Bukayo Saka notched a brace and Declan Rice scored against his former club as Arsenal closed the gap on leaders Liverpool with a sensational 6-0 rout of West Ham at the London Stadium.
It had looked like being a potential banana skin for The Gunners having already lost to The Hammers twice this season, but David Moyes’ men never appeared likely to notch up a hat-trick as the visitors produced a masterclass to underline their title credentials.
Mikel Arteta’s side added a third two minutes later when Gabriel marked his 150th appearance for the club with another header from a set piece. It had thousands of West Ham fans heading for the exits and their misery grew further in first-half stoppage time when Leandro Trossard curled in a sublime fourth.
The pattern continued following the restart and Saka fizzed a low strike in at the near post to make it 100 goal contributions in his Arsenal career.
Rice then rubbed salt in his old team’s wounds with a stunning 25-yard curler that he refused to celebrate on 65 minutes. West Ham went through the motions in the remainder of a hugely one-sided encounter and were greeted by boos at the final whistle.
The result means Arsenal have won all four of their league matches in 2024 and are once again two points shy of leaders Liverpool in third spot – and behind second-placed Manchester City on goals scored. West Ham, who in contrast are winless in five league outings since the turn of the year, remain eighth.
Next up, Arsenal visit Burnley on Saturday while West Ham are at Nottingham Forest.
TALKING POINT – ARSENAL’S TITLE CHALLENGE CONTINUES TO GATHER SERIOUS MOMENTUM
Arteta would have been well aware of the need to back-up last week’s impressive victory over Liverpool – and his side duly achieved their target in emphatic and stylish fashion.
With Liverpool and Manchester City both winning on Saturday, the pressure was on The Gunners to stay firmly in touch against an opponent who had inflicted some serious blows on them already this season.
In truth, it never looked on the cards as Arsenal ran riot with a performance that not only showed the confidence currently flowing through the squad, but also suggests they have put to bed some of the concerns regarding their previous profligacy in front of goal.
It’s still early days but the title race is hotting up nicely and there are most definitely three names in the running on this evidence.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – DECLAN RICE (ARSENAL)
The midfielder endured a disappointing return to the London Stadium back in November when he appeared as a substitute in a 3-1 Carabao Cup loss. However, it was a different story in the Premier League as he capped a dominant display in the middle of the park with two assists and a fantastic goal he refused to celebrate out of respect for his former fans.