The Independent London Newspaper
21st May 2019

Super Sanchez overcomes injury to hit stunning hat-trick as Arsenal thrash West Ham

    Alexis Sanchez hit a sensational 14-minute hat-trick at the London Stadium

    Published: 4 December, 2016
    by PAUL COWLING at the London Stadium

    Premier League

    ARSENE Wenger revealed that Alexis Sanchez was suffering with a back injury at half-time as Arsenal thrashed West Ham in the Gunners' first ever match at the Olympic Stadium.

    By the end of a dazzling performance, the Chilean star was clutching the match ball after a clinical 14-minute hat-trick that overwhelmed a poor West Ham side.

    "He (Sanchez) was much sharper in the second half," said Wenger.

    However, the opening moments of the match were as dull as the air was cold, with neither side managing an effort on goal.

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to have the freedom of the borough of Newham, with acres of room to constantly run in and cross for no one in particular.

    But then, out of nothing, Arsenal were ahead in the 24th minute. Sanchez capitalised on a misplaced pass by Hammers centre-half Angelo Ogbonna and had ample time to pick out a pass for the on-running Mesut Ozil, who fired into an empty net.

    West Ham improved after the break and began to dominate possession and, with the score at only 1-0, the Hammers were always in the game.

    "We didn't take our chances in the first half," admitted Wenger.

    "At 1-0, it plays on your mind, and you can pay for that, but overall we gave a strong team performance over 90 minutes."

    Wenger also noted Arsenal's recent away results.

    "Our performances away have been convincing, and we seem to be scoring a lot of goals," reasoned the French coach.

    Wenger also put Arsenal's improvement down to a stronger defence. This was most notable when Laurent Koscielny calmly cleared the danger on 53 minutes, as West Ham started to pass the ball with more intent.

    Ozil had a chance to double the Gunners' lead on 69 minutes, but his shot was blocked. But then in the 72nd minute, Sanchez gave Arsenal the buffer they needed, when he found room to drive home from a difficult angle.

    Sanchez drilled home his second and Arsenal's third on 80 minutes to spark a mass exodus from Hammers fans.

    Three minutes later, West Ham got a goal back. Dimitri Payet's free-kick cannoned off the crossbar, and substitute Andy Carroll was there to head home a consolation goal. 

    But immediately at the other end, Oxlade-Chamberlain scored Arsenal's fourth with a sweetly executed long-range drive.

    It got even better for the Gunners and their shivering fans, as Sanchez completed his hat-trick in the 86th minute when he ran clear to deftly lift the ball over the advancing Darren Randolph, in the now battered West Ham goal.

    Arsenal played out the final stages of this one-sided match to "olés" from their ecstatic fans and to vast swathes of empty seats in the home sections.

    Wenger also suggested that South American forwards were currently the best in the game on current form, and Sanchez - playing out of his normal position - was up there as one of them.

    "He has all the ingredients to be a top-class striker," said Wenger. "Sanchez is quick to close down, has a short back-lift and a killer instinct.

    "He has a smile on his face, and when he walked off with the match ball under his arm, it was a good feeling."

    ARSENAL: Cech, Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin (Elneny, 87),  Xhaka, Ozil (Iwobi, 88), Walcott (Ramsey, 66), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanchez.
    Subs not used: Gibbs, Perez, Ospina, Holding.
    Attendance: 56,980.




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