Arsenal stunned by Carroll hat-trick in West Ham draw

Date published: Saturday 9th April 2016 2:39

Andy Carroll: England return?

Arsenal blew a two-goal lead but then fought back to earn a 3-3 at West Ham, for whom Andy Carroll scored an eight-minute hat-trick.

Arsenal led 2-0 after 35 minutes courtesy of goals from Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, both set up by Alex Iwobi, but Carroll scored twice within the space of 160 seconds just before half-time to leave the Gunners shell-shocked going into the interval.

Arsenal fans will argue Carroll should not have been on the pitch in the first place after escaping with only a yellow card for a foul on Laurent Koscielny, but West Ham also felt they had cause for complaint in the first half with Manuel Lanzini having a goal disallowed for a borderline offside decision at 0-0.

The home supporters certainly weren’t complaining seven minutes into the second half, however, when Carroll scored again, completing an eight-minute hat-trick just moments after the Hammers had seen another goal ruled out, with Carroll penalised for a foul.

Koscielny scored with 20 minutes to set up a grandstand finish, but the teams were eventually forced to settle for a point apiece that does neither a great deal of good.

Arsenal could find themselves 13 points adrift of Leicester City at the top of the Premier League with just 18 to play for by Sunday evening, while West Ham remain sixth, with the two Manchester clubs yet to play in the race for top-four spots.

The opening goal came in the 18th minute when West Ham were caught napping by Iwobi, who slid the ball into the area where Ozil had just stayed onside to fire across Adrian.

The second goal arrived in the 35th minute, Sanchez starting a slick Arsenal move which culminated in Iwobi lifting the ball over the West Ham defence for the Chile forward to apply the finish.

Alexis Sanchez Alex Iwobi Arsenal celebration

But West Ham piled forward, sensing a goal before half-time would keep the match alive – and they got two in the space of a minute thanks to Carroll.

First the former Liverpool front man got on the end of Aaron Cresswell’s cross to power a header in at the far post.

And moments later, in first-half stoppage time, Carroll acrobatically turned in Mark Noble’s cross at the second attempt to haul his side level.

Andy Carroll West Ham celebration

Carroll was not finished there, though, and thought he had teed up Dimitri Payet to hit West Ham’s third just after the break, only for another goal to be disallowed, this time for a foul on Koscielny.

But in the 52nd minute Carroll completed his hat-trick when he rose at the far post again and nodded Michail Antonio’s cross past David Ospina.

Shellshocked Arsenal came close to equalising when Nacho Monreal’s shot was cleared off the line by Lanzini.

And they dragged themselves level in the 70th minute when West Ham failed to clear Hector Bellerin’s cross and Koscielny produced a smart finish to guide the loose ball home.

With the game becoming stretched and both sides desperate for a win, they traded chances, with Payet close for West Ham and Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott threatening for the visitors.

But point apiece does neither side any favours, with Arsenal’s title hopes surely now over and West Ham still finding the top four a bridge too far.

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