West Ham and Arsenal played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in the Premier League this afternoon.
David Moyes’ men missed the opportunity to draw level with fourth place Chelsea after sensationally snatching only a point from the jaws of victory.
The Hammers incredibly raced into a 3-0 lead with the game only 32 minutes old but Arteta’s men are now made of sterner stuff and, largely thanks to the hosts shooting themselves in the foot, they produced another memorable comeback.
This encounter will undoubtedly go down as a candidate for ‘match of the season’ and like usual there were individual winners and losers. Here are three of each from this London Stadium showdown.
Winner: Jesse Lingard
It’s a bitter pill for any footballer to swallow when deemed surplus to requirements by a club of Manchester United’s stature. Even more so if they were homegrown.
After falling down the pecking order, Jesse Lingard opted to continue his career at West Ham, and so far the decision is proving to be correct. To say the 24-time England international has been rejuvenated would be an understatement. Heading into this weekend’s London derby the 28-year-old forward bagged four goals across six league appearances for the Hammers and you just knew ‘J-Lingz’ fancied his chances of registering another strike when Arsenal came visiting.
This man right here ?
— West Ham United (@WestHam) March 21, 2021
In seven previous starts against the Gunners stretching across various competitions the Warrington-born forward scored four times. Against no other English side has Lingard been more productive. So, was anyone surprised when he broke the deadlock with just 15 minutes elapsed this afternoon? His wondrous strike didn’t exactly come against the run of play as Moyes’ men were all over Arsenal in the opening phase. Lingard’s alertness moments later saw the hosts double their lead and give opposition boss Arteta a headache he didn’t need.
Loser: Bernd Leno
Speaking of that second West Ham goal, Arteta’s men were not switched on after Michail Antonio was brought down just outside the penalty area. Naturally thinking the hosts were going to take their time with the set piece, there was a sense of disorganisation among the Gunners, which Lingard took full advantage of by teeing up Jarrod Bowen, whose effort snuck through Bernd Leno when on second reflection it shouldn’t have. It makes for a sixth consecutive appearance in an Arsenal jersey he’s failed to keep a clean sheet and during that run the German shot-stopper was given his marching orders at Wolves.
Winner: Calum Chambers
West Ham have now scored more own goals than any other Premier League team since the start of last season (6).
Three of them have come in the last two games. pic.twitter.com/tgcHtsDa01
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 21, 2021
Upon going 3-0 down, everything started to click for Arsenal who seemed to engage ‘nothing to lose’ mode. Summing up this badly needed attitude was right-back Calum Chambers starting in only his second Premier League game this season. The multifunctional defender spent the early stages of this campaign recovering from a serious knee injury, with some observers doubting whether he’d return to a semblance of his former self. But on this evidence it’s fair to say Chambers is certainly a candidate for regular first-team action going forward.
The 26-year-old continually marauded up the pitch subsequently becoming a creative threat. Firstly his cross led to Tomas Soucek becoming the first West Ham player to score both a goal and an own goal in the same home Premier League game since Frank Lampard in 1998. Soucek unfortunately deflected Alexandre Lacazette’s ferocious shot.
Chambers wasn’t done yet. His attempt to pick out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang early into the second half once again created an own goal, this time by Craig Dawson.
Loser: Kieran Tierney
This has been a much stronger Premier League campaign for Scottish left-back Kieran Tierney, who joined from boyhood club Celtic in the summer of 2019. A debut campaign plagued by a troublesome shoulder injury reduced Tierney to only 15 league appearances, in which he could muster only one assist. Before today’s outing, he’d registered three across 22 matches and given his increasing confidence as an attacking threat many felt he’d cause the Hammers all sorts of problems. That never came to fruition. Instead Tierney was guilty of regularly conceding possession (on 17 occasions to be precise) and, more damagingly, the full-back turned his back to Lingard in the build-up to Bowen’s goal.
Winner: Alexandre Lacazette
You couldn’t write the script. Mere seconds after Aubameyang was hauled off, the Gunners completed a sensational comeback. Nicolas Pepe, a second-half substitute, found the irresistible Lacazette unguarded in the box and his powerful header was too much for ex-Arsenal ‘keeper Lukasz Fabianski, who could do nothing but see the ball fly past him. Truth be told if anyone was going to get the visitors back into this game it was their leading marksman.
This guy today…
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 21, 2021
His 11th strike of the campaign — one more than he netted in the entirety of last season — earned Arteta’s men an unlikely point and from a personal standpoint the French centre-forward has now scored in seven of his previous nine London derbies. Focusing solely on the Hammers, this was Lacazette’s fifth goal against them in six Premier League meetings.
Loser: Michail Antonio
Michail Antonio got two assists for all his efforts today but it should have been more. The versatile forward was unlucky Soucek got in the way of his goal-bound header to net another goal from midfield this season. But more painful was the fact Antonio could have killed off this game when Arsenal were threatening to deny West Ham all three points.
Just five minutes before Lacazette’s sensational equaliser an outstretched Antonio — with the goal at his mercy– could only guide his shot onto the post. For all Arsenal’s fortitude, at 4-2 it’s difficult to see any other outcome than Moyes becoming the first Hammers boss since Glenn Roeder in May 2002 to register four consecutive top-flight home wins.