London, United Kingdom (AFP):- Declan Rice scored on his return to West Ham as Arsenal smashed David Moyes’ men 6-0 in a statement of intent in the Premier League.
With title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool both getting respective wins on Saturday afternoon, the pressure was on Mikel Arteta’s men to do the same, and a positive start from the Gunners hinted at a strong display in their bid to keep pace in the Premier League title race but few could have predicted what was to come at London Stadium.
Leandro Trossard’s powerful volley was well saved by Alphonse Areola on 22 minutes before the goalkeeper was caught in no-man’s land as William Saliba headed Arsenal ahead shortly after the half-hour mark.
There were even signs that the visitors were having ‘one of those days’ when Bukayo Saka headed a delicious Jakub Kiwior cross wide before dinking another effort off-target from Martin Odegaard’s through ball.
Yet Saka soon notched his 50th goal for the Gunners when arriving first to a ball over the top, knocking it round Areola to win a penalty – which he duly converted.
Rice had delivered the corner for the first goal and grabbed his second assist for Gabriel’s header on 44 minutes as the former Hammer enjoyed a far better return to east London than Arsenal’s Carabao Cup exit here earlier in the season.
There was still time for Trossard to stroll past Kurt Zouma and curl home for 4-0 before the break as thousands of West Ham fans made their way to the exits.
The second half failed to change the pace of the game in the Hammers’ favour at all and Saka strolled through to make it five on 63 minutes.
Rice then scored a screamer from 30 yards to cap the most miserable of afternoons for the home fans, who finally had the opportunity to applaud something when they clapped their former captain off the pitch as he was substituted moments after refusing to celebrate his goal.
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