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Men's Football West Ham the better side in victory over Arsenal

WEST HAM deserved victory in this hard-fought London derby, battling Arsenal to a standstill by the end.

The home side were constantly harrying their north London opponents, never allowing them the time to settle and build their fluid game from the back.

The first half saw both sides create chances but neither provide the finishing touch.

Arsenal’s best effort came from Alexandre Lacazette, forcing keeper Lukasz Fabianski into a decent save low down to his right.

West Ham almost took the lead when an exchange between Marko Arnautovic and Sami Nasri, led to the latter laying the chance on for the incoming Felipe Anderson, who saw his effort skim wide of the post.

The second half was just two minutes old when Anderson’s cross from the right was headed weakly out by the defender. It fell to the impressive Nasri, who cushioned the ball for the incoming Declan Rice to score his first Premier League goal.

Arsenal continued to press but were limited to a long-range effort from Matteo Guendouzi.

Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny had the ball in the net in the dying minutes but the effort was ruled out for offside.

Arnautovic was substituted with 20 minutes left, waving to the crowd, in what many expect could be his last home game for the club.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini would not be drawn on the Arnautovic situation, again claiming the Austrian striker’s back problems as the reason for his withdrawal.

The manager was keener to talk about the man of the match performance from Rice. “I am sure Declan will be a top player. He improves with every game he plays. He is strong in one v one and has a good technique.

“He will be a good player for West Ham and the national team.”

Arsenal boss Unai Emery felt his side needed to improve control. He was also disappointed at the lack of chances his team created.

Emery remained tight-lipped as to why the club’s top wage earner Mesut Ozil was not even on the bench.

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