Arteta praises Arsenal's ‘ugly win' over Hammers

Holding and Gabriel headers earn Gunners 2-1 victory at West Ham - moving them back above Spurs in the race for the top-four

Sunday, 1st May — By Zakaria Taibi

Mikel Arteta IMG_7781 (1)

Premier League

WEST HAM 1 (Bowen 45)
ARSENAL 2 (Holding 38, Gabriel 55)

MIKEL Arteta heaped praise on his young Arsenal side for “winning ugly” after they beat West Ham 2-1 this afternoon (Sunday) to climb back above Spurs in the race for a top-four finish.

Headers by Rob Holding and Gabriel Magalhaes secured the points at the London Stadium as the Gunners responded to Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Leicester City earlier in the day.

“It’s a massive win, under very difficult circumstances because we put ourselves in real problems, especially with our decision making,” said Arteta. “But the team showed huge character, not to give up, to continue trying to do the right things.

“The way they fought, the way they understood how they have to manage the game in certain moments, with the way we defended – it was phenomenal.

“In England you say ‘win ugly’, I think from my point of view today we won ugly, and I’m extremely happy to see a team that has this capacity to find a way to win and show the character that they showed.”

Holding and Gabriel were instrumental in both defence and attack, digging deep to repel a stronger West Ham side than some might have expected considering their vital Europa League semi-final second leg next week.

After a tentative opening 35 minutes Holding, who was filling in for the injured Ben White, placed a clever header into the back of the net from a corner to score his first ever Premier League goal and put the Gunners 1-0 up.

The north Londoners barely had time to enjoy their lead before being pegged back, Jarrod Bowen equalising for the Hammers with a smart finish – albeit one that needed a slight deflection to beat Aaron Ramsdale.

Knowing that only a win would do in the race for Champions League football, the Gunners came out firing early in the second half and edged back in front just before the hour mark thanks to Gabriel. The Brazilian international found himself free at the back post and slotted in a powerful header that Lukasz Fabianski couldn’t keep out.

Arsenal had chances to kill the game, with Eddie Nketiah spurning several opportunities on the break in a lively performance that would have impressed the away supporters. In the end, their slender lead proved sufficient as they moved two points above Tottenham – guaranteeing at least a top-six finish in the process.

West Ham: Fabianski, Coufal, Zouma, Cresswell, Fredericks, Noble (Soucek, 77), Rice, Fornals, Lanzini (Antonio, 70), Benrahma (Yarmolenko, 80), Bowen
Substitutes not used: Vlasic, Areola, Kral, Alese, Masuaku, Diop

Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu (Cedric, 78), Holding, Gabriel, Tavares, Xhaka, Elneny, Odegaard (Lokonga, 90+2), Saka (Smith Rowe, 87), Martinelli, Nketiah
Substitutes not used: Leno, Swanson, Pepe, Lacazette, Oulad M’hand, Kirk

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