ARSENAL outclassed West Ham at the Emirates as they laid down their top four credentials against David Moyes' East Londoners.
The Gunners overcame a first-half malaise to overpower the Hammers as the game went on, with stand-in skipper Alexandre Lacazette at the heart of things.
The Frenchman held the ball up brilliantly even when his team-mates looked half asleep in the early exchanges, playing a captain's role in waking them up as Arsenal sealed a crucial victory.
As the Gunners move to within just two points of the top four, here's how SunSport's Etienne Fermie rated each performer.
AARON RAMSDALE – 6
Flapped at an early corner. Denied Jarrod Bowen with a dramatic camera save in the 53rd minute.
Booked for time wasting with 19 minutes remaining and was soon nearly left red faced as Takehiro Tomiyasu's nodded pass went past him… but not into the net.
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TAKEHIRO TOMIYASU – 5
Frustrated fans by overhitting what could have been a simple pass to put Bukayo Saka in behind in the 31st minute. Drew a louder groan later in the first period when he gave the ball away in a dangerous area.
Japanese defended efficiently but was a little too wasteful in possession for the Emirates crowd's liking.
BEN WHITE – 6
A solid performer at the back for the Gunners.
The former Brighton ace was never stretched by the hideously out of form Michail Antonio.
GABRIEL – 7
Nearly got on the scoresheet late on with an acrobatic effort.
The Brazilian was touted as a potential future captain by Lacazette in tonight's matchday programme, and those burgeoning leadership traits were on display this evening.
KIERAN TIERNEY – 7
Earned an early free-kick with a trademark burst down the left flank that resulted in taking a whack across the chops from Vladimir Coufal.
Struck the bar with a ferocious effort from range in the 40th minute.
Scotsman only recently reclaimed his place from Nuno Tavares but he remains streets ahead of the summer signing from Benfica.
THOMAS PARTEY – 6
Clattered Antonio as he was fouled by the Hammers forward. Frustrated fans by dawdling on the edge of the box when a shooting opportunity appeared to have presented itself.
The Ghanaian would admit himself that he is not quite at his impressive best at the moment.
GRANIT XHAKA – 5
Fluffed a great chance after being teed up in the box by Saka.
Often looked cumbersome in the middle of the park, giving the ball away either with careless passing or ponderous dawdling.
BUKAYO SAKA – 8
Appeared to slip and fluff his lines as an opportunity arose in the 25th minute. Influence began to grow from this point, however, as he soon executed a lovely nutmeg.
He then set up a good chance for Xhaka after one-twoing with Martin Odegaard, only for the Swiss to tamely have his effort blocked.
Saka's energy and ingenuity got Arsenal fans' bums off seats during what was a largely lifeless first half, although he would begin the second by firing into Row Z.
Teed up pal Smith Rowe for Arsenal's second late on as he began to torment ten-man West Ham.
MARTIN ODEGAARD – 5
Gifted Bowen a golden chance to equalise with a careless pass across the edge of his own final third.
Was by far the least effective of Arsenal's attackers with many of his passes not coming off.
Norwegian was hooked in the 65th minute for Emile Smith Rowe.
GABRIEL MARTINELLI – 8
Denied by a last-ditch tackle as a one-on-one appeared to present itself just before the half-hour mark.
Prodded a rebound wide from close range on the stoke of half-time – although may have been offside anyway.
Began the second-half in perfect style by slotting into the bottom corner following good work by Lacazette.
The Brazilian's confidence was now flowing, as he produced a sensational nutmeg on Tomas Soucek moments after his goal.
Earned a standing ovation as he was replaced by Eddie Nketiah late on.
ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE – 9
Stand-in skipper made a lively start to the match, using his body well to earn an early free-kick before later nutmegging Craig Dawson.
The Hammers defender would soon get his revenge, however, denying the Frenchman a certain goal with a thundering challenge as last man.
Frenchman was denied by Lukasz Fabianski on the stroke of half-time, with Martinelli spurning the rebound.
Began the second-half by dropping deep to excellent effect, producing a pinpoint pass to set up Martinelli's opener.
Consistently held the ball up masterfully during what was a sensational centre-forward's performance.
Earned a penalty after being challenged by Coufal, with the Czech shown a second yellow card – but was then denied brilliantly from 12 yards by Fabianski.
Emile Smith Rowe (for Odegaard, 65) – 7
Might have done better with a tame right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area, but later showed off his composure to seal victory for Arsenal late on.
Eddie Nketiah (for Martinelli, 82) – N/A
Didn't have enough time to make a proper impact.
Nuno Tavares (for Lacazette, 89 ) – N/A
Like Nketiah, simply didn't get long enough on the pitch to do anything memorable.
Subs not used: Okonkwo, Holding, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Lokonga, Pepe
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