Rudderless Arsenal crack under pressure, bottle two-goal lead AGAIN at West Ham

League leaders now only four points ahead of Manchester City

English Premier League leaders Arsenal once again showed a soft underbelly as they gave up a two-goal lead to scrape a draw away to West Ham United at the London Stadium. Mikel Arteta’s men were left hanging on for a 2-2 draw which keeps them just ahead of rivals Manchester City.

After a sub-par second-half showing saw them draw 2-2 against Liverpool after being 2-0 up in the first half last week, Arsenal needed a response in their London Derby against West Ham United, especially after Manchester City defeated Leicester City yesterday.

The Gunners were in the mood early on and went in front after only seven minutes thanks to a smart finish from Gabriel Jesus after silky build-up involving Bukayo Saka, Thomas Partey, Martin Odegaard and Ben White.

The league leaders showed their class once more three minutes later through captain Martin Odegaard, with the Norwegian midfielder guiding a delightful volley between the legs of Lukasz Fabianski from a Gabriel Martinelli cross.

Arsenal were coasting to a win until shortly after the half-hour mark when Declan Rice stole the ball off Partey before driving forward and laying a pass for Lucas Paqueta. The Brazilian midfielder was lightly caught by a silly lunge from Gabriel Magalhaes and went down in the box, resulting in a penalty. Said Benrahma stepped up and sent Aaron Ramsdale the wrong way from 12 yards out.

West Ham ended the first half of the front foot as Arsenal looked shell-shocked going into the break.

Arsenal began the second half in search of a third goal and were rewarded with a penalty in the 51st minute after Michail Antonio blocked Gabriel Martinelli’s shot using his arm. Bukayo Saka stepped up but saw his effort clear the upright, missing a penalty for the first time since the Euro 2020 final for England.

Three minutes after the missed penalty, the Hammers drew level in style. A lofted ball over the Arsenal defence from Thilo Kehrer found the run of Jarrod Bowen, who skilfully guided a volley past Ramsdale to make it 2-2, sending the stadium into raptures.

Both sides had chances to win it in the end, with West Ham coming closest through an Antonio header that came back off the post. The match ended in a stalemate, with Arsenal cracking under pressure once again.

The Gunners now have 74 points to Manchester City’s 70, having played a game more. They still have to go to the Etihad, having lost at home to the champions earlier in the season.

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