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Nketiah answers Arsenal's call for a Jesus replacement: Winners, losers and ratings as Gunners see off West Ham

10:25 PM GMT 26/12/2022
Eddie Nketiah Arsenal 2022-23
The striker stepped up in the absence of the Brazil international to score as Mikel Arteta's side returned to action with an impressive victory

Arsenal moved seven points clear at the top of the Premier League after a superb second-half fightback saw them to a 3-1 win against West Ham on Boxing Day.

A Said Benrahma penalty left the Gunners trailing at the break, but Mikel Arteta's league leaders responded in scintillating style after the interval to make it 13 wins from 15 league games this season.

Bukayo Saka drew them level before goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah saw off the Hammers to ensure Arsenal picked up where they left off before the break for the World Cup.

Arteta will have been delighted with they way his side responded to going behind, with Martin Odegaard exceptional throughout. He pulled the strings all night, setting up goals for both Saka and Nketiah.

The win and the manner of it was another signal to Arsenal's rivals this season that they are not going anywhere, with Nketiah stepping up to the plate in the absence of the injured Gabriel Jesus.

And the fact it was achieved in front of Arsene Wenger, who was in attendance at Emirates Stadium for the first time since he left the club in 2018, made it even more special.

  • Eddie Nketiah Arsenal 2022-23

    The Winners

    Eddie Nketiah:

    So much has been written about Nketiah in the aftermath of Jesus' injury and the Arsenal striker will have known how much scrutiny he was under going into the West Ham game. So to put in this type of performance and cap it with a wonderful goal, will have done him the world of good. Nketiah is no Jesus, that is clear. But he is a fine, young striker who has progressed a lot over the last 12 months. He showed his quality when he got his chance towards the end of last season and this was another reminder of what he is all about. He never stopped or let his head drop, even when a couple of moments went against him in the first half. He was strong, led the line well and his turn and finish for the goal was majestic.

    Martin Odegaard:

    This was another fine performance from the Arsenal captain. He caused West Ham problems all evening and always looked like the man who was the most likely to make something happen. He got a bit of luck when his scuffed shot fell perfectly for Saka in the build-up for the equaliser, but he deserved that stroke of fortune. Odegaard is one of the most gifted players in this young Arsenal team, but his work ethic epitomises what Arteta's side is all about.

    Arsene Wenger and Arsenal:

    This was a moment 1,695 days in the making. Arsene Wenger has waited a long time before making his long awaited return to the Emirates, so it was great to see him finally watching a game from the director's box. The fact that Wenger has not felt comfortable coming back to a stadium he helped build has always been a great shame, so this was a big moment for both him and Arsenal. It's a relationship that needed fixing and so this was clearly a big step. Hopefully the legendary Frenchman will now become a far more regular presence around his old club.

  • William Saliba Arsenal 2022-23

    The Losers

    Arsenal's Premier League rivals:

    With Gabriel Jesus injured, Arsenal's rivals at the top of the Premier League will have been hoping to see the Gunners stumble without their talismanic forward. And when West Ham took a lead into half-time, the likes of Manchester City, Newcastle and Tottenham would have been licking their lips at the prospect of some dropped points. But instead, Arsenal produced a second-half performance which once again proved they are not going to go away this season. This was a big mental test for Arteta's side, who would have been well aware of the questions that would have come their way had they slipped up immediately after the Premier League's restart. But once again they stood up to that test and got the job done. And they did it in style.

    William Saliba:

    The France defender has barely put a foot wrong this season, but he will be disappointed with his involvement in West Ham's penalty. Initially he could have probably got to the ball over the top first, but his moment of hesitation allowed Michail Antonio to get ahead of him. And then his decision to go to ground as Jarrod Bowen went through was very costly. You could see by the way he tried to pull out of the tackle that he knew he had got his timing wrong, but by then it was too late. The contact may have been minimal, but it was a penalty.

  • Gabriel Magalhaes Arsenal 2022-23

    Arsenal Ratings: Defence

    Aaron Ramsdale (7/10):

    Made a good stop to deny Antonio early in the second half.

    Ben White (7/10):

    Solid, linked up well wit Saka at times. Superb play in the build up to Nketiah's goal.

    William Saliba (7/10):

    Will be disappointed with the penalty incident, but responded well.

    Gabriel Magalhaes (7/10):

    Had a real battle with Antonio.

    Kieran Tierney (7/10):

    Was on the receiving end of some big challenges. Stood up to them well.

  • Martin Odegaard Arsenal 2022-23

    Midfield

    Thomas Partey (8/10):

    Excellent. Got the better of Declan Rice in midfield.

    Granit Xhaka (7/10):

    Good assist for Martinelli's goal.

    Martin Odegaard (9/10):

    Really bright, always looked likely to make something happen. Two assists. Arsenal's best player.

  • Gabriel Martinelli Arsenal 2022-23

    Attack

    Bukayo Saka (7/10):

    Came to life after half-time and got the crucial equaliser.

    Eddie Nketiah (7/10):

    Fantastic goal to cap a fine performance.

    Gabriel Martinelli (8/10):

    Tireless as always. On target again.

  • Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2022-23

    Subs & Manager

    Oleksandr Zinchenko (6/10):

    Real boost for Arsenal to have him back fit.

    Fabio Vieria (N/A):

    On for the final few minutes.

    Mohamed Elneny (N/A)

    On the pitch for a matter of seconds.

    Mikel Arteta (7/10):

    He will be absolutely delighted by his side's second half response.