Below-par Gunners show character

Below-par Gunners show character

LONDON • Mikel Arteta praised Arsenal’s mental strength to strike late through Eddie Nketiah and beat West Ham 2-1 despite an underwhelming Premier League performance at the Emirates on Saturday.

The Gunners have six points after two games, but were far from the standards they have set under manager Arteta.

After Michail Antonio cancelled out Alexandre Lacazette’s opener for the hosts, West Ham enjoyed the majority of the chances.

Antonio saw a header come back off the bar, but Arsenal were ruthless with their chance to win the game as Dani Ceballos timed his run perfectly in behind the Hammers’ defence to square for Nketiah, who had a simple tap-in.

“I am really happy with the three points and it’s a time to analyse properly because we have a lot of issues,” said Arteta. “What I like is the approach in the last 25 minutes when they were a bit down and then they lift it.

“Probably a few months ago, we would have drawn or lost that game and today, we win it.

“You have to find a way because there will be games like this through the season.”

After winning the FA Cup and Community Shield and starting their season with a flourish by winning 3-0 at Fulham on the opening weekend, Arsenal were expected to swat aside a West Ham team who were easily beaten 2-0 by Newcastle a week ago.

But David Moyes’ men deserved something to show for their performance and felt hard done by with some refereeing decisions.

Gunners defender Gabriel appeared to handle the ball in the box, leaving the Scot to question the new revised rules on handball as “we’re all unsure”.

Ceballos and Nketiah were involved in a spat during the warm-up at Craven Cottage last week, but showed there were no hard feelings. “We made up pretty quickly,” said Nketiah. “That’s what happens in life… so it’s all love now.”

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE