Declan Rice, left, rounded off Arsenal’s rout of his former club West Ham (Adam Davy/PA)
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.
William Saliba, centre, scores the first goal (Adam Davy/PA)
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.
When West Ham beat Arsenal and Manchester United in December, there was talk of a Champions League challenge in these parts.
They have lost to both in the past eight days, shipping nine goals in the process, and are still without a win in 2024.
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.
The London Stadium was largely empty for the second half (Adam Davy/PA)
The opening goal arrived after 32 minutes when Rice, getting plenty of stick from the home fans, swung in a corner.
Saliba outjumped Edson Alvarez at the far post and, with Ben White blocking goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, planted a free header into the net.
Saka hit the second from the penalty spot after he burst clear and was brought down by Areola.
After a lengthy VAR check for offside, the spot-kick was confirmed and Saka confidently sent Areola the wrong way.
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