West Ham and Arsenal played a tantalizing thriller at Upton Park on Saturday afternoon with Andy Carroll grabbing the spotlight with his eight-minute hat trick.
Gunners raced to a double lead in the first-half, but were wiped out thanks to three quick goals from Andy Carroll, before Koscielny closed the scoreline in this six-goal stalemate.
Here are the five things we learned from the 3-3 draw at Upton Park:
Title race over for Arsenal
Die-hard Gunners will still deny it, but their team is very well out of the Premier League.
Plenty of things can happen until the end of the season and this campaign has already proved to be highly unpredictable, but without the maximum three points against West Ham on Saturday afternoon Arsene Wenger’s men can say goodbye to the Premier League trophy.
League leaders Leicester City have a busy schedule ahead of them with a couple of tough matches and Arsenal hope Foxes will suffer a slip-up in the title run-in which would be Arsenal’s only chance of getting back into the frame.
Wenger’s men are due to face a couple of bottom-half teams and Manchester City in the round before last, but they will have to put in a much better performance than what we saw at Upton Park against West Ham most of all when it comes to defence.
Alex Iwobi is a star
Nigerian forward’s rise to prominence has been impressive and Alex Iwobi has once again been a huge presence for Arsenal on Saturday.
Arsenal wonderkid is justifying his surprise inclusion in the starting line-up with impressive performances and mature, quality displays which was the case against West Ham once more.
In just three Premier League starts, the Nigerian forward scored twice and grabbed two assists including a touch of creativity to set up Mesut Ozil with an opener against Hammers.
Iwobi was crucial with Arsenal’s second as his superb touch allowed Alex Sanchez to slot home the secong goal for Arsenal.
Having played just three games from the start, Alex Iwobi has thus already achieved Theo Walcott’s assist tally in the league for the entire season.
Refereeing influenced the game
There were a couple of situations in the game that will raise a couple of eyebrows as referee’s decisions directly influenced the scoreline.
West Ham and Arsenal played a high-value game as both teams had plenty to fight for and one thing they would have been hoping to avoid were disallowed goals and decisions that would put a serious dent to their Champions League and title bids.
In the 16th minute, however, West Ham got just that.
Manuel Lanzini put the ball in the back of the net following a brilliant overhead kick assist from Andy Carroll, but linesman’s flag denied the Hammers as Argentine was deemed offside despite the fact he actually was not in disallowed position.
To make things worse, Hammers had another goal disallowed and will have been pretty disappointed by today’s officials.
Andy Carroll tried to pick the ball inside the goalkeeper’s area and got in a clinch with Ospina, tripped over him as the ball went to Payet who slotted it home.
The Frenchman ran towards the crowd to celebrate the goal, but his joy was cut short as the referee Craig Pawson changed his mind and decided to disallow this effort as well.
West Ham will have plenty of trouble keeping Dimitri Payet this summer
The 29-year-old Frenchman is enjoying a fantastic run of form ever since the return from his injury and no wonder Slaven Bilic is considering taking poetry classes in order to describe his key man’s performances.
Despite the fact he did not have a direct influence on the result today, Dimitri Payet put in another fantastic performance.
Former Marseille man oozes confidence, maturity and incredible self-belief which he is able to transform into a wonderful play.
Arsene Wenger had the opportunity to sing Payet earlier in his career but opted not to because of the “inconsistency”, but his assessment could not be more wrong at this point.
Payet assists, scored goals, belting free kicks, plays with power and strength and his numbers over the past few years confront Wenger’s claims.
Six goals in his last ten fixtures for club and country speak volumes and Payet’s incredible form earned him a place in the France national team and almost certainly a ticket for Euro 2016.
If he continues with strong performances throughout the summer, his value will grow even further and there is no doubt that West Ham will be under huge pressure from Europe’s big guns to sell their most prized possession.
Andy Carroll breaking records
He’s been living with it from the beginning of his career, Andy Carrols is a record breaker.
England striker became the highest-paid British footballer in 2011 as Liverpool paid £35 million to Newcastle United for his signature.
On Saturday afternoon the 27-year-old forward became the first player in the history of the Premier League to score two goals in the last minute of a first half.
His areal presence proved costly for Arsenal as the towering frontman used his power to head home on Cresswell’s cross in the 44th minute, before firing a beaty from inside the box with his left foot after a blocked effort and poor intervention from Arsenal defenders.
It took him eight minutes of play to score a hat-trick with another header following Marc Antonio’s cross.
He had an afternoon to remember and played a great game to repay his manager for the place in the starting berth, his first after a while.
WEST HAM: Adrian 6.5, Tomkins 6 (Emenike 6.5), Reid 6.5, Ogbonna 7 – Antonio 7, Kouyate 6.5, Noble 6.5, Cresswell 7 – Lanzini 7, Payet 7.5 – Carroll 8.5.
Unused subs: Hendrie, Moses, Obiang, Oxford, Randolph, Valencia.
ARSENAL: Ospina 6.5, Bellerin 6.5, Gabriel 6, Koscielny 7, Monreal 6.5 – Elneny 7 (Giroud 6.5), Coquelin 6.5 (Ramsey 7) – Sanchez 7.5, Ozil 7.5, Iwobi 7.5 – Welbeck 6 (Walcott 6).
Unused subs: Cech, Chambers, Gibbs, Mertesacker.
Referee: Craig Pawson
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