Monday, March 4, 2024

Declan Rice returns to haunt Hammers as Gunners win 6-0


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LONDON, Feb 11: 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 thumping 6-0 win at West Ham.
The Gunners’ title bid hit the buffers 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 headed them in front and West Ham promptly collapsed.
Rice grabbed a pair of assists on his return to his former manor while Saka, Gabriel Magalhaes and Leandro Trossard were also on target, all before half-time.
Saka scored his second midway through the second half and Rice rubbed salt in the wounds with a long-range sixth.
Alarm bells might not be ringing for manager David Moyes just yet, but the sight of hundreds of West Ham fans leaving at half-time told a sorry tale.
Rice was jeered relentlessly by many West Ham fans clearly still unhappy that he chose to move to Arsenal for a reported 105 million pounds in July.
By the time he was substituted in the 67th, the England midfielder had helped to condemn his first club to one of its worst-ever losses.
The resounding win for Arsenal came a day after victories for title rivals Liverpool and Man City, and massively improved the goal difference of Mikel Arteta’s team.
Arsenal is in third place, behind second-place City only on goals scored and two points adrift of Liverpool.
Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez – Liverpool’s starting front three while Mohamed Salah is out injured – all scored for the Premier League leaders in a 3-1 win over Burnley.
The Reds responded to Manchester City’s extremely brief return to the league’s summit, after its 2-0 victory against Everton hours earlier, with a triumph that tested their mettle even more than their stretched resources.
While the three points reestablished Liverpool’s two-point advantage, the less-than-convincing nature of victory against the league’s next-to-last side was not quite befitting the occasion of the hosts’ biggest league crowd of 59,896 after the full opening of the Anfield Road stand.
For a time it appeared Liverpool, which was without goalkeeper Alisson Becker and defender Joe Gomez because of illness as well as the injured Salah, was still suffering a hangover from the defeat at Arsenal last week.
Son Heung-min marked his return for Tottenham after more than a month away at the Asian Cup by creating a dramatic winner against Brighton.
Son, whose South Korea team was eliminated in the semifinals on Tuesday, started on the bench for his comeback game, came on at 1-1 and set up Brennan Johnson for a goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time that made it 2-1.“It’s fair to say that we are still a work in progress but we had a world-class player in Son who makes the most difficult ball look simple to set up Brennan,” said Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou, whose team jumped above Aston Villa into fourth place.
Bruno Guimaraes continues to be the shining light in a difficult season for Newcastle.
The Brazil midfielder scored in each half, including a superb curling shot for the winner, as Newcastle beat Nottingham Forest 3-2 to climb two places to seventh.
Guimaraes’ performances have been consistently excellent for Newcastle while, crucially, he has stayed healthy in a campaign that has seen manager Eddie Howe lose player after player to injury.Forest stayed two points and two places above the relegation zone but, like third-to-last Everton, was recently charged with breaching the league’s financial regulations and could yet be facing a points deduction.
Ivan Toney scored for the third time in four games since his return from a ban for breaching betting regulations as Brentford won 2-0 at Wolverhampton.
Last-place Sheffield United won for just the third time this season, 3-1 at relegation rival Luton, and Fulham was the winner by the same score at Bournemouth. (PTI)


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