Arsenal hammer West Ham for statement win in EPL title race; Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka shine in 6-0 goalfest
On Sunday, Arsenal dominated West Ham, scoring four goals in the first half before Declan Rice found the net against his former club in a resounding 6-0 victory.
Arsenal delivered a resounding message to their competitors in the Premier League title race with a dominant six-nil triumph over West Ham on Sunday. Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, and every member of the Arsenal squad exerted relentless pressure on West Ham throughout the match, offering them no reprieve.
Under Mikel Arteta's guidance, Arsenal commenced the game with evident determination, launching waves of attacks and bombarding the West Ham goal whenever they gained possession. The fullbacks and wide players of Arsenal spearheaded the assault, consistently delivering crosses into the West Ham area, causing disruption to the hosts' defense.
At the 22-minute mark, Alphonse Areola made a superb save to deny Leandro Trossard's powerful volley. However, shortly after the half-hour mark, Areola found himself caught in no-man's land as William Saliba headed Arsenal into the lead.
There were moments suggesting that the visitors were experiencing a stroke of bad luck when Bukayo Saka missed a header from Jakub Kiwior's excellent cross and then failed to convert another chance from Martin Odegaard's through ball.
Shortly after, Saka achieved his milestone 50th goal for the Gunners by being the first to reach a ball over the top, maneuvering it past Areola to earn a penalty - one he confidently converted.
Rice, who had provided the corner for the initial goal, secured his second assist by setting up Gabriel's header on 44 minutes, marking a far more successful return to east London compared to Arsenal's previous Carabao Cup exit at the venue earlier in the season.
Before the halftime whistle blew, Trossard elegantly bypassed Kurt Zouma and skillfully curled the ball into the net for a 4-0 lead, prompting thousands of West Ham supporters to start leaving the stadium.
The second half did little to alter the momentum in favor of the Hammers, as Saka effortlessly added a fifth goal in the 63rd minute.
Rice then unleashed a stunning strike from 30 yards out, adding further misery to the already disheartened home fans. However, amidst the gloom, there was a moment of recognition from the fans as they applauded their former captain off the pitch when he was substituted, despite his decision not to celebrate his goal.
The year 2024 has been extraordinary for the Gunners, igniting hopes that the Premier League title could return to the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal will next play Burnley away on February 17 before they face Porto in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash on February 22.