The Gunners’ last two visits to the London Stadium before Sunday had been tough. In April last year, they dropped a two-goal lead to drop two points and take a big blow in the title race. Just a few months ago Arsenal were knocked out of the EFL Cup by the Hammers, losing 3-1 in a one-sided affair.
Even just over a month ago Arsenal fell to West Ham, as David Moyes’ team travelled to the Emirates and left with all three points after a spirited defensive performance. With all that in mind, Arsenal fans would’ve expected a tough test at the London Stadium in a game rightly billed as a potential banana skin. It was anything but.
Mikel Arteta’s team were missing key players with Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Emile Smith Rowe all ruled out but started strongly. Leandro Trossard’s powerful volley brought a fantastic save out of Alphonse Areola. West Ham offered threat going forward but failed to break into David Raya’s penalty area. The deadlock was broken after 32 minutes when William Saliba nodded in from a Declan Rice corner.
The floodgates were well and truly opened following Saliba’s goal. A perfectly executed long pass from Trossard set Bukayo Saka away and he was downed by Areola for a clear penalty. The Englishman slotted away the penalty and gave Arsenal a 0-2 lead.
Some Arsenal fans may have been nervous, given April’s two-goal giveaway, but any concerns were quickly put to bed when Gabriel headed in from Rice’s free-kick to make it 0-3. Trossard would go on to curl in for Arsenal’s fourth before half-time and the London Stadium began to empty of West Ham fans.
As the players emerged for the second half, empty seats were dotted all over the home end and West Ham’s players had clearly also mentally left. Saka grabbed his second goal in the 63rd minute and Rice added the cherry on top just two minutes later when he smashed the ball in from outside the box to bury his former club. The former Hammers captain chose not to celebrate but the damage was already done.
A 0-6 victory away from home gives Arsenal their biggest away win in Premier League history and West Ham, their worst home defeat in 61 years. The victory leaves Arsenal just two points behind leaders Liverpool and gives their goal difference a very healthy boost.
Here are our post-match player ratings from the London Stadium:
Alphonse Areola – 2
When a goalkeeper concedes six, it’s fair to assume they’ve had a bad day at the office. Areola wasn’t given much of a chance with any of the goals but was clumsy to bring down Saka for the penalty. In his defence, the Frenchman made a great save from Trossard at 0-0.
Vladimir Coufal – 3
Coufal just about comes away from this game with the least embarrassment of the West Ham defenders. Most of Arsenal’s attacks came from the right side of the pitch and the Czech won some early duels against Gabriel Martinelli.
Kurt Zouma – 1
Zouma was completely anonymous and simply could not get near any Arsenal attacker.
Nayef Aguerd – 1
A day to forget for the two West Ham central defenders.
Emerson – 1
The Italian looked to have started the game well but was quickly mutilated by Saka. He lost his man for Arsenal’s penalty and let the Arsenal number seven find space inside and outside constantly.
Tomas Soucek – 1
Edson Alvarez – 2
Alvarez was taken off at half time with a yellow card but in fairness made some tackles in his time on the pitch.
Mohammed Kudus – 3
The Ghanaian found space down the Arsenal right at times and attempted to get West Ham back in the game but was isolated. Denied a consolation right at the end by a decent Raya save.
The usually productive midfielder made virtually no impact on the pitch whatsoever.
Ben Johnson – 2
Johnson tried, but ultimately made costly mistakes early on. His panicked retreat from West Ham’s defensive line allowed Gabriel to roam free to score Arsenal’s third.
Jarrod Bowen – 3
Bowen had some tussles with Saliba and even had an early chance, but was completely isolated after the opening 20 minutes.
Kalvin Phillips – 1
Phillips wasn’t brought into the easiest situation at half-time but didn’t help himself by running around fouling Arsenal players.
The former Arsenal defender didn’t really have much of a chance to do any real defending with the ball kept by Arsenal for the majority of the second half, but was sent spinning by Saka leading to the winger’s second goal.
Aaron Cresswell – 2
Did nothing of note despite having almost 20 minutes on the pitch.
David Raya – 7
Likely one of the quietest games Raya will ever have for Arsenal but he dealt with everything that came his way. Made some big claims and kept focused to make a save from Kudus late on, securing his seventh Premier League clean sheet of the season.
Jakub Kiwior – 6
The Polish defender had a bit of a shaky start up against Kudus, but quickly settled and locked down his side of the pitch.
Gabriel – 8
Gabriel’s goal made him the highest-scoring defender in Europe since his arrival at Arsenal in 2020 and incredibly, makes him the second highest-scoring Arsenal defender in Premier League history.
William Saliba – 8
Saliba scored his second goal of the season and dominated Bowen in every scenario. His partnership with Gabriel continues to grow in strength.
Ben White – 8
White continues his resurgence in form following the mid-season break and managed to pick up an assist in this game. Arteta clearly tweaked the defender’s instructions, seeing White inverting slightly. It was a role in which he excelled and once again showed his immense tactical flexibility.
Declan Rice – 10
Rice returned to the London Stadium for the first time in the league following his huge summer move. The smattering of boos quickly died down as Rice delivered two perfect set-pieces in the first half and thumped in a spectacular sixth goal in the second. A dominant performance from the Englishman well worth a perfect rating.
Martin Odegaard – 9
The Arsenal captain looked ethereal on the pitch, orchestrating every Arsenal move and picking up two assists. The Norwegian is the first player in Europe’s top five leagues to create 50 chances from open play this season and should have far more than five assists.
Kai Havertz – 7
The German didn’t manage to register a goal or assist but drove forward with purpose every time he had the ball. A great performance from Havertz which may have had more plaudits had the score-line not stolen all the headlines.
Martinelli was unfortunate to leave the pitch without a goal or an assist but ran the left flank well.
Bukayo Saka – 10
The type of performance we have come to expect from Saka. On a day that saw the man who made his debut for Arsenal as a boy surpass both 50 goals and 100 overall goal contributions for the club, Saka ran West Ham absolutely ragged. He probably should have left the first half with a hattrick but won and scored the penalty, and got his brace in the second half. At just 22 years of age, Saka is among the best wingers on the planet.
Leandro Trossard – 9
The Belgian’s first half was simply incredible. He was denied a superb volleyed finish by Areola but eventually got his goal with a beautiful curling effort. His pass that led to Areola’s foul on Saka was perfect and showcased the technical level Trossard seems to display from any position on the pitch.
Mohamed Elneny – 6
With the score at 6-0, the Egyptian had little to do but recycled the ball well.
Reiss Nelson – 6
Some decent runs down the right from Nelson.
Eddie Nketiah – 5
The striker had one half-chance fired into Areola’s gloves but struggled for chances with the game being played at a walking pace.
Ethan Nwaneri – 7
Nwaneri certainly did not look like a 16-year-old being handed his second ever Premier League appearance. The teenager was heavily involved in his period on the pitch and found some nice passes in between the lines. A very exciting talent.
Cedric Soares – 6
With the game pretty much finished at this point, Cedric was able to stroll around the pitch but kept the ball when he had it.