Gunners Shoot Five Past Hammers
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 04 Dec 2016 12:17:00
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After Arsenal were knocked out of the EFL Cup in midweek, some West Ham United fans might have thought that their focus would have been on their UEFA Champions League encounter on Tuesday, but the Gunners still had enough to beat the Hammers 5-1 in Stratford on Saturday evening.

West Ham were also beaten on Wednesday night and although captain Mark Noble, James Collins and Darren Randolph all started this weekend, Slaven Bilic had to make three changes, as Aaron Creswell, Michail Antonio and Cheikou Kouyate all missed out due to injury, while Arthur Masuaku, Edimilson Fernandes and Ashley Fletcher were also given starts.

There was a welcome addition on the bench, as Andy Carroll returned to the squad having been missing since August with a knee problem.

The visitors controlled the game straight from the kick-off and, as if the home side's problems weren't bad enough, they were dealt another blow with just seven minutes played, as Collins was added to an already lengthy injury list and was replaced by Alvaro Arbeloa.

The stoppage didn't phase Arsene Wenger's men though and they could have opened the scoring on 17 minutes, as Mesut Ozil's corner was met by the head of Shkodran Mustafi who fortunately for the hosts, headed the ball past the post.

The Irons then saw their clearest chance tipped round the post by goalkeeper Petr Cech just two minutes later, after Manuel Lanzini was played in by Dimitri Payet, the Argentine then evaded the challenges of two Arsenal players.

West Ham were finally made to pay on 24 minutes; Masuaku's misplaced pass allowed Ozil to receive the final pass of a great team move to knock the ball past Randolph and into an empty net.

Given all the chances the visitors had, the Hammers could count themselves very lucky that they weren't further behind by the time referee Craig Pawson blew the half-time whistle.

Arsenal could have doubled their advantage just after the break but Theo Walcott wasted the chance when he headed over the bar.

West Ham made their second change just after the hour, as Andre Ayew replaced Fernandes.

The hosts then had Randolph to thank just six minutes later, as he produced fantastic blocks to keep out close-range efforts from Ozil and substitute Aaron Ramsey.

On 72 minutes, Bilic made his third and final change, as he withdrew the skipper in place of Carroll.

There were then five goals in the space of 16 minutes, as the home side crumbled; an Alexis Sanchez hat-trick, a strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and in between, a goal from last season's hat-trick hero Carroll couldn't inspire a dramatic comeback this time around.

The East Londoners have another big test to come next Sunday when they travel to Anfield to face Liverpool but before then, they will find out who they will come up against in the third round of the FA Cup. Details will be provided on this site as soon as the draw is made.

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