West Ham vs Arsenal match report: Andy Carroll scores hat-trick but Laurent Koscielny earns Gunners a point

West Ham United 3 Arsenal 3

At the end, players from both teams collapsed to the turf, shaking their heads at missed opportunities and dropped points, but if neither West Ham nor Arsenal achieve their ambitions this season, it will not be for lack of effort or commitment.

Laurent Koscielny’s second-half equaliser ensured one of the most pulsating games of the season ended 3-3, but on a day when West Ham had two goals disallowed and could have had had hat-trick hero Andy Carroll sent off for a foul on Koscielny as early as the third minute, the lack of a victor at the end of ninety minutes was the only thing missing.

Arsenal can now forget about a late surge to the title – supporters held banners aloft at the end calling for Arsene Wenger and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke to go – and West Ham may have to focus solely on winning the FA Cup rather than ploughing energies into their pursuit of the top four.

But West Ham are a growing force under Slaven Bilic and they will be back. Who knows where Arsenal and Wenger will end up now, though?

Arsenal have undoubtedly had the title in their own hands at times this season, but too often, Wenger’s players have allowed themselves to lose their momentum by dropping points at the times when champions take advantage.

And that frailty ensured that they arrived at Upton Park not only with title hopes fading, but also faced with the growing prospect of the chasing pack – West Ham included – overhauling them in the race for fourth place.

So this was a crucial game for Arsenal, with the contrasting scenarios brought by victory or defeat, but notwithstanding West Ham’s recent form, Wenger’s teams have always enjoyed their trips to East London, with six victories and a draw from their last seven visits.

Wenger surprisingly started with the fit-again goalkeeper Petr Cech on the substitutes’ bench, keeping faith with David Ospina, and also retained Alex Iwobi in the team ahead of England winger Theo Walcott.

Those decisions were perhaps rooted in Wenger’s confidence of his team’s ability to secure their usual victory at this ground, but West Ham, harbouring genuine Champions League qualification ambitions of their own, are not quite the soft touch they have been in previous years and Carroll’s brutal challenge on Laurent Koscielny after just three minutes, when the forward could have been sent off, underlined the home side’s readiness to test Arsenal’s resolve.

With each passing fixture, as the end of Upton Park draws closer, every game appears to hold a greater significance and with this being the final London derby at the stadium, there was clearly a greater edge from the home team.

And Bilic’s team should have been rewarded for their tenacious start with the opener on 14 minutes, but Manuel Lanzini’s goal from Carroll’s overhead kick was incorrectly ruled out for offside, despite the Argentine midfielder being played on by Hector Bellerin.

It proved a costly decision for West Ham with Ozil putting Arsenal ahead four minutes later after being released by Iwobi’s pass, which enabled the German to calmly guide the ball past goalkeeper Adrian.

Andy Carroll scores his brilliant second

West Ham responded well, going close when Lanzini struck a volley narrowly wide from Dimitri Payet’s 31st minute corner, but Arsenal’s pace on the counter attack cause the home side countless problems and they doubled their lead on 35 minutes when Alexis Sanchez converted another Iwobi pass to put Wenger’s team into a commanding lead.

But it proved to be anything but as Wenger’s players, seemingly coasting, took their foot off the pedal. Momentum lost once again.

They simply could not cope with Carroll, who served a warning of what was to come when Ospina had to save his 20 yard strike at the second attempt on 39 minutes.

Carroll finally drew blood on 44 minutes, however, when he rose above Nacho Monreal to direct a powerful header past Ospina from Aaron Cresswell’s cross.

Laurent Koscielny sweeps home the equaliser 

Arsenal should simply have regrouped and held firm until half-time, but in typical fashion, they could not even manage that, with Carroll left unmarked in stoppage time to score again, at the second attempt, after his initial shot was blocked by Gabriel.

Carroll was simply causing havoc, bullying and dominating the Arsenal defenders and producing the kind of performance which once prompted Liverpool invest £35m in his unique talents.

On 50 minutes, Carroll looked to have teed up Payet for West Ham’s third, only to be penalised by referee Craig Pawson for man-handlng Koscielny.

But two minutes later, West Ham did take the lead, with Carroll unsurprisingly claiming his hat-trick goal with a far post header from Michail Antonio’s cross.

It would been the winning goal of a remarkable game but for Koscielny’s equaliser, but despite the fight and commitment displayed by both teams, a point apiece was little reward and will ultimately benefit neither.

West Ham United (5-3-1-1): Adrian; Antonio, Tomkins, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble, Lanzini; Payet; Carroll.

Subs: Randolph, Valencia, Obiang, Moses, Emenike, Hendrie, Oxford.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Elneny, Coquelin; Sanchez, Ozil, Iwobi; Welbeck.

Subs: Cech, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Giroud, Walcott, Ramsey, Chambers.

Referee: Craig Pawson

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