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Gabriel Magalhaes’ header proves decisive as Gunners move back above Tottenham

todayMay 1, 2022

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Gabriel celebrates after making it 2-1 to Arsenal.

 

Arsenal battled to a 2-1 win over West Ham to climb back above Tottenham and boost their prospects of a top-four finish.

 

The Gunners went into the game having dropped to fifth following Spurs’ 3-1 win over Leicester earlier on Sunday, but Gabriel Magalhaes’ second-half header (55) from Gabriel Martinelli’s cross proved decisive in a hard-fought encounter at the London Stadium.

Earlier, Gabriel’s centre-back partner Rob Holding, standing in for the injured Ben White, had put the Gunners in front when he nodded in a Bukayo Saka corner (39), only for Jarrod Bowen to bring the hosts level with a low finish just before the break (45).

West Ham deserved that goal, having been the better side in an often-subdued first period, but Thursday’s Europa League exertions left them heavy-legged in the closing stages and they rarely threatened after Gabriel restored Arsenal’s lead.

Mikel Arteta’s side had chances to kill the game, with Eddie Nketiah spurning several opportunities on the break, but their slender lead proved sufficient as they moved two points above their north London rivals – and within three of third-placed Chelsea – guaranteeing a top-six finish in the process.

West Ham, meanwhile, remain seventh in the Premier League, three points behind sixth-placed Manchester United ahead of their crucial Europa League semi-final second leg away to Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.

The Hammers, though, were guilty of sloppiness themselves, perhaps understandably given their Europa League exertions here three days earlier, making for a low-quality opening half-hour.
West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen celebrates after scoring his sides equaliser.

West Ham did, however, manage to create openings, with Pablo Fornals blazing over and Declan Rice firing straight at Aaron Ramsdale either side of a heroic block by Holding to deny Manuel Lanzini.

West Ham looked likeliest to break the deadlock at that point, but Arsenal suddenly sprang to life when an errant pass by Bowen allowed Martin Odegaard to feed Nketiah, who drove past a crowd of West Ham defenders and unleashed a low, curling effort which had to be pushed around the post by Lukasz Fabianski.

It was from the resulting corner that Holding broke the deadlock, rising highest to meet Saka’s corner and send a glancing header into the far corner for his first goal since September 2019.

Their lead did not last long, however. Six minutes later, Rice, excellent in midfield, sprayed a diagonal pass out to Vladimir Coufal, whose low cross found Bowen. The winger was given space to control the ball and fire a low finish past Ramsdale.

Gabriel gestures to the crowd as he celebrates Arsenal’s winner

 

Written by: ravradio

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