West Ham United 3 Arsenal 3
Carroll 44, 45+2, 52, Ozil 17, Alexis 35, Koscielny 70

Arsenal raced into a two goal lead courtesy of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, and with half time a mere two minutes away, were rocked as Andy Carroll grabbed his own quick fire double to haul West Ham onto parity. The Hammers’ striker then grabbed his hat trick shortly after the break, and in the space of eight minutes, the Gunners were rocking again and facing defeat. Laurent Koscielny’s cool finish however made the scoreline 3-3, and despite Arsene Wenger making attacking substitutions introducing Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott, Arsenal were unable to grab a winner.

Carroll who made only his first start since January was the scourge of the Arsenal defence with Gabriel in particular coming in for a torrid time against the former Newcastle marksman. However, that scenario should have been prevented, but at two goal to the good and in charge, the Gunners were guilty of losing their focus.

Carroll was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card having appeared to rake his studs down Koscielny’s Achilles in the third minute. The Arsenal defender crumpled in a heap, and replays suggested with some justification too. It was to be a key moment in the game and would come to significantly affect the outcome.

in the face of some home pressure which saw Lanzini and Carroll threaten, the Gunners regained their composure and went on the offensive. Nacho Monreal went down as an Arsenal attack was repelled, but Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin regained possession. Alex Iwobi clipped the ball to Ozil who to coolly finish past Adrian for his 8th goal of the season.

Arsenal appeared comfortable and in control, and soon they doubled their lead. Coquelin found Iwobi in a congested Hammers’ last third. The 19 year old spotted Alexis set off in a similar position to Ozil for the opener. The Chile striker took a touch to control, before firing low past Adrian for his 13th goal of the season and a 2-0 scoreline to the visitors.

That old adage about a 2-0 scoreline would come to haunt the Gunners, and perhaps not even the most myopic of West Ham fans could have predicted the impact Carroll was about to have.

With half time imminent, Arsenal lost possession, the ball was fed out to the left for Cresswell to cross and an unchallenged Carroll headed past David Ospina. in first half time added on, Arsenal switched off as Carroll came back for more. Ospina punched away from a Payet corner. Noble put the ball back into the mix as Carroll was given too much time to chest the ball, gather the rebound off Gabriel from his initial effort before hooking in left footed past Ospina. Arsenal were rocked and the half time break couldn’t come soon enough for them.

Gabriel and Carrol renewed acquaintance after the re-start with the latter catching the Gunners’ defender with a forearm to the face. On a yellow already, Carroll and West Ham breathed a sigh of relief when a second yellow card would have been a correct call.

The Hammers number nine would then make Arsenal pay again. Antonio twisted his way with Monreal ahead of him. His cross had Carroll up against Hector Bellerin. it proved no contest as Carroll rose to head his side into a 3-2 lead, via a last deflection off Gabriel.

Arsenal responded positively and Monreal was unfortunate to see his effort from range cleared off the line by Lanzini from an Ozil corner. With 70 minutes on the clock, Arsenal drew level. A neat build up and Ozil’s ball fell for Koscielny off Danny Welbeck’s touch.With a striker’s finish, Koscielny clipped the ball on the half volley past Adrian for his 4th Premier League goal of the season.

The draw means Arsenal are further off the Premier League top spot, with Wenger reflecting on where the result left his side in a “ crazy “ afternoon in London’s East End.

“ Third in the league with 59 points. That is not where we want to be but we have made it much more difficult for ourselves now to have a chance to win the Premier League. We have to keep going no matter what and hope. You never know what can happen. As well, we have to look behind us as people are chasing us. We have to be serious and focus on finishing as high as possible. Where that is, I don’t know. This is one of the places where you could drop points but you see the game and feel guilty you have dropped points,” said Wenger.

Not one to criticise any one player publicly, the Gunners boss felt his players had the where with all to hold onto their 2-0 lead.

“ It is difficult to go into any assessment of performances. I have to look at it again. I don’t think Koscielny was at fault at the goal. The first goal, when you are 2-0 up with 43 minutes played, with the experience we have and the way we mastered the ball, then at 45 minutes it is 2-2, you [put] yourself [in] a decline. This is because you give hope to the other team, that is where that little moment in the game made us pay heavily.

“ We lost a bit of urgency when we were 2-0 up after 43 minutes. We had a good game today but a bad result. We played with a weakness that is redundant in the season. If you look at the goals we have conceded since the start of the season, ( most ) are headers in our box. That happened today.”

Next up for the Gunners, and another London derby when Crystal Palace arrive at the Emirates on Sunday