It’s been rather quite an emotional week for almost everyone since Wenger publicly made indicated he would no longer be the manager of Arsenal football club at the end of the season, which came as a shocker to everyone, though it was bound to happen. In his 22 years reign as Arsenal manager, he is truly leaving the club in a better place than when he first took over as Arsenal manager. It’s true Arsene isn’t bigger than Arsenal, but it’s also true that Arsenal is bigger because of Arsene, and for this, I wish you all the very best in the future Arsene.
The Gunners welcomed their fellow Londoner West Ham to the Emirates Stadium on a sunny Sunday afternoon, for a thrilling derby match, as the Gunners also kept focus on their big game Europa League semi final clash against Atletico Madrid.
The teamsheet included: David Ospina, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi, Danny Welbeck, and Alexandre Lacazette.
It was the visitors who looked more threatening in the first half, as their gameplay was to always dink passes to Arnautovic, who was playing right at the edge of a centre-back. Their game plan almost worked in the first half, when Arnautovic was able to get past Mustafi and curl one into the corner of Ospina’s post; but the Colombian international was able to deal with the danger.
Granit Xhaka curled a free-kick round the West Ham wall, which seemed decent but the positioning of Joe Hart took away the beauty in the free-kick; as the ball came straight at the England International Joe Hart, who was properly positioned to snuff away the ball.
Mohamed Elneny had to be replaced by Ainsley Maitland-Niles, following a clash of legs between himself and Mark Noble, which resulted to the Egyptian landing awkwardly on his ankle – leaving the pitch on a stretcher and a leg bracelet on his leg feeling distraught.
The second half saw things spark to life for the Gunners, as they took the lead in the first ten minutes of the second half. In the absence of Ozil, Xhaka was handed the corner-kick responsibility as he whipped in a corner that feel perfectly for Monreal, who latched on to the ball with his left foot to put the Gunners one goal up in the 51st minute.
West Ham struck back 13 minutes later to bring the game level with a well-struck effort from Arnautovic. David Ospina punched away Arthur Masuaku’s cross and the ball dropped for Lanzini who slipped in a pass to Arnautovic, who rifled a brilliant shot across the goalkeeper and into the far corner to put his team level on the scoresheet.
Danny Welbeck was also brilliant in the match; as he had to force Joe Hart into making a remarkable save, preventing the England international from being on the scoresheet. Welbeck curled in an effort, as he hoped to bury the ball at the back of the net but was denied by Hart who was at full length.
A defensive mix-up saw Arsenal regain the lead in the 82nd minute as Rice ducked out of a defensive clearance, thinking his keeper was going for the ball, as Ramsey’s cross-shot bounced in front of the defence and past a confused Hart who expected his defenders to have dealt properly with the ball. This was Ramsey’s 58th goal for Arsenal, making him the highest ever-scoring midfielder under Arsene Wenger as he overtook Cesc Fabregas for this feat.
Lacazette made sure the win was confirmed for Arsenal, as he scored two goals in four minutes, giving him confidence into the semi final clash against Atletico Madrid. His first was in the 85th minute, as Aubameyang set him up, thumbing in his effort which took a bit deflection into the net.
His second and Arsenal’s fourth of the afternoon was an eye catching simple passing team build up. Ramsey got away from Zabaleta easily as he passed to Lacazette who was able to displace Andy Carroll and thumbed in his second goal of the day.
The Gunners ran riot very late on in the match against their neighbors in a 4-1 victory, and also prepare to hand Arsene Wenger his first European title as they face Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the semi final on Thursday.