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  • Julian Taylor at the London Stadium

Arsenal must 'dig deep' says Arteta, as Moyes hails Hammers' efforts after capital draw


West Ham United 2 Arsenal 2


Julian Taylor at the London Stadium


Managers Mikel Arteta and David Moyes had contrasting emotions following a dramatic 2-2 draw between West Ham and Arsenal at the London Stadium. A share of the spoils which may ultimately dislodge Arsenal from their Premier League title mission.


It looked like being an agonisingly long afternoon in east London for West Ham when the Gunners went two goals ahead inside 11 minutes. Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard helped create what should have been an unassailable cushion, before an improbable, impressive recovery from the hosts.


Said Benrahma fired West Ham back with a 33rd minute penalty, before a couple of compressed minutes of drama saw events ebb away from Arteta’s title-chasing Arsenal outfit. Bukayo Saka blazed a spot kick over the crossbar in 51 minutes before Jarrod Bowen converted a fine close range volley to level.


Arsenal never really recovered from the double blow. The setback means that the north Londoners are four points clear of Manchester City but have played a game more. Now, the looming clash between the top two at the Etihad Stadium carries ever increasing importance; a game which Arsenal simply cannot afford to lose.


The point, meanwhile, for West Ham was fully deserved, due to their diligent recovery against the league leaders. David Moyes can view the Premier League table in a more favourable light, with the Hammers now four points above the drop zone.


This was a superb recovery, considering how they folded in their last outing at the London Stadium against Newcastle United, before winning at Fulham. There was enough determination and know-how – plus leadership from excellent skipper Declan Rice – to suggest an ultimate move away from danger with eight games to go.


Arsenal visibly wilted in terms of their usual pace, fluency and dynamism in the last twenty minutes – an issue which is a real concern for Arteta, particularly having yielded another two-goal lead at Liverpool only a week ago.


Purpose


“We started extremely well again and scored beautiful goals, but after that we made a mistake and stopped playing with the same purpose", said the Arsenal boss.


“West Ham did start to play well and were extremely direct. You have to do more things better. Those two minutes are part of football. We have to understand that we need a ruthless mindset and today we haven’t done it".


Arteta insists he is taking each game in isolation, and would not draw comparisons from the similar circumstances which frustrated them at Anfield.


He said: “You have to play with the same purpose and not give them (West Ham) anything. At half-time we knew what we had to do but it is difficult, and you have to have more composure to end the game against a team fighting for their lives.


“We were slower in everything we did. We are here to win and we have to dig really deep to find the solutions".


Moyes, on the other hand, was understandably quick to praise West Ham’s character and resilience after their Europa Conference League draw in Gent on Thursday – a derby day which threatened to turn into a major struggle.


“It was very good after going two goals down", said the Hammers’ chief. “I always thought we’ve had good games against Arsenal, but when we went 2-0 down it made things really difficult.


“I could single out loads of players but the effort and character they showed after playing on Thursday night and Arsenal had a week to prepare. But we got on top of it and started to get a lot of pressure on the ball".


Pressure


The outcome is especially encouraging for West Ham, beyond a vital point in their challenge to avoid potential relegation. Yet they showed plenty of quality to indicate the danger will be ultimately averted.


“We put Arsenal under pressure and looked quicker around the pitch", added Moyes. “We did a lot of things better than we did before. The players are pleased – it’s a big result. When you go 2-0 down against a team leading the table and who were slick in their play, to being disappointed at their goals and to hang in and recover was great.

“There was a period after when they missed the penalty I thought we could even go on to win it. The players never gave up and had great resilience.”


HAMMERS: Fabianski, Cresswell, Zouma, Coufal, Antonio (Cornet 86), Paqueta (Downes 86), Bowen, Benrahma (Fornals 89), Kehrer, Soucek, Rice


GUNNERS: Ramsdale, Tierney (Vieira 84), White, Partey (Trossard 65), Gabriel, Saka, Odegaard (Nketiah 89), Jesus (Jorginho 65), Martinelli (Nelson 84), Holding, Xhaka

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