Friday, March 1, 2024

West Ham 0-6 Arsenal: Player ratings as Gunners destroy Hammers in London derby

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Arsenal put in their best performance of the season with a 6-0 thrashing of West Ham United on Sunday.

The hosts held firm for 31 minutes before completely falling apart and allowing the Gunners to strike four times before the break.

West Ham’s misery continued after the restart and a rapidly-emptying London Stadium bore witness to two further goals before the long-awaited final whistle.

How the game unfolded

Arsenal had control of the opening stages – racking up to 90% possession at one point – but it was West Ham who went closest to taking the lead, catching the Gunners cold on the counter. Ben Johnson’s low cross was heading towards Mohammed Kudus, but Jakub Kiwior made an important intervention at the far post to deny a certain goal.

Leandro Trossard must have thought he had broken the deadlock when he struck a fierce volley towards the top of the net after meeting Gabriel Martinelli’s cross, only for Alphonse Areola to throw up a strong hand and palm it over.

With just over half an hour on the clock, Arsenal went in front. Declan Rice’s deep corner flew to the back post to find William Saliba, and he headed in the opener – the Gunners’ 11th Premier League goal from a corner this season.

The lead should have been doubled shortly afterwards when a cross from Kiwior found the head of Bukayo Saka, but he somehow steered his effort wide.

Another chance came and went for Saka after being slipped in behind by Martin Odegaard, this time dinking a shot narrowly past the post.

Saka’s continued menace yielded Arsenal a penalty just before the break, racing onto the end of a Trossard through ball and being hauled to the ground by Areola. Arsenal’s number seven stepped up and made no mistake from 12 yards, netting his 50th goal for the Gunners.

Before half-time, Arsenal had their third. Rice floated in a free-kick and Gabriel Magalhaes evaded the poor marking of Edson Alvarez to nod the visitors into an unassailable lead.

Arsenal’s fourth came in stoppage time, with Trossard getting in on the act with a sumptuous strike into Areola’s top corner.

The tempo slowed after half-time but Arsenal were still the side to make the best chances, with Areola again producing a fine save to keep out a top-corner bound shot from Saka.

Saka’s brace was to come though, with the winger weaving his way inside after another smart ball from Odegaard and firing in at Areola’s near post.

Just as was in the script, Rice made a scoring return to London Stadium with Arsenal’s sixth, firing right into the top corner with a screamer from range.

Arsenal played out the final 20 minutes at walking pace and have moved back level on points with second-placed Manchester City, though have played a game more. West Ham have dropped to eighth and are now 11 points off the top four.

Gabriel Martinelli, Vladimir Coufal

As close as West Ham ever got to Arsenal / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

GK: Alphonse Areola – 2/10 – Actually made some tremendous saves that backup Lukasz Fabianski wouldn’t have got anywhere near but conceding a penalty kickstarted the collapse.

RB: Vladimir Coufal – 2/10 – Leggy from the off. Had no idea how to match Arsenal’s intensity.

CB: Kurt Zouma – 2/10 – Failed to keep up with the pace of Arsenal’s attacks and was hooked at the break.

CB: Nayef Aguerd – 1/10 – Unlike Zouma who’s had to battle (and still is, really) various injury problems, Aguerd is in the prime of his career. Despite this extra mobility, he had no idea where to stand on the pitch.

LB: Emerson Palmieri – 1/10 – Roasted time after time by Saka. Even White was giving him a scare in the second half, for goodness sake.

CM: Edson Alvarez – 2/10 – Booked early on for a rash challenge on Saka and never recovered. Hauled off at half-time.

CM: Tomas Soucek – 1/10 – Completely anonymous in the midfield battle, offering zero.

RM: Mohammed Kudus – 3/10 – Looked bright early on but couldn’t sustain this threat.

AM: James Ward-Prowse – 2/10 – Hard to remember he was even playing at points.

LM: Ben Johnson – 2/10 – Clearly not a winger, but it’s not his fault he’s been put in a position to try and replace the excellence of Lucas Paqueta.

CF: Jarrod Bowen – 2/10 – Completely gobbled up by Saliba and Gabriel.

Substitutes

SUB: Konstantinos Mavropanos (46′ for Zouma) – 3/10

SUB: Kalvin Phillips (46′ for Alvarez) – 3/10

SUB: Aaron Cresswell (76′ for Emerson) – 4/10

Subs not used: Lukasz Fabianski (GK), Angelo Ogbonna, Oliver Scarles, Maxwel Cornet, Danny Ings, Divin Mubama

Manager

David Moyes – 1/10 – What the hell was that? West Ham were defeated once the first goal went in and never came close to answering back. The Hammers have now shipped at least five in three games this season.

Declan Rice

A memorable return for Rice / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

GK: David Raya – 6/10 – A spectator for the most part. Made some comfortable saves early doors.

RB: Ben White – 7/10 – Probably the quietest of Arsenal’s outfielders, but he still did his job at either end, easily keeping the out-of-position Johnson under wraps and making Emerson sweat.

CB: William Saliba – 9/10 – Got the mauling off and running with a fine header. Comfortably silenced Bowen.

CB: Gabriel Magalhaes – 9/10 – Just the four Premier League goals for Gabriel this season, moving level with namesake Jesus. Like Saliba was not given trouble by Bowen.

LB: Jakub Kiwior – 7/10 – The afternoon might have looked a little different if the Poland international didn’t make an interception to deny Kudus early on. Got involved plenty in attack too.

CM: Declan Rice – 10/10 – One goal and two assists on his return to West Ham. Utterly unstoppable. Booed by home fans when in possession but was clapped before taking his corners.

CM: Martin Odegaard – 9/10 – Played with his usual grace and composure, finding a way to open up West Ham time and time again.

CM: Kai Havertz – 7/10 – West Ham were unable to find a solution to Havertz making runs from deep and troubling them with his added physicality.

RW: Bukayo Saka – 9/10 – Partly at fault for Arsenal dropping points in this fixture last season but was a huge catalyst behind this drubbing. Emerson won’t want to see him again anytime soon.

CF: Leandro Trossard – 9/10 – Perfectly suited for this role, particularly with Havertz bombing on into the frontline and making up for Trossard’s own lack of height.

LW: Gabriel Martinelli – 7/10 – Couldn’t find a goal or assist but Martinelli remained crucial to the pace and relentlessness of Arsenal’s attacks.

Substitutes

SUB: Mohamed Elneny (67′ for Rice) – 6/10

SUB: Eddie Nketiah (67′ for Trossard) – 6/10

SUB: Reiss Nelson (67′ for Saka) – 6/10

SUB: Cedric Soares (77′ for White) – 6/10

SUB: Ethan Nwaneri (77′ for Martinelli) – 6/10

Subs not used: Aaron Ramsdale (GK), Reull Walters, Jorginho, Mauro Bandeira

Manager

Mikel Arteta – 10/10 – A perfect performance. Nothing more to say.

Player of the match – Declan Rice (Arsenal)

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