Arsenal have claimed their first official victory of Unai Emery’s reign after defeating West Ham United 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium, this afternoon.

The visitors took the lead through Arnautovic in the first half before Arsenal could bite back via Nacho Monreal’s 30th minute finish, as the two sides entered the break locked at 1-1.

Some fortune then saw the Gunners take the lead in the 70th minute, somewhat against the run of play, from Issa Diop’s own goal, with Danny Welbeck later turning up to amplify a 3-1 victory.

On Jack Wilshere’s return to the Emirates Stadium, now as a West Ham player, Arsenal had to make do without one of their prized playmakers, Mesut Özil, with the German paving way for Aaron Ramsey’s return to the first team after being declared ill.

It was the Welshman who first found the back of the net in the 11th minute, nodding in on the rebound from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s strike at goal, but the midfielder was swiftly flagged for offside to maintain the stalemate.

The Hammers provided an immediate response, as Arnautovic found the space inside the box to strike at goal before finding the side-netting.

The Austrian’s second strike at goal would find a different destination, however, as he worked the ball with Felipe Anderson on the edge of the box before firing low into the bottom-left corner, 26 minutes in.

West Ham’s goal served to shake the Gunners up, who’d draw level just four minutes later, as Héctor Bellerín’s cross from the byline made it all the way through to the back-post, where Monreal was on hand to thrash a shot past Łukasz Fabianski.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side could’ve edged in front  just before half-time, as Michail Antonio’s slotted pass, intended for Arnautovic, found its way into Robert Snodgrass’ path inside the box before Petr Čech’s crucial save.

Unai Emery banked on Alexandre Lacazette to shake things up in the second half, with the Frenchman replacing Alex Iwobi to join Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in attack.

Arsenal were still forced to deal with the same culprits, however, as Anderson took off down the left flank before feeding Arnautovic for a tame first-time effort in the 55th minute, gathered up by Čech.

Lacazette went close in the 57th minute, turning Diop inside the box before firing at Fabianski’s goal, with the ex-Arsenal goalkeeper palming the striker’s effort away with success.

At the other end, Anderson was creating more havoc from the left in the 69th minute, as the Brazilian cut inside before letting rip from range to bring Čech into action.

Requiring a slice of luck, Arsenal took the lead a minute later through Diop’s own-goal, as the former Toulouse man was left hopeless against Lacazette’s cut-back, deflecting off the defender and in.

Diop would soon redeem himself, however, as Ramsey set Aubameyang for a first-time finish inside the box prior to the defender’s crucial block in the 73rd minute.

Fabianksi starred once more between the sticks in the 82nd minute, denying Ramsey’s half-volley from outside the box, aimed at the bottom-left corner.

A nervy end saw Arsenal survive a couple of scares with crosses across the face of goal, with West Ham unable to make contact with both attempts before Welbeck could kill the game off following a second Bellerín assist, as the Englishman dispatched his shot from close range to secure a 3-1 win.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: Petr Čech (7) – Héctor Bellerín (7), Shkodran Mustafi (6), Sokratis (5), Nacho Monreal (7) – Mattéo Guendouzi (6), Granit Xhaka (6) – Henrikh Mkhitaryan (7), Aaron Ramsey (7), Alex Iwobi (5) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (5)

Subs: Lucas Torreira (6), Alexandre Lacazette (7), Danny Welbeck (6)

Written by Patrick Ribeiro

Freelance journalist. @P_SRibeiro

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