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Mikel Arteta’s tenure in the dugout at the Emirates Stadium has already been a rollercoaster of a ride, and it could have taken another bizarre turn had he not been able to dodge an onrushing pitch invader.
Arsenal beat West Ham on Wednesday night in a performance that Arteta will have been pleased about from start to finish.
Goals from exciting young prospects Gabriel Martinelli (48’) and Emile Smith-Rowe (87’) ensured that the Gunners secured all three points and climbed into the top four.
And Alexandre Lacazette could’ve made it a more statement victory had his penalty not have been saved in the 69th minute following a second bookable offence inside the area by Hammers defender Vladimir Coufal.
Following the full-time whistle, a few supporters managed to break onto the pitch, and one, after slaloming past several stewards, almost wiped Arteta out.
The young fan, whose affiliation is unknown, came bursting down the touchline which forced the Spanish manager to think back to his glory days in the heart of the Arsenal midfield and jink out the way.
Twitter was flooded with comical replies to the incident, with one fan joking: “Jack Wilshere will do anything to get a game.”
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Whilst another said: “Harvey Elliott thinking he could sneak himself into this Arsenal team, I see.”
Another then joked: “Better positioning than Harry Maguire.”
The victory against the Hammers was a huge sign of the progress that the Gunners’ young and inexperienced squad is making under Arteta, even without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
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The Gabonese striker was stripped of his captaincy earlier this week following a “disciplinary breach” which also meant that he wouldn’t feature on Wednesday night, and the nature of how the club has publicly dealt with the incident has upset the Aubameyang camp, according to Football.London.
With 18 months left of his contract, it now would be no surprise to see the former Borussia Dortmund forward leave the Emirates sooner rather than later if Arteta is so keen to remove the ‘bad eggs’ from his group.
He already has a handful of exemplary leaders in the dressing room, in the shape of Alexandre Lacazette and Kieran Tierney, and the performance against the Hammers showed that losing Aubameyang may not too greatly affect the club’s hopes of securing Champions League football.
- Mikel Arteta
- Arsenal FC
- Premier League
- West Ham FC
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