Football NewsArsenal Thrash West Ham to Leapfrog and Climb to the Top Four
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Arsenal dominated the game and climbed to the top four of the Premier League after a victory over London rivals, West Ham.

After Storm Auba and five long days of dark mutterings about the curse of the Arsenal captaincy, the clouds did part for Mikel Arteta. A golden path to the top four did appear.

Alexandre Lacazette led the way for Arteta. The interim captain led the team out, led the line well and took the young players with him in the absence of Aubameyang.

Lacazette created the opening goal for Gabriel Martinelli, three minutes after the interval, and he played extremely well despite his failure to beat Lukasz Fabianksi and make it 2-0 from the penalty spot.

West Ham were far from their best until the penalty incident, midway through the second half. This led to the dismissal of Vladimir Coufal for a second yellow card and was ferociously disputed on the pitch.

Coufal’s mistake was to go to ground and slide into the tackle. He was slightly high, but he took plenty of the ball. Lacazette overreacted, a theme of the game from early on when Coufal blocked Kieran Tierney with an arm and picked up his first yellow.

Tierney rolled around on that occasion as Arsenal lobbied for a red. It didn’t come until later, when VAR Peter Bankes backed Anthony Taylor’s decision, Coufal departed reluctantly.

Fabianski saved diving to his left and, beltedly, West Ham fired and Arsenal were gripped by nerves until substitute Emile Smith Rowe grabbed a second on the break.

Arteta celebrated climbing into fourth and gushed about a ‘statement’ victory, his ‘project’ and the spirit of his team. They deserve the win regardless of another penalty controversy.

For David Moyes, there was little to enjoy as he reached the milestone of 600 Premier League games as a manager. He is in esteemed company with Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Harry Redknapp.