Arsenal saw their title bid take another hit as they squandered a two-goal lead for the second consecutive game in a row with West Ham United fighting back to earn a thrilling 2-2 draw at the London Stadium today.
The gulf between the two teams in the Premier League was evident in the early stages of the game, with Arsenal’s quality proving too much for West Ham to handle.
Basking in the Sunday sunshine, the Gunners drew first blood through Gabriel Jesus, who latched on to a Ben White pass to tap home from close range.
David Moyes’ side barely had time to process the opening goal when Martin Odegaard extended the lead with a volley from a sublime Gabriel Martinelli cross.
West Ham were handed a lifeline on the half-hour mark when Gabriel Magalhaes brought down Lucas Paqueta in the 18-yard area.
Protests ensued, with the Arsenal players insisting Hammers captain Declan Rice handled the ball in the build-up. But it fell on deaf ears as Said Benrahma sent Aaron Ramsdale the wrong way, slotting home from 12 yards out.
West Ham grew into the game, piling the pressure on Arsenal, who found themselves on the back foot in the latter stages of the half after controlling most of the opening proceedings.
However, Mikel Arteta’s side saw off the late pressure from the Hammers to go into the half-time interval with a slender one-goal lead.
The Gunners began the second half in the same fashion as they did the first, looking for an early strike that would see them regain control of the London derby.
The visitors were rewarded for all their attacking endeavours as referee David Coote awarded Arteta’s side a penalty of their own when Michail Antonio handled a strike from Martinelli.
However, Bukayo Saka stepped up to the plate but curled his shot just wide, tainting his previous 100% record from the spot going into this vital derby clash.
Grateful for the reprieve, West Ham punished the Gunners’ profligacy just two minutes later as Jarrod Bowen rifled home to send the East London crowd into raptures.
Buoyed by the scoreline, West Ham felt the game was there for the taking, and as their confidence grew, the hosts came close to stealing an unlikely victory, but Antonio could not hit the target as his close-range header only found the crossbar.
With the three points eluding both sides, West Ham would be the more grateful side for the result, which leaves them four points above the relegation zone.
As for Arsenal, lightning has struck twice, and they will be left to rue a missed opportunity to extend their lead at the Premier League summit, with a title decider against Manchester City on the horizon.
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