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Dublin: 0°C Thursday 6 May 2021

Gunners win the Var after West Ham put up huge battle

There were also wins for Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United today while Wolves were held to a scoreless draw by Brighton.

Arsenal celebrate their late win today.
Arsenal celebrate their late win today.
Image: Bradley Collyer

ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE CAME off the bench to earn Arsenal three vital points against a wasteful West Ham United side today.

The Hammers had won only one of the last eight Premier League meetings between the two sides and created the better opportunities of a game settled by Lacazette – who hit the only goal of the 1-0 win as VAR intervened after the effort had originally been ruled out for offside.

The win moves Mikel Arteta’s side within three points of fifth-place.

Bernd Leno enjoyed another fine afternoon in the Arsenal goal and was forced into early action, turning Bowen’s low shot onto the post after the West Ham forward was presented with possession by Granit Xhaka.

The away side should have been ahead soon after, Antonio beating Pablo Mari to the ball and bursting into the Arsenal box, only to play his pass behind the onrushing Sebastien Haller – who would have had a simple finish.

The let-off seemed to stir Arsenal as Mesut Ozil saw a goalbound shot blocked by Aaron Cresswell just moments later.

The game was going nowhere when Arteta turned to Lacazette and Reiss Nelson from the bench in an attempt to find the goal and it was the former who provided the goods.

Aubameyang’s shot was deflected over the West Ham defence and Ozil knocked down for Lacazette to sweep home, although his strike was initially ruled out by Sian Massey-Ellis’ offside flag.

She appeared to flag against Nelson, who was not involved in the move, and after a lengthy VAR check it was deemed Ozil was played on by Ogbonna, with the goal standing.

Across town, Crystal Palace brought Watford back down to earth with a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park a week after the Hornets had stunned Premier League leaders Liverpool.

crystal-palace-v-watford-premier-league-selhurst-park Ben Foster fails to stop Jordan Ayew's effort. Source: John Walton

Jordan Ayew’s 28th-minute goal settled this fiery contest to move the Eagles onto 39 points – one off the magic total which usually guarantees top flight survival – and toast Roy Hodgson’s new contract with a victory.

Despite enjoying plenty of possession, Nigel Pearson saw his side suffer a disappointing defeat which has them only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.

It took 28 minutes for Palace to produce their first meaningful attack and they went ahead through Ayew’s eighth goal of the term.

After netting the winner at rivals Brighton last weekend, the Ghanaian rifled home from 20-yards this time after Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and James McArthur had combined impressively.

Meanwhile, Sheffield United maintained their push for European football with a 1-0 home win against bottom club Norwich.

Captain Billy Sharp headed the only goal of the game after 36 minutes as the Blades climbed to sixth in the Premier League table, for a few hours at least, and just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

However, Chris Wilder’s team needed a world class piece of goalkeeping from Dean Henderson to ensure victory, with the on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper underlining his England credentials with a triple save late in the game.

sheffield-united-v-norwich-city-premier-league-bramall-lane Billy Sharp celebrates his goal. Source: Anthony Devlin

For Norwich, the defeat means they remain six points adrift of safety with nine matches remaining to save their top-flight status.

The hosts began brightly and in the fourth minute Sharp clipped a cross into the penalty area from the right and Oli McBurnie’s header had to be helped over the crossbar by Tim Krul.

Norwich won a corner after 13 minutes and it should have brought them the opening goal. Ondrej Duda’s far-post cross was headed back across goal by Teemu Pukki but in attempting to clear the danger George Baldock headed the ball straight back to the Finnish international, who from inside the six-yard box lashed his shot against the outside of the post.

Daniel Farke will need to get Pukki firing again if his team are to have any chance of staying up this season, with his top scorer now without a goal since January 22.

Norwich were more assertive thereafter and grew into the match, although without causing Henderson any trouble.

By contrast, the Blades saw a few passes go amiss as they lost their rhythm. However, they rediscovered it again around the half-hour mark, putting the visitors under pressure with crosses into the box and a succession of corners.

The Canaries needed to weather the storm – but they were unable. John Lundstram whipped another delivery towards the six-yard box from the right and Sharp was on hand to power home the header.

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Elsewhere, Wolves and Brighton ended scoreless but there was good news for Newcastle who defeated Southampton 1-0 to move eight points clear of the drop zone.

Newcastle had failed to score in their last four top-flight outings, but Allan Saint-Maximin’s 79th-minute goal ended the goal drought as Newcastle moved eight points clear of the drop zone.

The result has come at Southampton’s expense however, as the Magpies climbed above their opponents to 13th in the table.

The hosts fought to keep the scores level after Moussa Djenpro’s red card in the 28th minute, with Alex McCarthy making some crucial saves including one from a Matt Ritchie penalty.

The Saints stopper had already denied Dwight Gayle and Miguel Almiron twice in the opening 10 minutes in an impressive triple save.

Djenepo, returning to the side following a family bereavement, lasted just 28 minutes before being sent off for a challenge on Isaac Hayden.

The 21-year-old winger’s tackle was reckless and he was deservedly shown a red card after referee Graham Scott consulted the pitch-side monitor before changing his initial decision from yellow to red.

Minutes after finding themselves with a man-advantage, McCarthy made another point-blank save to deny Gayle, with the forward putting another opportunity wide of the goal shortly after.

southampton-v-newcastle-united-premier-league-st-marys-stadium Allan Saint-Maximin scores Newcastle's winning goal. Source: Mark Kerton

Despite having a one-man advantage, Newcastle struggled to convert their chances, and missed a penalty just before the half-time whistle after VAR ruled Sofiane Boufal had handled in the box.

McCarthy guessed correctly and dived down to his left to keep the score level and deny former Portsmouth midfielder Matt Ritchie from giving Newastle the lead.

The intensity which encompassed Steve Bruce’s side’s first-half performance was somewhat lacking for much of the second half.

However, with just over 10 minutes remaining in the match, Saint-Maximin won the ball on the right side of the pitch before running towards goal and putting the ball past McCarthy as Newcastle found the benefit of the numerical advantage to return to the north east with all three points.

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