Arsenal Vs West Ham: Recap, Highlights And Analysis

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 05: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium on April 5, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images,)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 05: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium on April 5, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images,) /

Arsenal hosted West Ham United on Tuesday, in desperate need of a win. Here is a full recap, all the highlights and analysis from the 3-0 win.

Arsenal and Arsene Wenger were in desperate need of a win. Ask anyone at half-time, if those precious three points were on their way, and most would have said not. There was an air of uncertainty in the ground, justified given the recent struggles of the side and the desperate need of a result.

Related Story: Arsenal: 30 Greatest Players In History

However, a second half performance that hinted at the Gunners’ ruthless best peaking its head back above the surface ultimately saw them run out comfortable three-goal winners and now enter the close of the season with hopes resurrected regarding a top four position.

It was a somewhat tentative start from Arsenal. They were comfortable in possession, without ever threatening with any consistency, while also continuing to probe from deep, with Granit Xhaka showing exquisite distribution skills once more. Their issues came, though, with the tempo that they played at.

More from Pain in the Arsenal

Mohamed Elneny, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were all culprits of slowing the play down, giving West Ham time to sit deep and reorganise. Hector Bellerin, while exposed on a number of occasions defensively, primarily thanks to the superior pace and power of Michail Antonio, linked up well with Theo Walcott down the Arsenal right flank, but their collective end product was erratic and chances were hard to come by.

The first meaningful opportunity came for Danny Welbeck. After finding West Ham sleeping from a free-kick, Sanchez cleverly clipped a little pass over the wall and into the path of Welbeck, but the returning striker could not glean a meaningful contact, whiffing at the ball before seeing it nestle into the arms of Darren Randolph.

Arsenal did, though, grow into the game and, with no surprise to anyone, it coincided as Alexis Sanchez proceeded to get on the ball more and more frequently. He started the game worryingly poorly, visibly unmoved, apathetic in his work without the ball and ponderous on it. However, towards the latter stages of the half, Sanchez became increasingly more direct, driving at the West Ham on a number of occasions.

It was brilliant work from the Chilean that resulted in Hector Bellerin having his shot blocked, before Mohamed Elneny skied the rebound from the edge of the area. It was Sanchez who slipped in Mesut Ozil who couldn’t quite sort his feet out to play the crucial final pass. It was Sanchez that cultivated the anticipatory atmosphere within the Emirates that clearly inspired the side to play at a far greater intensity. Randolph was again called into action, diving at the feet of Theo Walcott, who had collected Xhaka’s excellent, raking ball just before the half.

It was a frustrating first 45 minutes for the Gunners but there were positive signs to build on as they looked to make the all-important breakthrough.

Arsenal started the second half as they ended the latter. Andy Carroll was suffocated of all service, unable to hold onto the ball whatsoever, resulting in their defence dropping deeper and deeper, relinquishing possession and exposing themselves to repeated waves of Arsenal attacks.

Sanchez continued to probe, Ozil got himself more involved in the game and the pace of Walcott and Welbeck proceeded to become more and more prominent as time passed. The crucial opening goal was indeed found, but Arsenal have Darren Randolph to thank. After a bundled clearance fell to the feet of Mesut Ozil with Walcott pressing the ball in the West Ham penalty area, Ozil took one touch to set himself and bent a low, curling shot into the far bottom corner with the second. It was a cool and collected finish but one that Randolph will be disappointed he did not parry away.

The goal was a clear confidence booster for Ozil and the team on the whole. Walcott slipped in Welbeck who saw his shot well-smothered by Randolph before the winger himself put the game to bed. It was bright play by Ozil down the left flank, playing a one-two with Alexis Sanchez, collecting his back heel on the overlapping run before playing a square cross, laying the ball on a plate for Theo Walcott who planted the side-foot shot into the bottom corner.

Soon after, Sanchez found Bellerin with a lovely clipped pass as he waited ever so patiently for the Spaniard’s bursting, late run into the penalty area. Bellerin, though, could only proceed to stab the shot wide.

The third and final goal came through the left-foot of substitute Olivier Giroud. A driving run from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had been introduced just moments before, saw him skip past two defenders, slide the ball square to Giroud, who whipped a lovely, bending shot into the far corner.

Next: Arsene Wenger's Best Starting XI

It was, in the end, a comfortable win for Arsenal. But there were moments of nervousness, especially in the drab first half. This was a game that simply had to be won and is a win that now puts them firmly back in the top four race.