Arsenal clinched a vital victory in the race for fourth place in the Premier League by beating West Ham 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.
The first half hour at the London Stadium made for tough viewing, with the two teams sizing each other up with extended spells of sterile possession. The Gunners made a strong start to the game and got themselves ahead in the 38th minute courtesy of Rob Holding’s header.
However, the Hammers found the leveler just seven minutes later when Jarrod Bowen scored with a deflected attempt. Both London teams went into the half-time break with a 1-1 score line.
It did not take Arsenal long to restore their one-goal advantage, with West Ham again undone by a set piece early in the second period. The Hammers failed to clear Bukayo Saka’s corner and Martinelli kept it alive, crossing for Gabriel to power home with his head at the back post.
Arteta’s side takes on Leeds next weekend, ahead of facing Tottenham 10 days before the end of the season in a fixture likely to determine which north London side will secure the final Champions League spot.
It is the stage of the season where results are paramount. The prospect of Tottenham facing a daunting trip to Liverpool next weekend increases the chances for Arsenal to have a healthy cushion in the top-four race when the north London derby takes place on May 12. They will, however, need to improve to maintain consistency in the run.