After the 2022 FIFA World Cup concluded, Premier League’s top spot race recommenced. On matchday 17, Arsenal made a stunning comeback in the second half to extend their lead in the Premier League standings to seven points following a 3-1 win over West Ham on the very night which saw the former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger return to the Emirates Stadium for the first time since his departure in 2018. Now, Arsenal has a total of 40 points to their name, having won 13 of their 15 games, losing only one and drawing the other one. In 16 matches, West Ham has won only four, lost 10, and drawn two.
They are in the 16th position in the table with a total of 14 points. After William Saliba brought Jarrod Bowen inside the box, West Ham got a chance at the goal. Said Benrahma wasted no time in converting the penalty into a goal to give their side a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute. At half-time, the score line read 1-0 in favour of the visitors. Gunners needed to respond strongly in the second half. They did just that as Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli helped the hosts make a quick comeback, scoring two goals in the 53rd minute and 58th minute to take the lead. Thirteen minutes into the second half, the smile was back on Wenger’s face. In the 69th minute of the match, Eddie Nketiah, rounded off a brilliant night with a superb goal, tripling the lead which lasted till the end of the game. With a dominant turnaround at Emirates Stadium, Arsenal managed to acquire a possession rate of 67% along with 657 passes throughout the match.
Mikel Arteta, the club’s current manager, thanked Wenger for coming. “It’s a special day. Thank you so much for him coming and hopefully walking through the building he is going to feel everything that everybody thinks of him, everything that he left here, but also his presence is something that has to be very attached to this football club. So, thank you for doing that because it means a lot to everybody at the club,” Arteta was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. Arteta also expressed happiness with his team’s performance saying that the home crowd generated a lot of belief and energy for his team, which showed “a lot of composure and real quality, but also real clarity to understand what the game demanded, and they executed that really well.”
On his team’s title ambitions, the manager said, “What I tell the players is we have to focus on us. We cannot control what the opponents are going to do, how good they are going to become or how many points they are going to get or drop, so we have to focus on our performance, what we are doing every day and what has brought us here. It is not a coincidence, so we need to keep doing what we are doing. We overcame a challenge and a difficult moment on top of injuries that we had with Jesus, Smith Rowe and Tomiyasu out. The team still believed and played to the level that they did again.” Arsenal will be playing Brighton on New Year’s Eve. While West Ham will host Brentford on Friday.