Premier League: West Ham win derby to stop Arsenal returning to top
LONDON — West Ham United denied Arsenal a return to the top of the table as they inflicted on the Gunners a first home defeat of the season, winning 2-0 at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal were on top at Christmas but Thursday night’s defeat leaves them two points behind leaders Liverpool. Meanwhile, West Ham climb to sixth, four points outside the top four.
Arsenal began sharply, exerting plenty of pressure but, against the run of play, but West Ham took the lead on 13 minutes.
West Ham were dealt a blow just after the half-hour mark when playmaker Lucas Paqueta, who had appeared to be injured during the warm-up, was eventually forced off and replaced by Said Benrahma.
Arsenal almost equalised five minutes before the break, but Bukayo Saka’s shot hit a post and was scrambled clear by West Ham’s defence.
Early in the second half Declan Rice took a shot from distance which flew narrowly over the crossbar. But instead it was former Arsenal defender Mavropanos, who scored against his old team moments later, rising above Gabriel to power in a header via the crossbar from a James Ward-Prowse corner.
Gabriel Jesus could have done better with a couple of headers of his own, directing the first straight at Alphonse Areola and then sending the second over the bar, and that was the closest Arsenal came to a comeback.
West Ham saw out the closing stages in relative comfort, and Benrahma had a big chance to make it 3-0 in stoppage time from the penalty spot, awarded for a foul by Rice on Emerson Palmieri, but his effort was saved by David Raya.