 22 passes (91.7 percent accuracy), won four duels and one foul against West Ham United. He also made a tackle and tried to make two dribbles.
#4 Granite Xhaka
While Partey held the field, Xhaka risked every chance he got and finally scored for Martinelli after 58 minutes. The left central midfielder controlled the ball at the edge of the box and passed Martinelli down. left wing. The Brazilian cut the ball and beat Fabianski at close range.
Xhaka made two key passes against West Ham United. He also delivered two precise long balls, completed a dribble, won five land disputes and fouled twice.
#3 Thomas Partey
Thomas Partey was the pacemaker in the Gunners’ midfield. He controls the tempo of the game with short passes, is always available and is formidable in one-on-one situations. Partey’s long balls were also dangerous and kept West Ham defenders on alert throughout the night.
Partey made four accurate long balls, completed 78 passes (83% accuracy) and won six of eight ground disputes. Also, he fouled twice, intercepted and tried to make two tackles.
#2 Bukayo Saka
Bukayo Saka was Arsenal’s sharpest striker on Monday night. He made excellent runs, created chances for his teammates, and did a great job to save Odegaard’s shot/pass from close range 53 minutes in. He rarely misses a pass. pass, hold on to your position and never break the pressure.
Saka made 4 important passes, 3 long passes accurately and made 27 successful passes (90% accuracy). Saka also created a great chance, accurately hitting two crosses and making two tackles.
#1 Martin Odegaard
Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard took the lead from the front on Monday night, manipulating the tempo of the game and providing two key assists.
His first assist, for Saka in the 53rd minute, was probably unintentional, as it looked more like a shot. However, the former Real Madrid player doesn’t seem to have any qualms about it. 16 minutes later, he set up Nketiah with a precise pass, and the striker made no mistake.
The attacking midfielder made five of the most important passes of the game, created two great chances, made two successful dribbles and won six duels. It was a spotless performance from the captain.