West Ham United have taken points from most teams this season and Arsenal looked like they were going to be the latest victims but unfortunately, a second-half fightback from the Gunners meant that they had to settle for a point as Sunday’s match in Stratford ended 3-3.
David Moyes made two changes from the side that played at Old Trafford a week ago as Ben Johnson and Mark Noble dropped to the bench. Jesse Lingard and Saïd Benrahma returned to the starting line-up with Jarrod Bowen keeping his place.
Looking to atone for their defeat to the Red Devils last weekend, the Irons controlled the early stages of the game and knowing that Mikel Arteta’s side were in UEFA Europa League action earlier in the week, they began to test Arsenal’s resolve as they were able to deliver good-looking balls into dangerous areas.
The Gunners were looking to do the double over the East Londoners after beating them in the reverse fixture back in September but the hosts had other ideas and went in front in the fifteenth minute. Lingard unleashed a rocket from outside the box to give visiting goalkeeper Bernd Leno no chance.
If supporters were allowed back into stadiums for this one, then believe me, the atmosphere would have been brilliant. Just over ninety seconds later, the Hammers had extended their advantage.
They were awarded a free-kick after Michail Antonio was fouled and Lingard took the set-piece so quickly that even the Sky Sports cameras missed it. Nonetheless, the Manchester United loanee’s quick thinking paid off as he picked out Bowen in space and the former Hull City man did the rest by finishing the move off.
West Ham were having a really good half and it was to get even better as they added a third on thirty two minutes. Vladimír Coufal received possession and crossed the ball over to Antonio. His header looked destined for the back of the net but Tomáš Souček made sure it crossed the line.
Being three goals behind really shocked the visitors and they knew they would be given little chance of getting anything from the contest if they didn’t score the next goal.
Unfortunately for the East Londoners though, that is exactly what happened. Souček went from being lucky to unlucky when Alexandre Lacazette powerfully shot. The Czech got the final touch and put the ball past Łukasz Fabiański. If it hadn’t been for that deflection, the Frenchman’s effort would have gone wide.
The goal really sparked the visitors into life and Bukayo Saka was close to pulling another back for Arteta’s men but thankfully for Moyes and his team, the youngster didn’t make the best of the chance.
The hosts had survived going into the half-time break but they were wary there would be a reaction from the Gunners in the second period.
The words of their Head-Coach must have had a considerable effect on the visitors as the teams reemerged from the dressing rooms with Arsenal piling on the pressure and causing the Irons real problems.
Lacazette almost reduced the deficit with just two minutes of the second-half gone but Issa Diop came to Fabiański’s rescue by making a vital goal-line clearance.
The hosts thought they should have had a free-kick given to them when Bowen was fouled in possession but referee Jonathan Moss gave it the other way.
Calum Chambers crossed and the Hammers were unfortunate again when Craig Dawson sent the ball past a helpless Fabiański and suddenly out of nowhere, the visitors were now in with a chance of salvaging something.
The hosts didn’t want to let such a huge chance of a victory pass them by and were on the hunt for another goal which would have made the points safe. Both Bowen and Antonio went close but Kieran Tierney blocked their efforts.
With his team now being forced to hang on to what they had, Moyes sent on Noble in place of Bowen in an attempt to try and relieve the pressure. Arsenal also made changes with Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pépé coming on for Granit Xhaka and Saka.
On seventy six minutes, the home side had the chance to wrap the points up. Benrahma ran into the box and set up Antonio but the former Nottingham Forest man somehow managed to hit the post when it seemed easier to score.
After West Ham had spurned that chance, Arteta’s men applyed more pressure so five minutes later, the Scotsman made a second change by introducing Ryan Fredericks into the action to take the place of Benrahma.
In complete contrast to last season, the Hammers haven’t conceded too many leads this season but they unfortunately did so here as Pépé sent over a right-wing cross which Lacazette got his head to and the ball was once again beyond Fabiański.
Although there was time to find a winner, neither side were able to take maximum points, meaning that West Ham had missed the chance to go level on points with Chelsea in the Premier League table.
The East Londoners now face a lengthy break due to international matches and planning for television coverage, meaning that there trip to Molineux to take on Wolverhampton Wanderers doesn’t take place until April 5 with the encounter getting underway at 8:15pm.