Arsenal edged the battle of Champions League hopefuls at Upton Park today with a 2-1 victory, which sees them leapfrog the Hammers in the table.
The Gunners took the lead late in the first-half thanks to a penalty from Santi Cazorla and doubled their advantage minutes later through Danny Welbeck. West Ham hit back early in the second period through Cheikhou Kouyate but couldn’t find the equaliser.
West Ham thought they’d entered dreamland in the early stages when former-Gunner Alex Song volleyed a distance effort into the net, only to see the goal chalked off for offside as the officials judged his team-mates in the box to be obstructing Wojciech Szczesny’s view.
The hosts continued to dominate the play but had to wait until much later to get another clear chance, as James Tomkins volleyed over the bar despite being under no pressure and having plenty of time inside the box.
That proved to be crucial as Arsenal immediately hit the Hammers defence and they won a penalty when Winston Reid felled Santi Cazorla inside the box, which resulted in the Spaniard stepping-up to give his side the advantage against the run of play.
Arsenal hit again minutes late as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain spearheaded the attack, linking up well with Mathieu Debuchy on the right-flank before surging into the box and delivering a low ball for Danny Welbeck to prod home from close range.
The Hammers didn’t waste any time in the second-half getting themselves back into the game though as Cheikyou Kouyate rose above the daydreaming Debuchy to loop a header home, putting the game back in the balance.
Arsenal had decent chances to extend their lead though, despite facing an onslaught, as Cazorla and Sanchez forced Adrian into terrific saves, either side of a brilliant chance for Oxlade-Chamberlain, which was again prevented by the Hammers keeper.
Though West Ham were throwing everything forward, Arsenal still had multiple chances as Welbeck fired a chance over the bar, before Cazorla followed suit after seeing his initial effort saved.
Then West Ham hit the gas and Szczesny had to be alert to keep out a brilliant drive from Kevin Nolan, before right at the death Enner Valencia saw a point-blank header loop onto the top of the net.
Arsenal now sit fifth in the table, level on points with Southampton, who are ahead of them on goal-difference. The two sides meet on Thursday.