After a 3-1 comeback victory over West Ham, Arsenal jumped seven points clear of the top spot in the Premier League; Arsene Wenger is for the first time since leaving the club in 2018 in the stands; Arsenal scored goals from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Eddie Nketiah in a stunning second half comeback to beat West Ham 3-1 on a night when former Gunners manager Arsene Wenger returned to the Emirates Stadium for the first time since leaving the club in 2018.
Wenger, who spent 22 years at Arsenal, had made it clear that his departure from the club was difficult and that he had no plans to watch his former team again.
But FIFA’s head of global football development was back, and when William Saliba brought down Jarrod Bowen inside the box, they went behind to Said Benrahma’s penalty (27), and it looked like their old team was headed for a tough night.
The Gunners needed to find a response after the break and they did just that as two goals in five minutes from Bukayo Saka (53) and Gabriel Martinelli (58) brought a smile to Wenger’s face, before Eddie Nketiah, leading the line for Arsenal in the absence of Gabriel Jesus, rounded off a brilliant night for Mikel Arteta’s side (69).
On Arsenal’s win on the day Wenger ended his exile at Arsenal, Arteta said: “It’s a special day.
“Thank you so much for him coming and hopefully walking through the building he is going to feel everything that everybody thinks of him, everything that he left here, but also his presence is something that has to be very attached to this football club. So, thank you for doing that because it means a lot to every body at the club.
“It’s great and winning my mood is going to be better to speak to him and be around the team. He picked the right moment. I thought the performance today was at a level that he deserved and that hopefully he would like.”
Arsenal: Ramsdale (6), White (7), Saliba (6), Gabriel (6), Tierney (6), Partey (7), Xhaka (7), Odegaard (8), Saka (8), Martinelli (7), Nketiah (8).
Subs: Zinchenko (6), Vieira (n/a), Elneny (n/a).
West Ham: Fabianski (6), Coufal (6), Dawson (6), Kehrer (6), Cresswell (6), Soucek (6), Rice (7), Paqueta (6), Bowen (7), Benrahma (7), Antonio (6).
Subs: Fornals (n/a), Mubama (n/a).
Man of the match: Martin Odegaard.