West Ham fans leave stadium in droves as Arsenal dominate before halftime

The hosts produced a stunning collapse to allow the Gunners to strike a flurry of late goals and take a humiliating 4-0 lead at the break. Arsenal traveled across the capital seeking vengeance for the Hammers’ surprise 2-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium earlier in the season. Liverpool and Manchester City’s wins on Saturday piled on the pressure for Mikel Arteta’s side to keep up with the pace in the title race. William Saliba broke the deadlock after an edgy start to the encounter, heading home former West Ham captain Declan Rice’s corner around the half-hour mark.

Bukayo Saka doubled Arsenal’s lead from the penalty spot on 41 minutes after Alphonse Areola brought him down as he bore down on goal from a lofted through ball. Then the floodgates opened, with Rice delivering his second assist of the afternoon for Gabriel Magalhaes to head a third past Areola in the 44th minute. And it went from bad to worse for David Moyes’ men when Leandro Trossard brilliantly curled in a fourth in the second minute of seven minutes of added time. The Hammers failed to win any of their six matches this year before Arsenal’s visit, drawing four and losing two.

One of the defeats came at Championship side Bristol City in the FA Cup third round. The other was a 3-0 battering against Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend. West Ham enjoyed a positive start to the season, topping their Europa League group with five wins and 10 goals in six games. But the Hammers’ rotten run of form will be a concern, with Nottingham Forest, Brentford, Everton, and Burnley next up in the league.

For Arsenal, it was a first half to remember and another statement of intent in the title race after defeating Liverpool 3-1 in north London last time out.

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