Paul Merson says Arsenal “are right in this title race” after making West Ham “surrender” in Sunday’s 6-0 thrashing at the London Stadium.
Declan’s Rice’s long-range strike capped a stunning performance from the Gunners, after goals from Bukayo Saka (two), Gabriel, William Saliba and Leandro Trossard helped move them level on points and goal difference with Manchester City, while closing the gap on leaders Liverpool to two points.
Arsenal, twice losers to West Ham earlier in the season, have put a three-game losing run behind them and have now won their last four, silencing critics who felt they needed a striker in January by averaging four goals per game in that time.
“Arsenal are now putting their chances away and working hard”, Sky Sports pundit Merson said.
“If you want to win the Premier League, you have to bounce back [from defeats] as quickly as you can and they have done that. That is what Man City do and they have worked hard and been hard to beat.
“And fair play to them, they are right in this title race.”
West Ham disintegrated under a barrage of pressure from the visitors as they conceded four goals in 15 first-half minutes. The Gunners blew their opponents away, scoring twice more after the break to become only the second team to score six past a David Moyes side on their travels.
“It is just a massive result, it has done the goal difference the world of good – if this was Man City today who had won
that game 6-0, we would be waxing lyrical,” added Merson.
“They have literally made West Ham surrender, they turned up, started well and carried it on and kept on going. A brilliant, brilliant result by Arsenal.”
Saka: We smelt blood and went for the kill
Saka, awarded the player-of-the-match award for his two goals, was left wanting more after the victory but was full of praise for the way he and his team-mates took advantage of West Ham’s woeful performance.
“We were 4-0 up in the first half and we could have scored many more – including myself,” he told Sky Sports. “We smelt blood today and we went for the kill.”
Saka took his Arsenal tally to 50 goals on Sunday, making him the youngest to reach the milestone since Frank Stapleton in 1978.
On the achievement, boss Mikel Arteta said: “When you talk about consistency at his [Bukayo Saka] age…what he has done in the last two or three seasons in remarkable. His attitude, his quality, what he delivers every week…it’s really difficult to find. That’s why he is so important to us.”
Arteta: We are in a good moment
Arteta says his side are in a good moment after two big results back-to-back, and hopes they can build some momentum as the Premier League title race heats up.
“I’m extremely happy,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “The way we performed, the way we played. Such a big score in a really difficult place tells you a lot about how well the boys played today.
“It’s great to make [club] history especially the way we have done it. We’re in a good moment and when you have good moments you have to build and maintain the momentum. The team from the beginning looked really sharp. We had to put right the last two results against them and that was a good motivation for the boys.”
Keane and Merson blast West Ham’s ‘Under-10 defending’
Roy Keane and Merson gave a withering assessment of West Ham’s performance.
Speaking at half-time, Keane told Sky Sports: “There are ways to lose a football match – West Ham have not turned up.
“They have not been physical, they are not tackling, no desire, no hunger, they look old and sluggish, they are not tracking back, no one has laid a glove on (Martin) Odegaard.
“Moyes must be fuming at half-time, but all credit to Arsenal, they look sharp and at it and have turned up.
“West Ham, though, a disgrace… shocking. I’m really frustrated with them. Arsenal are making the most of it. One or two touch, no one gets near them. Beautiful finish. Four nil.
“I can’t believe what I’m watching. The way they get beaten physically, set-pieces… West Ham the last 10 or 15 minutes have been an absolute disgrace.”
Merson added: “Defending wise, if that happened in Under-10s football you’d be going, ‘seriously?!’
“Not getting tight, showing them inside on to their proper foot, it is poor, I just think Arsenal made West Ham surrender and that is quite sad as a player as that is the one thing you do not want to do.
“There is ways of losing football matches, that is a horrible way and I feel sorry for David Moyes as that is not a Moyes team out there, they have let him down today. They work hard and the one thing you do not get done at West Ham is by set-plays, and they were poor with them today.”
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