• FT

    Fulham

    1

    Chelsea

    2

  • FT

    Arsenal

    2

    West Ham

    0

  • FT

    Man Utd

    1

    Birmingham

    0

  • FT

    Middlesboro

    0

    Everton

    2

  • FT

    Reading

    0

    Portsmouth

    2

  • FT

    Aston Villa

    2

    Tottenham

    1

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE

Emirates Stadium, England

Referee: C Foy | Attendance: 60102

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Arsenal

  • Eduardo 2'
  • Emmanuel Adebayor 18'

2 - 0

FT

Arsenal 2-0 West Ham United: Impossible goal

Premier League leaders Arsenal started 2008 as they meant to go on with a comfortable 2-0 home victory over West Ham.

The Hammers may have overturned Manchester United at the weekend, but there was to be no repeat at the Emirates Stadium, with the Gunners grabbing an early lead through in-form Eduardo and never looking back.

An amazing finish from the tightest of angles by Emmanuel Adebayor doubled the home side's advantage just when the Hammers looked to have regrouped.

• Varied approach thrills Wenger

The game was effectively over as a contest by the interval, with Arsenal simply going through the motions during the second half and running down the clock with ease.

Further stern tests, of course, lie ahead - particularly later this month when key defender Kolo Toure will be away at the African Nations Cup.

However, yet again Arsene Wenger's young Gunners have displayed more than enough character and quality to make a sustained assault on the title over the second half of the campaign.

Before the match, there was a period of silence in respect of Phil O'Donnell, who died suddenly during Motherwell's Clydesdale Bank Premier League match at the weekend.

When they game kicked off, Arsenal wasted little time before they raced into the lead.

Cesc Fabregas was fed the ball on the left, where the Spaniard held up possession before chipping over a lofted pass into the penalty area.

The ball landed perfectly for Eduardo, who collected it on his chest before volleying a low shot into the far corner for a 10th goal of a quickly-improving season, with five in the past three games.

West Ham - the first team to win here last season - were clearly shocked by conceding inside two minutes.

However, slowly the visitors regained their shape.

Striker Carlton Cole caused some concern in the Arsenal box, before Mark Noble saw an effort blocked by Toure and then stabbed the loose ball wide.

In the 11th minute Cole got clear in the left side of the area again. This time his goalbound shot was deflected behind.

From the resulting corner, Anton Ferdinand saw his close-range effort cleared off the line by Gael Clichy.

Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia was too busy for manager Arsene Wenger's liking and in the 16th minute he needed to make a save at the near post to deny former Gunner Freddie Ljungberg.

However, just when it seemed the hosts were on the back foot, they made it 2-0 in the 18th minute.

Clichy sent a long ball up field from deep inside the Arsenal half and the bounce took it away from Ferdinand and Matthew Upson, with Adebayor galloping clear.

The big Togo striker got a touch ahead of the onrushing Robert Green, and although the angle was tight almost at the byline, Adebayor somehow managed to squeeze the ball past Upson and in off the far post.

West Ham continued to press and Cole's centre into the six-yard box from the right picked out John Pantsil, who was just off target with his overhead kick.

In the 37th minute West Ham were forced into a change when Wales Under-21 captain Jack Collison replaced Ljungberg, who looked to have a hamstring problem.

Arsenal felt they had a strong penalty shout when the ball appeared to strike Jonathan Spector on his outstretched arm following a cross by Eboue from the right. However, referee Chris Foy was unconvinced.

After a quiet start to the second half Eduardo looked to have been held back at the far post by Hammers captain Lucas Neill following a deep cross from Hoyte - but again the referee remained unmoved.

At the other end, defender George McCartney tried his luck with a volley which flew just wide from the edge of the box.

With 27 minutes left, Eduardo was replaced by Theo Walcott and Arsenal remained in control, if not opening up the West Ham defence in the final third.

Walcott made space for himself on the edge of the box after turning inside Neill, but his low shot lacked power.

Green was out quickly to block a close-range effort from a sliding Tomas Rosicky as Arsenal pressed for a third, which ultimately they failed to find.

