Stunning Arsenal fightback dents West Ham CL hopes in game of the season


Arsenal fought back from a three-goal deficit to secure a point in a contest with West Ham that thrilled from first minute to last.

West Ham came out with purpose and posed a series of questions with teasing deliveries into the box early on.

Tomas Soucek was the main aerial threat, but a pair of half-chances went begging as Arsenal struggled to settle into the contest.

The Hammers’ early pressure paid off in the 15th minute when Jesse Lingard continued his remarkable purple patch with a sublime strike.

Michail Antonio broke free down the left before cutting back to Lingard. Fresh off his recall to Gareth Southgate’s England squad, the 28-year-old controlled before firing into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Within a flash their lead was doubled when Arsenal were caught cold by a quick free-kick.

With several Gunners stars remonstrating with the referee, the razor sharp Lingard fed Jarrow Bowen who somehow squeezed a low effort through Bernd Leno at the near post.

The nightmare continued for Mikel Arteta’s side when two became three after the half-hour mark.

Another cross into the box after Arsenal surrendered possession cheaply found Antonio. The makeshift striker’s header appeared to be going wide, but took the faintest of flicks off Soucek to nestle inside the far post.

The Gunners finally sprang into life and clawed their way back into the match through Alexandre Lacazette.

Calum Chambers picked out an inch-perfect cross for the Frenchman who showed great technique to control the fizzed delivery. His resulting strike seemed destined to be going wide, but a handy glance off Soucek diverted the ball beyond Lukasz Fabianski.

With Arteta’s voice seemingly ringing in their ears, the Gunners made a blistering start to the second half.

Lacazette almost pulled another back, but Issa Diop was able to retreat and clear his lob off the line after Fabianski was beaten.

The visitors were looking lively and reduced the arrears to one through a second Hammers own goal.

The impressive Chambers was found by Martin Odegaard down the right. Operating in effect as a right-wingback, Chambers fired a low cross into the danger area which cannoned in off Craig Dawson to make it 3-2.

Both sides continued to push forward with the sense that the scoreline would be unlikely to remain unchanged.

West Ham missed a gilt-edged chance to extinguish Arsenal’s comeback hopes when Antonio prodded onto the post from barely one yard out.

That miss would prove pivotal moments later when Lacazette restored parity with ten minutes remaining.

Nicolas Pepe’s accurate cross with his weaker right foot picked his fellow attacker out at the far post. With the goal gaping, Lacazette made no mistake to make it 3-3.

Declan Rice then gave his best Lionel Messi impression when setting off on a long-bursting run of near-60 yards.

Several bodies were left in his wake, but only the finish was lacking as Leno beat his strike away to safety.

The scores would remain unchanged in the final minutes as both sides were made to settle for a point in a pulsating 3-3 draw.