Mikel Arteta salutes attitude of Arsenal players after victory over West Ham

The 2-0 win moved the Gunners into the top four of the Premier League

Andy Sims
Wednesday 15 December 2021 22:56 GMT
Arteta reacts to stripping Aubameyang of Arsenal captaincy

Mikel Arteta saluted the “attitude and commitment” of his Arsenal players after they beat West Ham 2-0 to climb into the top four.

The Gunners won comfortably without striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who has been dropped and stripped of the captaincy following a breach of discipline.

Instead it was youngsters Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe who grabbed their chance with second-half goals.

It is quite a turnaround for Gunners boss Arteta, who were rock bottom of the Premier League after three matches of the season, without a point or a goal to their name.

Arteta said: “I’m really happy with the performance, the attitude, the commitment and the quality we showed in the game, and the chemistry with the supporters.

“To win at home is very important, against a really good side who are difficult to dominate.

“The players play for the club and with the pride and the energy we expect from them. From the beginning you could see how focused they were.”

Vladimir Coufal was sent off after conceding a penalty to Arsenal (Nick Potts/PA)

Arteta said there is “no news” on when Aubameyang may return to the squad, but on this evidence they are fine without him.

In his absence Alexandre Lacazette wore the captain’s armband, and Arteta added: “He’s taken it with pride and commitment and I’m really happy with how he played.

“You see how he acts with the younger players, he’s not a selfish player.”

The only blot on Lacazette’s copybook was a missed penalty after Vladimir Coufal had brought him down in the area.

Coufal was sent off for a second yellow card but former Gunners keeper Lukasz Fabianski saved the spot-kick.

David Moyes was not impressed with West Ham’s performance (Nick Potts/PA)

Weary-looking West Ham have won just one of their last six matches as their Champions League charge has slowed down to a crawl.

Boss David Moyes said: “I didn’t think an awful lot of our performance. I thought Arsenal played well.

“We weren’t quite able to deal with it but we showed resilience to stick in the game. A couple of poor bits of play led to the goals. We gave the ball away for the second goal when we were a bit in the ascendency, even with 10 men.

“For the red card, he does get the ball first, but I thought he should have got more of the ball. But his timing means he catches the top of the ball and follows through.

“That’s the reason the referee needed to make a decision. We gave him the opportunity to choose one. But I thought we tried to have a go after that.”

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