Arsenal showed everyone how to fight back on Boxing Day, traditionally a busy time in English football, by securing a come-from-behind 3-1 win over West Ham United at the Emirates. After an unprecedented mid-season gap of 44 days without a game, finally all teams are back in Premier League action, fighting to cement their spot on the top. With a hard-fought win, table-toppers Arsenal moved to 40 points from 15 games this season. Earlier, Newcastle grabbed the second spot (33 points) with a dominating 3-0 win over Leicester, pushing defending champion Manchester City down to third.
Goals from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Eddie Nketiah in the second half of the game cancelled out a first-half penalty by Said Benrahma to keep the Gunners seven points ahead of Newcastle United. Arsenal started off well and played the ball around more confidently. One of the star performers at the World Cup, Saka found the net within five minutes, but his effort was flagged offside.
Though Arsenal looked lively and dominated the game in the opening 20 minutes, it was West Ham that scored the opener with a penalty kick. Benrahma’s effort in the 27th minute gave David Moyes’ men a 1-0 lead following William Saliba’s foul on Jarrod Bowen just inside the area. But Arsenal continued to press forward and enjoyed 70 percent of ball possession. Odegaard especially tried his best to unpick the visitor’s defense, but each time the final ball was snuffed out.
Arsenal tried their best and created chances to score but failed to find an equalizer. The Gunners went into the break trailing 1-0 after a penalty for handball on the stroke of half-time was overturned by VAR. Arsenal started the second half with more intent and this time got rewarded. Saka struck the equalizer for Arsenal in the 53rd minute. Odegaard’s scuffed shot fell to Saka and he kept his cool to roll it past Lukasz Fabianski into the corner.
Five minutes later, Martinelli scored a brilliant one to give Arsenal a 2-1 lead. Granit Xhaka fed Martinelli inside the box. The Brazilian spotted a gap at Fabianski’s near post and lashed a tight-angled blast into the net. A few moments later, Nketiah’s sublime effort made it 3-1. Ben White controlled the ball well before passing it to Odegraad. He produced a cross to Nketiah who spun past Thilo Kehrer and then drove the ball low into the corner to seal the win. Arsenal registered its 10th straight home win in the Premier League.