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Arsenal reach new heights as they hammer West Ham in record win

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Declan Rice of Arsenal FC celebrate with Gabriel Magalhaes, Bukayo Saka after scoring goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on February 11, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Declan Rice of Arsenal FC celebrate with Gabriel Magalhaes, Bukayo Saka after scoring goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on February 11, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta took Arsenal to heights Arsene Wenger never did on Sunday afternoon as the Gunners recorded their biggest ever away win against West Ham.

The away side smashed six goals past West Ham to boost their hopes of mounting a serious title challenge against Liverpool and Manchester City.

But skipper Martin Odegaard played down the inevitable questions about their Premier League chances.

“We are focusing on ourselves. We don’t care too much about the other teams,” he said.

“[It was a] brilliant performance. From start to end we dominated and controlled everything. Today, we were really sharp in front of goal. I’m proud of the team, coming from a big game [against Liverpool] and a big win and backing it up today with a great performance.”

Arsenal brilliance

West Ham struggled to get their foot on the ball with only 29 per cent of the possession at the London Stadium with hundreds of fans seen heading home at half-time – when the Hammers were 4-0 down – in what became David Moyes’ side’s worst home defeat since 1963.

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Goals came from William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Leandro Trossard, Declan Rice and Bukayo Saka, who netted a brace. Arsenal’s clinical finishing was packed into the middle third of the game, with all goals scored between the 32nd and 65th minutes.

But perhaps most significantly, the first three of Arsenal’s six goals came from dead ball situations. One came from a corner,  one from a penalty, and one from a free-kick.

Bitter feelings turned to affliction as former Hammers captain Rice curled one into the corner for the Gunners – he did not celebrate.

It does not get much more humiliating for West Ham as they ponder the future of Moyes.

The Scottish manager’s contract expires this summer, and reports of talks of a new deal have disappeared.

Around the grounds

Elsewhere in the Premier League Manchester United closed the gap to the top four to just six points with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa, who are now fifth in the table.

Rasmus Hojlund netted his fifth Premier League goal in five games before Douglas Luiz equalised in the 67th minute.

But Scott McTominay scored the winner to close the gap to Villa to just five points.