Superb Declan, Fantastic Nasri and Was that a goodbye from Arnie?- 5 Talking Points from West Ham v Arsenal

West Ham claimed their first home victory over Arsenal since November 2006 as Declan Rice’s 48th minute goal, his first ever senior one for the club, helped them beat Unai Emery’s side 1-0. It was a fantastic achievement for the Hammers, who had won only one of their previous 23 games against the Gunners, and also made the 50th Premier League game at the London Stadium a memorable one.

Here are our talking points from the game

Superb Declan: Declan Rice gave another example of why he could become the next best defensive midfielder in the Premier League. Timely interceptions to thwart several Arsenal attacks, fantastic tackles, great strength on the ball, and a superb finish for the goal- it was a brilliant game for the teenager (only 2 days short of his 20th birthday!), and a very well deserved Man of the Match award for him. That shot of Rice hugging Mark Noble at the end is something that will remain etched in many a Hammers supporter’s mind for a long, long time.

Fantastic Nasri: Many fans, us included, were somewhat doubtful when Pellegrini signed Samir Nasri. On the evidence of this performance, it’s a fantastic one. The 31 year old was excellent for someone out of the game for 18 months- pressing hard, some nice interplay on the edge of the box between Anderson, Arnautovic and him, and providing an edge in attack that West Ham have sorely missed due to the absence of Manuel Lanzini. Despite his high work rate, Pellegri mentioned in the post match interview that Nasri could’ve played longer (he was subbed off), and that was a compliment to the Frenchman. Also provided the assist for Declan Rice’s winner.

Did Marko Arnautovic wave goodbye? You don’t see players giving the kind of goodbye that Arnautovic gave when he was substituted off. Is he off to China? West Ham’s next home game is in February and as confirmed by Michail Antonio today on Sky, it may well be the last time we see the mercurial Austrian at the London Stadium.

Aaron Cresswell: This was one of Cresswell’s best games defensively for West Ham. Really turned up today, including that one desperate, late sliding block that forced an Arsenal attacker to skew his shot wide. Pellegrini may have favoured Arthur Masuaku to him earlier in the season, but with performances like this, Cresswell is unlikely to let go of that LB spot soon.

Record attendance: West Ham produced a new record club attendance of 59,946 in this game. Interestingly, this was more than the 59,830 who attended Arsenal’s home game against the Hammers earlier in the season!

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