West Ham 1-2 Arsenal: Defence the best form of attack as Mikel Arteta’s side wrestle fourth spot off Tottenham

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Defence proved the best form of attack for Arsenal on Sunday afternoon as Mikel Arteta’s side wrestled fourth spot back off Tottenham.

After a dull opening half an hour, Rob Holding – who once again impressed - scored the first Premier League goal of his career with a glancing header following Bukayo Saka’s corner.

From there, the game burst into life. Seconds after Holding’s opener, Aaron Ramsdale pulled off a brilliant reactionary save as Declan Rice’s near-post flick-on flew towards him at break-neck speed.

As is becoming customary for this West Ham side, David Moyes’ team were able to feed off a loud home crowd and create their own momentum, with Vladimir Coufal teeing up Jarrod Bowen for an improvised finish to level the scores just before the interval.

After the break, the home side started brightly once more. Bowen proved the livewire in the absence of a central striker, although was booked for diving when Ramsdale raced out of his box to sweep up a long ball in-behind the Arsenal defence.

With the game finely-poised, a set-piece was likely to be the difference and so it proved when Gabriel Martinelli crossed for compatriot Gabriel Magalhaes to power in what proved to be the winner ten minutes into the second-half.

With a corner cleared, Martinelli reacted first and hung up an inviting cross for his teammate to convert with a crushing header at the back post.

Eddie Nketiah twice went close to adding a third but this was a game in which Arteta’s side overcame a major hurdle.

With Spurs beating Leicester earlier in the day, Arsenal proved they could deal with the pressure.

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