Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said his side’s performance will give him nightmares after the Gunners came from 3-0 down to draw the game with West Ham United in the Premier League.
The Hammers raced into a three-goal lead at the London Stadium in Stratford, East London. It was the in-form loanee Jesse Lingard who opened the scoring for David Moyes’ side before Jarrod Bowen quickly made it 2-0 for the home side inside 20 minutes.
To make things worse, Tomas Soucek touched in a Michail Antonio header to put the Hammers up 3-0 in the first half that saw no hope for Arsenal.
What followed can only be described as absolute drama as 2 own goals led to the Gunners’ comeback as they managed to salvage a much-needed point against 5th place West Ham.
“This game is going to give me a few nightmares because it is really difficult to stop some of the things we have been doing to hurt ourselves.” Arteta said.
The result keeps West Ham in 5th, now two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea who currently occupy the last Champions League spot, while Arsenal move above Aston Villa into 9th.
West Ham United 3-3 Arsenal
Jesse Lingard continued his top form on loan from Manchester United as a brilliant strike by the midfielder saw him hitting Michail Antonio’s cross on the volley into the top corner from 20 yards out that gave Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno no chance of saving it in the 15th minute.
Less than 2 minutes later, West Ham doubled their lead as Jesse Lingard added to the Gunners’ woes as he played a smart quick free kick through to Jarrod Bowen who drilled a low shot past Leno’s near post from less than 12 yards out to make it 2-0.
15 minutes later, it was Tomas Soucek who made it 3-0 as Coufal’s pass picked Antonio’s head out and the English striker’s header went off Soucek and into the back of the net.
The Gunners did not give up, however, and pulled one back in the 38th minute as an Alexandre Lacazette shot took a nasty defelction of Soucek to find its way into the top net of the goal to make it 3-1 at half time.
At the hour mark, Arsenal pulled back one more and were then very much in the game as a Calum Chambers cross hit West Ham defender Craig Dawson’s head in the 6-yard box and snuck into the top netting to make it 3-2.
The drama was not over yet as Lacazette completing the away side’s comeback as Nicolas Pepe‘s cross perfectly picked out Lacazette at the back post for the Frenchman to nod home the equaliser.
Arteta’s side managed to grab a point out of nothing and it proved to be crucial as they try to make a late push for European football next season.
Mikel Arteta’s reaction
Arteta was full of praise for his side’s second-half performance, declaring it “the best [Arsenal have] played all season”.
“That is the level we can show,” Arteta added. “We could have scored six or seven goals and won the game, but we cannot have two faces.
“We stuck to the plan we had because we were getting further away from it. We had the belief we could do something.”
“I’m very disappointed because I cannot accept my team to play the way we did in periods in the first half. I expect we play at the level we did afterwards.
“The first goal, it can happen. It is a really good combination [by West Ham]. That is fine. The way we concede the second and third is unacceptable. Afterwards the attitude and togetherness we showed – it is really difficult to do what we have done. We got really close to winning and I think we deserved to win it but the first part really worried me.”
Arteta on his side not staying active defensively for West Ham’s second goal said, “Unacceptable. We talk about that all the time. I don’t know if it’s a hangover from Europe, tired, focus, it was more than one player that switched off. We have to right that quick.”
He was very impressed with Calum Chambers and went on to praise him saying, “He was really good, he has been training really well. He gives us something else, some height in the back line and he was busy in the final third as well. A really good performance.”
David Moyes still felt it was a good point for West Ham
“It’s still a good point,” Moyes said. “It would have been nice to take another two points but we haven’t lost too much ground today.”
“We were playing a really good team,” added Moyes. “Sometimes people forget what we’re up against. We had chances to move out of sight but we weren’t able to take them.”
West Ham have not finished above Arsenal in the league since 1985-86, but are currently seven points ahead of the Gunners from North London.
European football next season would be a significant achievement for the East London side that finished only five points clear of the relegation zone last season in the Premier League. Despite the disappointment of dropping two points on Sunday, a top-four finish remains a possibility with 9 games to go.
Arsenal, on the other hand, are looking to notch up as many wins as possible to be in Europe next season as well.