While Arsenal might have needed a real second-half flurry on Boxing Day, the Gunners eventually cruised their way to a routine 3-1 victory against West Ham at the Emirates.
Despite falling 1-0 behind midway through the first-half as Jarrod Bowen opened the scoring from the penalty spot, Mikel Arteta’s side put on a real clinic after returning from the interval.
Making it four Premier League victories on the spin as goals from Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli secured all three points, Arsenal also widened their buffer at the top of the table.
At least briefly holding a seven-point advantage over the chasing pack, Arteta’s side also pilled more pressure onto a West Ham squad that are firmly at the heart of a relegation scrap.
Handing the Hammers their five top-flight defeat from their previous six appearances, we have taken a look at the main talking points.
Arsenal can make history this season
After eventually missing out on a Champions League finish last season, few would have expected what has been a famous purple patch in north London.
Heading into the World Cup’s winter break with a deserved 2-0 victory away at Wolves, the Gunners now have their sights firmly set on making real history at the Emirates in 2023.
Showing all their resolve here as they eventually made it four Premier League wins on the bounce, Arteta’s high-flying squad have only continued to receive plaudits from all across Europe.
Although the one-time Manchester City coach might have the youngest Premier League squad this season, Arsenal now hold a shock seven-point buffer at the top of the table and it appears that they will take some stopping.
Suffering just a single top-flight defeat from their 15 appearances, Monday’s hosts will simply be looking to keep up their remarkable run of form when they make the trip to Brighton on New Year’s Eve.
Although Arteta’s side might face a tough start to the New Year next week, Arsenal will now be believing that history is within their grasp.
Nketiah can fill the void
Although Arsenal might have made their return from the World Cup’s winter break sat at the top of the table, it was Gabriel Jesus’ absence that stole plenty of the headlines prior to kick-off.
Picking up a long-term knee injury while away with Brazil in Qatar, many were wondering how Arteta’s youngsters would cope without their attacking talisman leading the line.
With the ex-Manchester City ace not expected to be back for the foreseeable future after undergoing surgery, it was Nketiah who was handed a rare chance to spearhead Arsenal’s charge from the start.
Although the England U21 record-breaker might have only been given a handful of Premier League minutes this season, Nketiah done a stellar job here and was more than deserving of getting himself on the scoresheet.
Producing a sublime effort and wrapping up all three points for Arsenal, Arteta has been filled with praise for the one-time Leeds loanee.
Stating prior to Monday’s 3-1 win that he feels Nketiah can be Arsenal’s leading man with Jesus on the sidelines, Nketiah should find his confidence at a real high.
West Ham are a leading relegation contender
While West Ham might have once again gained plenty of praise last season as they reached the Europe League semi-finals, the Hammers are now in the midst of what is an extended Premier League nightmare.
Although Moyes’ men might have really broken the bank during the summer transfer window, the east London outfit have failed to find any kind of stability this year and are now firmly at the heart of a relegation scrap heading into 2023.
Making the trip to the Emirates having collected just four points away from the London Stadium, the former Manchester United boss will also find a huge amount of pressure on his position over the coming weeks.
With many West Ham fans feeling that a change in the dugout is essential if they’re to maintain their Premier League status, they have now lost five of their previous six top-flight contests and they have only continued to show some rather glaring issues in the final third.
Now facing what is a must-win showdown when they welcome Brentford to east London on Friday night, it is hard to argue that the Hammers are a leading relegation contender in the New Year.
Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Nketiah
Subs: Vieira, Zinchenko, Elneny
West Ham: Fabianski, Coufal, Dawson, Kehrer, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Paqueta, Bowen, Benrahma, Antonio
Subs: Fornals, Mubama
Goals: Arsenal: Saka (53′), Martinelli (58′), Nketiah (69′) – West Ham: Bowen (27′ pen)
Yellow Cards: Bowen, Coufal
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Michael Oliver