FOLLOWING consecutive defeats, Unai Emery and his men needed to secure a victory over Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers to keep within reach of their top four rivals. They did so with a 3-1 win at Ashburton Grove on Saturday.
The Gunners went into the game without star man Mesut Ozil, with rumours the German midfielder reacted angrily to not being selected in the match-day squad.
“This information isn’t true,” stated his boss.
“I don’t know who started telling you this information. If you ask me or the doctor of the club, he [Ozil] said he was sick yesterday and decided not to play today.
“Today I said to him come if he feels better and he feels better today and before the match he was with the team and with me.”
Despite the visitors’ slow start to the season, West Ham came packed with real counter-attacking threat via the trio of Michail Antonio, Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic.
They took the lead early on, thanks to Arnautovic’s strike from the edge of the area, and looked threatening until his injury in the second half which forced him off.
Pellegrini seemed relaxed in his post-match press conference.
While acknowledging the importance of getting points on the board, the Chilean felt his side’s performance was not a bad one and his team’s approach was refreshing.
“It was what I demanded from the players to come here to Arsenal stadium against a big team to play as a big team and think as a big team and we did that during the 90 minutes and we were very unlucky to concede that first goal.
“I am very happy because we are in the correct way and soon the team will win more games.
“Of course we need to add points, but in every game we proved a little bit more against Liverpool and at least part of the game against Bournemouth too.”
Arsenal took the lead via a fortuitous own-goal by Issa Diop and Danny Welbeck’s stoppage time goal ended any hopes the East Londoners had of salvaging something from the game.
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