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Arsenal 0-2 West Ham United: Soucek and Mavropanos condemn Gunners to rare home defeat

Arsenal were beaten at home for the first time this term following a 2-0 defeat to West Ham United on Thursday.

Having seen Liverpool go top with a 2-0 win over Burnley, Arsenal welcomed West Ham to the Emirates Stadium knowing that anything less than three points would see them relinquish leadership of the Premier League.

Mikel Arteta’s men made a fast start to the contest and had the opening chance of the game through Bukayo Saka, who called Alphonse Areola into action early on

However, it was David Moyes’ side with the advantage after 12 minutes as Jarrod Bowen squared the ball for Tomas Soucek to finish home from close range.

A lengthy check by the VAR ensued to check whether the ball had gone out before Bowen got the ball across and the goal was subsequently confirmed.

Arsenal came close to drawing level just shy of the half-hour mark as Bukayo Saka drew a fine save out of Areola following an inviting delivery from Gabriel Jesus.

Gabriel Martinelli was next to threaten the West Ham goal when he lashed an effort just wide of Areola’s goal.

Having tested Areola moments earlier, Saka was denied by the woodwork three minutes shy of half-time as he attempted to sneak a right-footed attempt into the bottom corner.

As the second half commenced, Arsenal intensified their attacking endeavour in search of an equaliser and had their first attempt through former West Ham boy Declan Rice.

Down the other end, it was another former player in the thick of the action as Konstantinos Mavropanos got one over Arsenal and put West Ham 2-0 up with a superb header 10 minutes into the second period.

Gabriel Jesus was presented with an opportunity to halve the deficit just before the hour mark but the Brazilian smashed his effort well over the bar.

Jesus then had two quickfire attempts one minute apart midway through the second half, albeit all to no avail on both occasions.

Having cut a peripheral figure in the game up to that point, Leandro Trossard nearly brought Arsenal back into the contest but for an excellent save from Areola, who continued to enjoy a fine outing between the sticks.

Saka and Areola continued their duel in the 72nd minute as the winger had yet another crack at the West Ham goal but Areola was up to the task once again.

The Englishman was involved in a penalty shout 10 minutes later following a tackle from Angelo Ogbonna which was deemed not worthy of a spot-kick by the VAR.

By far the best Arsenal player on the pitch, skipper Martin Odegaard let fly from the edge of the box in the final minute of regulation time but for the umpteenth time, Areola stood firm to deny Arsenal.

For all of Arsenal’s pressure since going 2-0 behind, West Ham could so nearly have gotten a third goal in stoppage time when Said Benrahma fluffed his line from 12 yards after Rice had fouled Emerson Palmieri in the box.

David Raya saved the resulting penalty in the final action of the London derby which saw Arsenal lose to one of their city rivals for the first time in 18 outings.

The Gunners remain second in the Premier League table, two points behind Liverpool, while West Ham have moved back up into sixth place and are now just four points adrift of the top four midway through the 2023-24 season.

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