  • Varied approach thrills Wenger

    Arsene Wenger praised his emerging side for being able to mix things up when it mattered as Arsenal opened the new year with a 2-0 victory over West Ham to maintain their place at the top of the Premier League.

    The Gunners have enjoyed a bumper return from their festive fixtures, dropping

    only two points in a draw at Portsmouth on Boxing Day.

    The home side were in front after only 70 seconds at Emirates Stadium this

    afternoon, when in-form Croatia striker Eduardo bagged a fifth goal in three

    appearances.

    Togo frontman Emmanuel Adebayor latched on to a fine long ball from Gael

    Clichy to net a second from an almost impossible angle, which all but ended the

    game as a contest before the break against a tired West Ham side

    After also seeing his men secure an impressive 4-1 victory at Everton last

    time out, Wenger believes Arsenal have enough about them to deal with whatever

    tactics they come up against.

    'Sides who play 4-5-1 here and mark us very tight, they push up very high.

    Therefore the defenders have to play on the half-way line and with the players

    we have, that enables us to go behind the central defenders,' said the

    Frenchman.

    'That gives us naturally a different option. We always have alternative

    options.

    'We have worked on it, because we know Adebayor has so much pace and power

    and Eduardo is shrewd as well and a clinical finisher. It's a great option for

    us.'

    The Arsenal manager continued: 'We had a great start and after that we

    controlled the game.

    'West Ham were dangerous on set-pieces in the first half, but in the second

    half we were in control without ever pushing to score more goals.

    'We didn't want to concede and West ham didn't really challenge us so we were

    quite comfortable.'

    Arsenal remain two points ahead of Manchester United, who lost at West Ham

    last week.

    Wenger said: 'Overall this period has been absolutely great for us - we have

    had four difficult games, but we have come away with three wins and a draw,

    which is terrific. It's been fantastic.'

    The Arsenal manager firmly believes his men are in a strong position as the

    title race hots up.

    Wenger said: 'It is too early to go into mind games. I feel going into

    January we will rely on our performances.

    'Manchester United will be a tough opponent but we have one thing, we have

    belief, and we have talent and we are ready to fight.

    'This team is hungry. So that is good ingredients - but I don't count only

    Man United - I still feel Chelsea and Liverpool are there.'

    The Arsenal manager added: 'I prefer to lead from the front, definitely.

    Because you then just rely on your results.

    'If you are not at the front you have to hope the others don't perform.'

    'My [New Year] resolution is to give absolutely everything I have, every bit

    of energy, to make this club successful.

    'It's a pleasure to work with the team, they give absolutely everything so I

    want to give everything to make this team successful.'

    West Ham boss Alan Curbishley, meanwhile, lamented his side's sloppy defending

    in the early exchanges and felt it was a 'game too far' following their

    heroics against Manchester United.

    He said: 'You cannot come here and go 1-0 down after 90 seconds.

    'It was an uphill task from then, and both sides probably ran out of legs in

    the end, it was a very tired effort.

    'The Manchester United game took a lot out of us as well.

    'It was probably one game too many for us over the Christmas period.'

    West Ham lost former Gunner Freddie Ljungberg to a hamstring problem late in

    the first half, further adding to their injury list.

    Curbishley added: 'It is unprecedented the situation we find ourselves in,

    but we have to regroup and get on it with it.

    'That is what is happening to us at the moment - one goes in and one goes

    out.

    'The biggest problem is they are getting fit during Premier League games and

    it is really difficult to do that.

    'We will have to see what the next couple of weeks bring, and if it gets

    really acute, we will have to start thinking about it.'

  • Scoring Summary

    • Arsenal
    • West Ham United
     

    Match Stats

    • Arsenal
    • West Ham United
    21(13) Shots (on goal) 15(7)
    5 Fouls 7
    5 Corner kicks 7
    4 Offsides 5
    57% Time of Possession 43%
    0 Yellow Cards 3
    0 Red Cards 0
    4 Saves 6

    Teams

    • Arsenal
    • West Ham United
    Substitutes
    Substitutions
    Yellow Cards
    Carlton Cole (23')
    George McCartney (63')
    Mark Noble (90 + 2')