Arsenal regained their spot in the Premier League top four with a vital 2-1 victory over West Ham on Sunday afternoon.
The Gunners had been booted out of the Champions League places following Tottenham's convincing 3-1 win over Leicester earlier in the day. But goals from defenders Rob Holding and Gabriel cancelled out Jarrod Bowen's strike to ensure they rose back above their fierce rivals to close out the weekend.
The first half hour at the London Stadium made for tough viewing, with the two teams sizing each other up with extended spells of sterile possession.
Eventually, the game sparked into life with Pablo Fornals firing well over after the ball broke kindly to him on the edge of the box. Manuel Lanzini also saw an effort from inside the box blocked by stand-in centre-back Holding, who replaced the injured Ben White.
Eight minutes before half-time Arsenal took the lead from a corner. Bukayo Saka swung one in and Holding rose high to glance the ball past Lukasz Fabianski to score his second-ever league career goal.
Just before the break, West Ham grabbed an equaliser. Declan Rice – who had watched his header be acrobatically saved by Aaron Ramsdale moments earlier – was instrumental in the build-up, delivering an inch-perfect lofted pass to Vladimir Coufal who then crossed for Bowen to produce a scrappy, deflected finish into the bottom corner.
It did not take Arsenal long to restore their one-goal advantage, with West Ham again undone by a set piece early in the second period. The Hammers failed to clear Bukayo Saka's corner and Gabriel Martinelli kept it alive, crossing for Gabriel to power home with his head at the back post.
This strike initially knocked the stuffing out of West Ham and the game rather simmered down with chances at a premium.
20 minutes from time, Eddie Nketiah was slipped through, set himself and curled his shot the wrong side of the post when he really should have done better. The centre-forward then forced a save out of Fabianski with a daisy-cutter from distance.
As the game trickled towards its conclusion, West Ham brought on both Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio as they searched for an equaliser. However, the jaded Hammers never seriously troubled the Arsenal goal, with their visitors holding for a vital victory.
Here are your player ratings...
1. West Ham player ratings (4-2-3-1)
Lukasz Fabianski (GK) - 5/10 - Little he could do about either goal really. Got a hand to Gabriel's but the power was too much.
Vladimir Coufal (RB) - 5/10 - Made the most of the acres of space he was afforded down the right-hand side by setting up Bowen to score. Was pretty porous defensively and one error near the end could have been easily punished.
Kurt Zouma (CB) - 5/10 - Looked a little tired but he has played lots of football recently. West Ham will be hoping he fully recovers for the second leg against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Aaron Cresswell (CB) - 6/10 - Filled in admirably as a centre-back, though West Ham missed his attacking instinct out wide.
Ryan Fredericks (LB) - 6/10 - Did okay defensively but is not as effective going forward on the left as he is on the right.
Declan Rice (CM) - 7/10 - Helped create Bowen's leveller with a sumptuous long ball. It was not the only time his passing caught the eye either.
Mark Noble (CM) - 6/10 - Not the most mobile anymore but still has that bit of bite. Chose his passes intelligently.
Jarrod Bowen (RW) - 7/10 - Got fortunate for his goal but they all count. Picked up a booking for simulation early in the second half, but it was far from clear-cut.
Manuel Lanzini (AM) - 4/10 - So many sloppy passes in the first half. Did not really improve and was eventually dragged off.
Pablo Fornals (LW) - 4/10 - Had a few nice ideas in the final third but hardly ever pulled them off.
Said Benrahma (ST) - 4/10 - Skirted around the edges of the game. Did not do a lot to strengthened his case for inclusion on Thursday.
SUB: Michail Antonio (ST) - 5/10
SUB: Tomas Soucek (CM) - 5/10
SUB: Andriy Yarmolenko (ST) - N/A
2. Arsenal (4-2-3-1)
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) - 5/10 - Produced an excellent save from a Rice header, only to be beaten by a scrappy finish on the stroke of half time. A bit reckless at times.
Takehiro Tomiyasu (RB) - 7/10 - Solid, as he has been all season. His return from injury is a real boost to Arsenal's top-four chances. Just as him pulling up near the end is a potential blow.
Rob Holding (CB) - 8/10 - Made an important block at one end and then scored at the other a few minutes later to cap off a fine first half. Solid after the break.
Gabriel (CB) - 7/10 - Finished like prime Alan Shearer at the back post early in the second half. Did not let West Ham's fluidity up front faze him as he did in the damaging defeat to Crystal Palace.
Nuno Tavares (LB) - 5/10 - Gave Coufal far too much room in the lead up to West Ham's equaliser. Still unconvincing at the back in all honesty. You fear for him against Dejan Kulusevski later this month.
Mohamed Elneny (CM) - 6/10 - Gave West Ham a little too much space early on but improved. Passing was faultless.
Granit Xhaka (CM) - 6/10 - A little sloppy on the ball at times. Created a couple of decent opportunities for his teammates.
Bukayo Saka (RW) - 6/10 - Arsenal's spark. His corner breathed some life into proceedings but he was a little quiet thereafter.
Martin Odegaard (AM) - 5/10 - Not his most influential display, that's for sure.
Gabriel Martinelli (LW) - 7/10 - Very anonymous early on but did set up his side's second goal with a pinpoint cross. Put in a great defensive shift.
Eddie Nketiah (ST) - 5/10 - A few bright moments. Fired off a few powerful efforts which were saved. Guilty of one pretty bad miss.
SUB: Cedric Soares (RB) - N/A
SUB: Albert Sambi Lokonga (CM) - N/A
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