Arsenal smash six past woeful West Ham

 
Bukayo Saka of Arsenal is fouled by Alphonse Areola of West Ham United in the box which leads to a penalty during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on February 11, 2024 in London, England.

Mikel Arteta’s side had lost twice against their London rivals this season but were 4-0 ahead by halftime with goals by William Saliba, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel and Leandro Trossard.

The punishment continued in the second half with Saka making it 5-0 before former West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who assisted two goals in the opening period, thumped his team’s sixth on a day of abject humiliation for the hosts.

It was a sublime display by Arsenal who wiped off a goal difference deficit to champions Manchester City who they joined on 52 points, although they stay in third place courtesy of scoring fewer goals. Leaders Liverpool have 54 points.

Arsenal were defeated by West Ham in the League Cup although the bigger blow was a 2-0 home defeat in December when they were guilty of squandering a host of chances. This time they were lethal as they tore eighth placed West Ham to shreds at the London Stadium.

Thousands of home fans who streamed out of the exits before halftime were spared the rest of West Ham’s worst home league defeat since an 8-2 loss by Blackburn Rovers in 1963. It was even more impressive seeing that wins for Liverpool and Manchester City on Saturday had cranked up the pressure on Arsenal to respond.

Arteta’s side dominated the opening exchanges with Trossard’s ferocious volley tipped over by home keeper Alphonse Areola and Martin Odegaard’s shot deflecting just wide. The away fans might had a sense of deja-vu from the clash at The Emirates on Dec. 28 when Arsenal were stunned by West Ham despite their superiority. But they need not have worried.

Once Saliba was allowed a simple header from a Rice corner in the 32nd minute, West Ham disintegrated. Saka was played clean through was taken out by Areola who was shown a yellow card before the young England forward dispatched the penalty for his 50th goal for the club.

Rice then swung in a free kick that was met by Gabriel with another close-range header and with West Ham resembling rabbits frozen in the headlights, Trossard casually curled a superb right-footed shot into the top corner.

West Ham were booed off by their fans at halftime and the exodus continued after the break as Saka fired a clinical shot past Areola to make it 5-0 before Rice, who got a mixed reception from the home fans, produced a stunning finish.

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