West Ham 0-6 Arsenal: Player ratings as Declan Rice adds to West Ham woes as Arsenal run riot

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Bukayo Saka scored twice and Declan Rice found the net against his old club as Arsenal flexed their muscles in the title race with a stunning 6-0 win at West Ham.

The Gunners’ title bid took a hit in this fixture last season when they blew a two-goal lead to draw 2-2.

There was no chance of a repeat after William Saliba put them in front and West Ham immediately collapsed.

Rice bagged a pair of assists on his return to his former domain, while Saka, Gabriel Magalhaes and Leandro Trossard were also on target, all before half-time.

Saka scored his second goal midway through the second half and Rice rubbed salt into his wounds with a long-range sixth.

A Champions League challenge was the talk of the town in December when West Ham beat Arsenal and Manchester United.

They have lost to both in the last eight days, scoring nine goals, and are still winless in 2024.

Manager David Moyes may not be ringing the bell yet, but the sight of hundreds of West Ham fans leaving at half-time told a sad tale.

The opening goal came after 32 minutes when Rice, who received a lot of stick from the home fans, flicked in a corner.

Saliba outjumped Edson Alvarez at the far post and with Ben White blocking goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, he slotted a free header into the net.

Saka scored the second from the penalty spot after he broke free and was brought down by Areola.

After a lengthy VAR review for offside, the free kick was upheld and Saka confidently sent Areola the wrong way.

Four minutes later, Rice came up with assist number two as he swung in a free-kick which Gabriel headed home past a struggling Kurt Zouma on his 150th Gunners appearance.

And in first-half stoppage time Arsenal struck again, Martin Odegaard feeding Trossard to curl home number four.

It was Arsenal’s 8,000th league goal and he was well on his way to 9,000 in full action.

Number 8,001 arrived in the 62nd minute when Saka cut into Nayef Aguerd and fired past Areola.

Then came Rice’s big moment, the former Hammers skipper curling in from 25 yards after Trossard and Odegaard had left the ball to each other, before doing the obligatory non-celebration in front of the jubilant Arsenal fans.

Rice earned a standing ovation from the home crowd when he left the pitch moments later, presumably because those supporters had nothing else to applaud on a painful day for the east Londoners and a tumultuous afternoon for Arsenal.

Arsenal player ratings

GK: David Raya – 6/10 – A spectator for the most part. Made some comfortable saves early doors.

RB: Ben White – 7/10 – Probably the quietest of Arsenal’s outfielders, but he still did his job at either end, easily keeping the out-of-position Johnson under wraps and making Emerson sweat.

CB: William Saliba – 9/10 – Got the mauling off and running with a fine header. Comfortably silenced Bowen.

CB: Gabriel Magalhaes – 9/10 – Just the four Premier League goals for Gabriel this season, moving level with namesake Jesus. Like Saliba was not given trouble by Bowen.

LB: Jakub Kiwior – 7/10 – The afternoon might have looked a little different if the Poland international didn’t make an interception to deny Kudus early on. Got involved plenty in attack too.

CM: Declan Rice – 10/10 – One goal and two assists on his return to West Ham. Utterly unstoppable. Booed by home fans when in possession but was clapped before taking his corners.

CM: Martin Odegaard – 9/10 – Played with his usual grace and composure, finding a way to open up West Ham time and time again.

CM: Kai Havertz – 7/10 – West Ham were unable to find a solution to Havertz making runs from deep and troubling them with his added physicality.

RW: Bukayo Saka – 9/10 – Partly at fault for Arsenal dropping points in this fixture last season but was a huge catalyst behind this drubbing. Emerson won’t want to see him again anytime soon.

CF: Leandro Trossard – 9/10 – Perfectly suited for this role, particularly with Havertz bombing on into the frontline and making up for Trossard’s own lack of height.

LW: Gabriel Martinelli – 7/10 – Couldn’t find a goal or assist but Martinelli remained crucial to the pace and relentlessness of Arsenal’s attacks.

SUB: Mohamed Elneny (67′ for Rice) – 6/10

SUB: Eddie Nketiah (67′ for Trossard) – 6/10

SUB: Reiss Nelson (67′ for Saka) – 6/10

SUB: Cedric Soares (77′ for White) – 6/10

SUB: Ethan Nwaneri (77′ for Martinelli) – 6/10

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