Five things Arteta got right as Arsenal climb into top four with West Ham win

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Arsenal climbed into the top four of the Premier League for the first time this season with a win over London rivals West Ham.

The main talking point heading into the game was the decision to strip Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy, but Mikel Arteta’s men went ahead thanks to Gabriel Martinelli’s second-half goal.

The winger guided the ball into the bottom corner after being played through by Alexandre Lacazette, with the Frenchman then seeing a penalty saved by Lukas Fabianski after referee Anthony Taylor awarded a controversial spot-kick.

But the win was sealed three minutes from time when Bukayo Saka and substitute Emile Smith Rowe combined in a counter-attack, with the latter cutting inside before firing into the bottom corner.

Here, Daily Star Sport looks at five things Arteta got right to lead his Arsenal side to the win…

Shutting down Antonio

Michail Antonio was arguably West Ham’s most threatening player heading into the game having scored seven goals and notched five assists this season.

But the Gunners were able to totally shut down the Hammers striker, with Antonio having just 12 touches in the first-half.

He failed to have a shot of any description before the break and his efforts to push West Ham forward only resulted in him being dispossessed seven times.

Antonio’s night was summed up when he played an awful pass to Vladimir Coufal, who was in acres of space with West Ham mounting a promising attack, that Kieran Tierney easily intercepted.

Who was your man of the match from Arsenal's win against West Ham? Let us know in the comments section…

Dropping Aubameyang

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The biggest talking point heading into the game was Arteta’s decision to strip Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy and drop him from the squad entirely.

Alexandre Lacazette was selected to spearhead the Gunners’ attack, with Eddie Nketiah an option from the bench.

The decision to shun Aubameyang proved to be the correct one though, with Lacazette at the heart of much of what the hosts did going forward.

His pressing ensured the Hammers were always unsettled and he provided the perfect pass to send Martinelli through on goal to put Arsenal ahead.

Targeting Masuaku

Arsenal’s main threat at the Emirates came through Bukayo Saka on the right-wing, with the England international up against Hammers left-back Arthur Masuaku.

Much of the Gunners’ chances came from their young star Saka, who once again showed why the right-wing is his best position.

Arteta’s men were able to create plenty of chances from the joy that the 20-year-old was getting when up against Masuaku.

Saka created Smith Rowe's late goal by breaking forward and playing the perfect pass to his fellow academy graduate, before being awarded man of the match by BT Sport commentator Steve McManaman.

Selecting the perfect midfield

Thomas Partey and Granti Xhaka appear to have marked themselves out as Arteta’s first-choice pairing in central midfield.

They provided the perfect example of why they have earned that status, despite being up against a West Ham midfield made up of Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice.

The Arsenal pairing ensured that the hosts were able to maintain their dominance of possession for much of the game, providing the perfect base from which their attack could flourish.

Partey and Xhaka also helped to keep the Gunners solid defensively, with West Ham having just X shots.

Positive changes

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Arsenal were a goal up when Mikel Arteta decided to make his first change of the evening.

The Spaniard has previously made substitutes to protect any lead his side have, but he opted to be more proactive on Wednesday.

Martin Odegaard was brought off, with Emile Smith Rowe coming on in his place, a change that ensured Arsenal kept up their attacking momentum, with the Englishman sealing the win with a goal three minutes from time.

Arteta later replaced goalscorer Martinelli with striker Eddie Nketiah in a further statement of what he wanted his side to do.

  • Premier League
  • Arsenal FC
  • West Ham FC
  • Mikel Arteta

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