December 16, 2021 8:25:39 am
Arsenal moved into the Premier League’s top four at West Ham United’s expense as goals by Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe earned a 2-0 win in a lively London derby on Wednesday.
Brazilian forward Martinelli struck just after halftime with a clinical finish and substitute fellow youngster Smith Rowe eventually gave a dominant Arsenal some welcome breathing space with a superb 87th-minute effort.
🔟 of Arsenal’s 23 #PL goals this season have been scored by players aged 21 or younger (Smith-Rowe x6, Martinelli x2, Saka x2)
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 15, 2021
It could have been a more comfortable night for Arsenal had Alexandre Lacazette, captain again in place of the disciplined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, not had his penalty saved midway through the second half.
West Ham, for whom Vladimir Coufal was red-carded after conceding the penalty, failed to produce the kind of form that has seen them stationed in the top four since October.
They huffed and puffed and threatened sporadically but home keeper Aaron Ramsdale’s only real save was from a Jarrod Bowen effort shortly after Martinelli’s opener.
Victory hoisted Arsenal up two places into fourth spot with 29 points from 17 games with West Ham on 28.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 16, 2021
“Really pleased with the attitude, the commitment, the quality that we showed in the game,” Arteta told reporters.
“The players play for the club and the pride that we expect from them. I was really happy from the beginning, because we knew that we had to play really good today to beat West Ham.”
Palace hold Saints to 2-2 draw
Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew scored his first goal for the club in 13 months to secure a 2-2 home draw with Southampton in the Premier League on Wednesday.
The Ghanaian netted from close range in the 65th minute after quickfire goals from James Ward-Prowse and Armando Broja had cancelled out Wilfried Zaha’s early opener for Palace in a pulsating first half.
Our captain 👊
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 16, 2021
The result lifted Palace two places up to 11th on 20 points from 17 games while Southampton stayed 15th on 17 points, six above the bottom three although 18th-placed Burnley have two games in hand.
Ward-Prowse had mixed feelings about the outcome after the Saints faded away in the second half.
“I don’t think we started the game very well but got back into it, a scrappy goal we conceded ultimately cost us all three points,” he said.
Wolves notch narrow victory at Brighton
Romain Saiss struck a superb volley in first-half stoppage time to give Wolverhampton Wanderers a 1-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Wednesday as the home side’s winless run extended to 11 league games.
Despite their squad being depleted by injuries, suspensions and COVID-19 infections, Brighton had the better chances in the first half, and the visitors suffered a blow when Korean striker Hwang Hee-Chan had to be replaced after 16 minutes.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 16, 2021
The home side thought they had cleared the danger from a corner just before the break, but Ruben Neves chipped a beautiful ball over the defence and Saiss was on hand to score with a deft volley.
A problem with the referee’s communications equipment at the beginning of the second half contributed to 13 minutes of stoppage time, but Brighton barely managed to force a save from Jose Sa in the Wolves goal.
Brighton, who have not won since beating Leicester City 2-1 on Sep 19, are 13th in the table on 20 points, with Wolves four points above them in eighth.
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