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Rice goal enough to sink Arsenal

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Ron Walker

Digital Football Journalist @ronnabe

Last Updated: 12/01/19 2:39pm

Declan Rice's first West Ham goal came in his 55th appearance

Declan Rice scored the only goal as West Ham beat Arsenal, while Marko Arnautovic appeared to bid farewell to the London Stadium.

Rice picked a good time to grab his first West Ham goal, powering the ball beyond Bernd Leno from 12 yards three minutes after half-time in a game of few clear-cut chances.

The main talking point came when Arnautovic seemed to wave goodbye to the home fans when he was substituted with 71 minutes played, days after West Ham rejected a £35m bid for the Austrian from an unnamed Chinese club.

Arsenal managed just two shots on target across the whole 90 minutes as their wretched away form continued, leaving them with one win on their travels in their last seven Premier League games.

Arnautovic appeared to wave goodbye to the home fans when he was substituted

Unai Emery's side had shown the greater intent before half-time but lacked the invention to regularly find a way through the home defence, with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang onlookers for long spells of the first half.

Both sides exchanged cursory efforts early on but Arsenal did carve out the first real opportunity when Lacazette held off Pablo Zabaleta and powered into the box. Lukasz Fabianski saved his first effort from 12 yards, and he skied the rebound over.

But with the restored Arnautovic looking untroubled by the speculation around him at the tip of West Ham's attack, the hosts always had a focal point they could play off and he held the ball up for Samir Nasri, only for the Frenchman to strike the side netting from a tight angle.

Felipe Anderson also came close when Nasri waited for his run and laid the ball into his path 25 yards out, before Matteo Guendouzi rounded off an even, but uninspiring first half by going close from a similar distance.

Emery has lost back-to-back away games for the first time as Arsenal boss

The second half sprang into life within five minutes of the restart with Nasri, who had been busy before half-time, teeing up Rice after a poor Granit Xhaka header to blast the ball beyond a rooted Leno from 12 yards.

Aubameyang was put off his stride by Aaron Cresswell's sliding challenge in the box and Alex Iwobi just missed the far post when played in on the left as Arsenal pressed, but they still did not work Fabianski enough.

The arrival of Aaron Ramsey and Lucas Torreira and even the pace of Hector Bellerin off the bench failed to ignite the Gunners' usual second-half charge, which has seen them pick up eight points in the last 10 minutes of games alone, as the hosts saw out a first victory over Arsenal on home soil since 2006.

What's next?

West Ham travel to Bournemouth next Saturday at 3pm, shortly before Arsenal face another London derby with Chelsea at the Emirates at 5.30pm.

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