Arsenal 1 West Ham 0

Lacazette 78

Arsenal edged past West Ham at the Emirates London derby when Alexandre Lacazette’s VAR assisted winner proved to the the difference. The Gunners have not had much VAR joy up until now. Sokratis was denied a late winner against Crystal Palace last October, but the controversial technology finally came good as far as Mikel Arteta’s side were concerned to deny the Hammers. Substitute Alexandre had been introduced to replace Eddie Nketiah on the hour mark, and his volley past Lukasz Fabianski after 78 minutes from Mesut Ozil’s cushioned header which was ruled out for offside, needed to be looked at again.

Arteta has overseen Arsenal's 12 game unbeaten run since his December arrival

Referee Martin Atkinson and everyone inside the Emirates stadium were made to wait for what seemed like an age before the signal from Stockley Park came back to confirm that Angelo Ogbonna was the last West Ham defender, and the goal was to stand. Both Ozil and Lacazette were ruled just onside as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s initial cross in came in off Declan Rice. The visitors had continually been denied by Bernd Leno alone at times. Jarrod Bowen should have given the Hammers the lead on 66 minutes when his run from deep had the Arsenal defence back peddling. However Leno made the save from his low drive. On his Premier League debut, Pablo Mari tidied up.

Arsenal’s German goal keeper put in a man of the match performance between the sticks, having initially denying Bowen in the first minute with a fingertips save onto his post. Sebastien Haller then took too long to fashion a shot allowing Leno to pounce at his feet after Dani Ceballos lost possession trying to play out from the back. It was a rare oversight by Ceballos who, but for Leno’s performance would have had a legitimate claim for man of the match. Arsenal enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession but Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe were being frustrated as they couldn’t get any service to Nketiah from the flanks.

Aubameyang looked a peripheral figure, and could have still been feeling the effects from his last minute Europa League miss against Olympiacos ten days ago. Stationed wide on the left again here, the Gabon striker was unable to spark. Pepe’s determination and left foot skill did cause the visitors concern, however the end product didn’t have the desired effect. Aubameyang turned provider to tee up Sokratis for a header which thudded onto Fabianski’s bar.

But five minutes from the break, West Ham should have been in front. Mark Noble’s corner was met by Diol, and from six yards out, the unmarked Michail Antonio struck wide of the post when it seemed easier to score. Half time boos have been rare under Arteta, but his side left the field with them ringing in their ears. They needed a response.

Eddie Nketiah had his best chance to score from Saka’s reverse pass after 52 minutes, but Fabianski rushed off his line to smother the danger. West Ham made clear their intentions, and they weren’t going to sit back. Again Leno kept the scores goalless, somehow managing to claw the ball away from Antonio. Five minutes after conceding to Lacazette’s opener, Bowen’s cross from the left found Haller. From close in, Leno covered his near post to make another save. The visitors were continually denied following a string of fine saves from Leno.

Arsenal were forced to sit back at times with Ceballos giving his side that extra defensive nous which Ozil would love to have in his locker. Five minutes of  time added on was signalled. Substitute Reiss Nelson skied over the bar from 20 yards, and at the other end, David Luiz, Sokratis and Mari finished strong to keep a clean sheet and a 1-0 to the Arsenal scoreline.

The Gunners are now unbeaten in eight Premier League matches (W4 D4), which is the longest current run in the competition, a statistic would not have been envisaged when Arteta took over at the Emirates last December. With three clean sheets in their past four league games, which is as many as they had in their previous 23, Arsenal hold onto their hopes of a top five finish.