Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praised his side’s mental strength after Eddie Nketiah’s late winner maintained their 100% start to the season against West Ham.
The result condemned the Hammers to a second successive defeat – the third time in the past four seasons they have lost their first two matches.
“What I like is the approach the boys had in the last 25 minutes where I could see they were a bit down and then they lift it,” Arteta said.
“Probably a few months ago we would have drawn or lost that game and today we win it. In the end you have to find a way because there will be games like this through the season.”
The Gunners largely controlled the opening stages of the contest and deservedly went ahead when Alexandre Lacazette headed in from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s chipped cross.
However, the Hammers, who always looked dangerous on the counter-attack, levelled just before the interval when Michail Antonio bundled in Ryan Fredericks’ cross at the end of a sweeping move.
While Arsenal continued to enjoy more of the ball after the break, David Moyes’ side created the better openings in front of goal with Antonio heading against the bar and seeing a scuffed close-range effort saved by Bernd Leno.
But, Nketiah’s late tap-in from a Dani Ceballos pass ensured Arsenal continued their fine home record against the Hammers, having won 11 of the last 12 meetings at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal eke out another win
While there have been considerable signs of improvement at Arsenal since Arteta took charge last December this performance appeared to fizzle out after Lacazette had registered his 50th goal in all competitions for the club.
The crispness of passing, swift attacking and solidity at the back were all noticeably missing and it allowed West Ham a route back into the encounter.
However, the pleasing aspect for the Spaniard will be that his team were still capable of eking out a victory from an under-par showing.
Nervy at the back throughout, Arteta’s side survived several close scares and struggled to break free of their lethargy despite the introduction of £72m winger Nicolas Pepe.
It took another substitute, Nketiah, to make the difference, with his tap-in coming eight minutes after he had come on to replace Lacazette.
West Ham show signs of improvement
While it was difficult to see just how West ham were going to score in their opening day defeat to Newcastle, this performance will offer David Moyes hope that goals and points are just around the corner.
After making a cautious start which invited pressure, the Hammers appeared transformed once they committed men forward to chase the game.
Antonio’s goal was a prime example, with four visiting players breaking quickly as Fredericks superbly overlapped down the right before finding the forward.
Since top-flight football resumed in June, the 30-year-old has now scored more goals than any other Premier League player bar Raheem Sterling (both have nine).
And on another day the Hammers may have profited fully from a rampaging display from Antonio that unsettled the home defence.
As it was, the Hammers were left feeling aggrieved after failing to take their chances and having had a penalty appeal turned down when Tomas Soucek’s header appeared to hit Gabriel’s arm.
“I think it was a penalty,” said West Ham manager David Moyes.
“If it wasn’t they need to explain the rules to us again. We’re all unsure. He [Gabriel] should have headed it, because he missed it, it hit his arm. He should have been punished for that.”
Moyes’ barren run – the stats
- Arsenal have won 11 of their past 12 home games against West Ham United in all competitions, with the only exception being on the opening day of the 2015-16 Premier League season (0-2).
- West Ham have lost 200 of their 485 London derbies in the top flight, becoming only the second side to lose 200 such matches after Tottenham (213).
- Against no side has West Ham manager David Moyes managed more away matches in all competitions without ever winning than against Arsenal (20 – level with Chelsea).
- Alexandre Lacazette scored his 50th goal for Arsenal in all competitions, becoming the fourth Frenchman to reach this milestone for the club after Thierry Henry (228), Robert Pires (84) & Olivier Giroud (105).
- Since 3 February 2018, Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have combined for 11 Premier League goals – the only duo to combine for more in the competition during this period is Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson (13).
- Since the Premier League resumed last season in June, no player has scored more goals in the competition than West Ham’s Michail Antonio (9, level with Raheem Sterling).
- Since the start of last season, only Man City (9) have scored more Premier League goals via substitutes than Arsenal (8).
Arsenal go to Leicester in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday 23 September (19:45 BST) before travelling to Anfield to face champions Liverpool in the Premier League on Monday 28 September (20:15 BST)
West Ham are next in Premier League action when they host Wolves on Sunday 27 September (19:00 BST).
West Ham United
- 6dos Santos Magalhães
- 7SakaSubstituted forDavid Luizat 89′minutes
- 12WillianSubstituted forPépéat 64′minutes
- 9LacazetteSubstituted forNketiahat 77′minutes
- 23David Luiz
- 24FredericksBooked at 40mins
- 26MasuakuSubstituted forFelipe Andersonat 90′minutes
- 20BowenSubstituted forYarmolenkoat 83′minutes
- 18FornalsSubstituted forHallerat 88′minutes
- 8Felipe Anderson
Match ends, Arsenal 2, West Ham United 1.
Second Half ends, Arsenal 2, West Ham United 1.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Angelo Ogbonna.
Attempt blocked. Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Dani Ceballos (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sébastien Haller (West Ham United).
Foul by Dani Ceballos (Arsenal).
Declan Rice (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
David Luiz (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sébastien Haller (West Ham United).
Substitution, West Ham United. Felipe Anderson replaces Arthur Masuaku.
Substitution, Arsenal. David Luiz replaces Bukayo Saka.
Substitution, West Ham United. Sébastien Haller replaces Pablo Fornals.
Attempt missed. Tomas Soucek (West Ham United) header from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Declan Rice with a cross.
Goal! Arsenal 2, West Ham United 1. Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Dani Ceballos.
Substitution, West Ham United. Andriy Yarmolenko replaces Jarrod Bowen.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Arthur Masuaku.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Ryan Fredericks.
Substitution, Arsenal. Eddie Nketiah replaces Alexandre Lacazette.