Arsenal Extends Lead At The Top Of Premier League, After Coming From Behind To Beat West Ham On Boxing Day.

Arsenal extends lead at the top of the Premier League table to seven points, following a 3-1 win against West Ham at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night (Boxing Day).

After the five weeks World Cup break, the Gunners warmed up for the game with friendlies at home and in Dubai against Watford, Lyon, AC Milan, Juventus and Luton Town. Meanwhile, the Hammers beat Cambridge United as well as Udinese before drawing 1-1 with another London side in Fulham last weekend.

Both managers Mikel Arteta, and David Moyes,  began the game with their strongest XI;

Arsenal starting XI: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Odegaard, Xhaka; Saka, Martinelli, Nketiah.

West Ham starting XI: Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Kehrer, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Paqueta, Benrahma; Antonio.

The Gunners had to fight back from a goal down to take all three points.

Bowen got behind the Arsenal defence and was brought down in the penalty area by Saliba, with the referee pointing to the spot.

Said Benrahma puts the ball down the middle of the goal and made no mistake as Ramsdale dives to his left, giving the West London club side the lead in the 27th minute.

Arsenal had some time to level the scoreline before the break, after Michael Oliver points to the spot in the final seconds of the first half when Odegaard's effort had hit Cresswell, but following a VAR check, the decision was overturned, as the ball is adjudged to have hit Cresswell's face.

It is only the third time this season that the league leaders have gone behind this season, with the other two coming against Fulham,  where they ended up winning 2-1, and during a 3-1 loss to Manchester United.

In the second-half, Odegaard's wayward long-range effort landed beautifully at the feet of Saka, who controlled it perfectly before stroking a cool finish into the bottom corner to level the scoreline in the 53rd minute.

The Gunners took the lead five minutes later, as they worked the ball quickly to Martinelli, who fired a brilliant low finish past Fabianski at his near post to complete a stunning turnaround.

Captain Odegaard then produced a beautiful assist once again, as his pass picked out Nketiah, and the striker turned Thilo Kehrer brilliantly before firing an emphatic finish into the bottom corner in the 69th minute to secure the win for Mikel Arteta's men.


Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta speaking after the game said:

"I'm really happy with the performance first of all and then the result.

"Obviously, the context of the game was that they went a goal up, but you saw the reaction of this crowd, generating belief and just giving a lot of energy to the team and the team showed a lot of composure and real quality, but also real clarity to understand what the game demanded, and they executed that really well.

"We overcame a challenge and a difficult moment on top of injuries that we had with Jesus, Smith Rowe and Tomiyasu out. The team still believed and played to the level that they did again.

"I tell the players, we have to focus on our performance, what we are doing every day and what has brought us here.

"It is not a coincidence, so we need to keep doing what we are doing."

Victory sees Arsenal move seven points clear of second-placed Newcastle, who beat Leicester 3-0 earlier on Boxing Day, while third-placed Man City have the chance to respond when they travel to Leeds on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, West Ham, who suffered a fourth straight Premier League defeat, remain 16th on the table.

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