West Ham handed Arsenal a second loss in three Premier League matches, damaging Unai Emery’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.
Youth team graduate Declan Rice scored his first West Ham goal in the 1-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday. The 19-year-old Rice placed the ball into the top of the net after being set up by Samir Nasri on the former Arsenal midfielder’s league debut for West Ham.
It left Arsenal three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, which hosts Newcastle in Saturday’s late game. Yet to gain a significant uplift in fortunes in the post-Arsene Wenger era, Arsenal is facing another season in the Europa League unless it wins the competition to qualify for the Champions League.
Fifth-placed Arsenal is only two points better off after 22 Premier League games than in Wenger’s final season in charge. By winning the London derby, West Ham climbed to eighth place.
But there is uncertainty at the east London club over the future of striker Marko Arnautovic, who appeared to wave goodbye to the Olympic Stadium when he was substituted in the second half. It came at the end of a week when the Austrian pushed — through his brother — to be sold to a Chinese club and West Ham insisted he was not for sale.
Mesut Ozil didn’t even appear on the bench for Arsenal with uncertainty over the playmaker’s future.