Saka, Martinelli, Nketiah score in Arsenal’s comeback win over West Ham

Sports Desk, Dec 26 (EFE).- Arsenal secured a comeback 3-1 win over West Ham United on Monday, giving themselves a further cushion at the top of the Premier League table, seven points ahead of the No. 2 team, Newcastle United.

Although Arsenal were without striker Gabriel Jesus, who went onto the injured list for three months with a knee injury during World Cup play in Qatar for his native Brazil, the contest at Emirates Stadium in London before some 55,000 fans started out energetically, with the home squad looking good for the first quarter hour or more.

The hosts’ Bukayo Saka fired one into the net in the 5th minute, but the tally was ruled out for offside after a feather-light touch on the ball in the set-up.

Then, Said Benrahma sank the first tally of the match for the David Moyes’ visitors on a penalty kick in the 27th minute after William Saliba fouled Jarrod Bowen in the area.

Despite – or, more properly said, because of – the disadvantage, Arsenal pressed West Ham hard until the break, providing a tutorial on good passing as they tried to set up a chance or two, but Mikel Arteta’s men just couldn’t seem to find the right combination and were under water at the intermission.

When play resumed, however, Arsenal wasted little time in scoring twice, with Martin Odegaard firing a shot on goal that missed whereupon Saka collected the ball and knocked it into the cords past netminder Lukasz Fabianski in the 53rd minute and then five minutes later Gabriel Martinelli caught Fabianski out of position and delivered a handsome shot just inside the near post for the 2-1.

It was Eddie Nketiah – in for the first time as a starter for the out-of-commission Jesus – who put the icing on the cake for the home team in minute 68, with the fabulous Odegaard passing to him in the area after which he sealed the deal with a nice shot past Fabianski toward the far post.

With the loss, West Ham is tied with Everton in the 16th spot, teetering on the threshold of the relegation zone.

Arsenal will now travel on New Year’s Eve to No. 7 Brighton & Hove Albion, while West Ham will go up against No. 10 Brentford at home on Dec. 30.


Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney (Zinchenko, mn. 73); Odegaard, Thomas Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli (Vieira, min. 88).

West Ham: Fabianski; Coufal, Kehrer, Dawson, Cresswell; Bowen, Soucek (Fornals, min. 78), Rice; Bowen, Paqueta, Benrahma; and Antonio (Mubama, min. 87)

EFE –/bp

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