Alexandre Lacazette was Arsenal's hero as the Gunners staged a remarkable comeback from three goals down to earn a 3-3 draw at West Ham on Sunday. The visitors looked to be slipping to a 12th Premier League defeat of the season when Tomas Soucek netted West Ham's third goal in a 32-minute spell of incisive finishing by the hosts and defensive inadequacy by Arsenal. However the combination of Calum Chambers, Martin Odegaard and Lacazette helped inspire Arsenal to draw level at the London Stadium.
It may have been a result that suits neither side -- West Ham failing to draw level with fourth-place Chelsea whilst Arsenal find themselves nine points off the top four -- but Arteta will surely not complain about the draw after his side that started in woeful fashion left east London with a point.
Arsenal showed no signs of the intensity, composure and quality that had been so apparent for most of their win over Tottenham a week ago, Mikel Arteta's decisions to move Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the right wing and pair Pablo Mari with David Luiz among those that backfired as the Gunners were overwhelmed by an intense, aggressive West Ham side.
At the heart of the Hammers exceptional start was Jesse Lingard, the loanee who so relished facing Arsenal when with his parent club Manchester United. His fifth goal in nine meetings with the north London side might have been his best yet, the 28-year-old finding space in between Calum Chambers and Granit Xhaka on the edge of the box to volley into the top right corner.
Arteta has made no secret of his recent issues with how his players deal with pressure and setbacks yet within two minutes Arsenal had descended into farce. Having conceded a free-kick on the right corner of their penalty area defenders surrounded referee Jon Moss whilst Lingard stepped up to play a pass to the onrushing Jarrod Bowen, whose curling shot ought to have been saved by Bernd Leno as it crept under his body.
When Soucek diverted Michail Antonio's header into the net to make it 3-0, Arsenal looked to be dead and buried, destined for perhaps the most woeful defeat of Arteta's tenure in a match where West Ham looked every inch a club worthy of a top-four berth. And yet when Alexandre Lacazette's first time volley deflected off Soucek and past Lukasz Fabianski in the 38th minute the visitors at least had something to play toward in the second half.
That they did. Arteta did not make any substitutions but so improved were Arsenal it was as though he had introduced 10 different players (Odegaard the only one not to let himself down in a woeful first half). They were fluid, incisive and composed with Chambers a revelation as an overlapping right-back. Every cross off his boot fizzed into a dangerous area and there was little Craig Dawson could do but deflect one delivery into his own net in the 61st minute.
For all Arsenal's improvements West Ham had their chances to kill the game off. First Chambers cleared just in front of his goal line after a miscue between Leno and David Luiz. Moments later Said Benrahma exploded past Partey, slamming a powerful drive across the face of goal that skewed off Antonio's boot and onto the post.
They lived to regret those misses when Lacazette, outstanding in his movement and link play throughout Arsenal's revival, rose at the back post to meet Nicolas Pepe's right-footed cross from the byline.