Late show sees Arsenal start Arsene Wenger's farewell tour with win over West Ham

Arsenal 4 West Ham 1: Two goals from Alexandre Lacazette and another Aaron Ramsey got the Gunners out of jail against the Hammers

Ian Baker
Emirates Stadium
Sunday 22 April 2018 15:26
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Late goals gave Arsenal a comfortable win at the Emirates
Late goals gave Arsenal a comfortable win at the Emirates

This is hardly the performance Arsene Wenger will have wanted as a tribute to his near 22-year reign as Arsenal manager and not one that will provide Atletico Madrid with any sleepless nights.

But three late goals, one from Aaron Ramsey and two from Alexandre Lacazette, gave a flattering look to the scoreline as the North Londoners tasted victory two days after the man dubbed “the boss” announced he was leaving at the end of the season.

However not wanting any fuss there was little by way of fanfare as Wenger emerged from the tunnel at the Emirates which although reported 59,422 tickets sold was much emptier than that with plenty of empty seats again..

Wenger opted to make five changes to his side with one eye on Thursday’s Europa League semi-final with Atletico. He left out Petr Cech (hip), Mesut Ozil (illness), Sead Kolasinac and Jack Wilshere (both ankle) all of whom had minor injuries.

Monreal opened the scoring in the second-half

Arsenal should have scored early on with Laurent Koscielny heading wide from Granit Xhaka’s corner but West Ham provided them with a couple of scares at the other.

Joao Mario ran straight through the home defence but could only shoot straight at David Ospina with the Arsenal goalkeeping then coming to his side’s rescue after Marko Arnautovic had found space down the left.

Arsenal were the more threatening as Hector Bellerin shot over from Danny Welbeck’s cutback while the former Manchester United forward missed a succession of chances.

Arnautovic levelled shortly after

His low drive from the edge of the area went just wide before he dragged another effort just wide after his central run.

Granit Xhaka was then denied by Joe Hart from a 25-yard free kick before Welbeck headed over from a Bellerin cross from the right.

Wenger was dealt a blow when Mohamed Elneny was stretchered off with a suspected knee injury after a coming together with Mark Noble.

Arsenal still should have been ahead by half-time with Aaron Ramsey the next to miss the target from Xhaka’s pass.

Ramsey restored the Gunners' lead

Frustrations for the North Londoners continued at the start of the season half when Nacho Monreal could only shoot straight at Hart after Welbeck had brought the ball down.

But it was Monreal who gave them a 51st-minute lead, volleying home from Xhaka’s corner. Wenger, who had looked far more relaxed on the touchline, celebrated with a calm clench of the fist.

That visibly lifted Arsenal with Ramsey then shooting wide after a clever one-two with Alex Iwobi.

There were even a few cries of “one Arsene Wenger” from parts of the Emirates Stadium who made no overwhelming tribute to their outgoing manager.

Lacazette added a third

West Ham brought on Manuel Lanzini and Javier Hernandez and the latter soon set up Arnautovic’s whose volley went over the crossbar.

However Arnautovic went on to level the game on 64 minutes with a left footed finish from Lanzini’s pass.

It then took a superb Hart save to push away Ramsey’s low left footed drive with the England goalkeeper soon making an even better stop to push away Welbeck’s curler.

West Ham were well in the game at this point and appeared to be moving a point towards safety.

The Frenchman scored again to add gloss to the scoreline

However they fell apart in the closing stages. While Hart’s two previous saves had provided optimism that he could still deliver on the big stage, the errors keep coming.

Neither Hart nor Declan Rice claimed a straightforward Ramsey cross on 82 minutes and the ball went straight into the net in embarrassing fashion.

Then Lacazette struck on 85 minutes with a deflected finish from sub Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before the Frenchman scored his second of the game, and 15th of the season, from close range from Ramsey’s pull back.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Elneny (Maitland-Niles 45), Xhaka; Iwobi (Aubameyang 70), Ramsey, Welbeck (Chambers 88); Lacazette. Subs: Mertesacker, Holding, Macey, Nelson.

West Ham United (3-4-3): Hart; Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Zabaleta, Kouyate, Noble, Masuaku (Carroll 85); Fernandes (Lanzini 60), Arnautovic, Mario (Hernandez 60). Subs: Adrian, Carroll, Hugill, Evra, Cullen.

Referee: Lee Mason

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