West Ham 0-6 Arsenal: Mikel Arteta’s side dismantle the Hammers, with thousands of home fans leaving the London Stadium at HALF-TIME as the Gunners cancel out City’s goal difference advantage

Bukayo Saka scored twice and Declan Rice found the net against his old club as Arsenal flexed their muscle in the title race with an emphatic 6-0 win at West Ham.

The Gunners’ title bid hit the buffers in this game last season when they blew a two-goal lead to draw 2-2.

There was no chance of a replay after William Saliba kicked them in front and West Ham immediately collapsed.

Rice bagged a pair of assists on his return to his former mansion while Saka, Gabriel Magalhaes and Leandro Trossard were also on target, all before the break.

Saka scored his second midway through the second half and Rice rubbed salt in the wounds with a long range sixth.

Arsenal demolished West Ham during their Premier League clash at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon

Arsenal demolished West Ham during their Premier League clash at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon

It was a night to forget for David Moyes' side as they suffered a 6-0 defeat in their own backyard, conceding four first-half goals.

It was a night to forget for David Moyes’ side as they suffered a 6-0 defeat in their own backyard, conceding four first-half goals.

Mikel Arteta was without Emile Smith Rowe for the game as he picked up an ankle injury in training earlier in the week.  However, it didn't seem to matter

Mikel Arteta was without Emile Smith Rowe for the game as he picked up an ankle injury in training earlier in the week. However, it didn’t seem to matter

William Saliba opened the scoring for Arsenal in the 32nd minute of the game on Sunday

William Saliba opened the scoring for Arsenal in the 32nd minute of the game on Sunday

When West Ham beat Arsenal and Manchester United in December, there was talk of a Champions League challenge in these parts.

They have lost against both in the last eight days, conceding nine goals in the process, and are still winless in 2024.

Alarm bells may not be ringing for manager David Moyes just yet, but the sight of hundreds of West Ham fans leaving at half-time told a sorry tale.

The opening goal came after 32 minutes when Rice, who received a lot of stick from the home fans, swung in a corner.

Saliba outjumped Edson Alvarez at the far post and, with Ben White blocking goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, planted a free header into the net.

Saka hit the second from the penalty spot after breaking free and being brought down by Areola.

After a lengthy VAR test for offside, the spot-kick was upheld and Saka confidently sent Areola the wrong way.

Four minutes later, Rice came up with assist number two, swinging in a free-kick that Gabriel, on his 150th Gunners appearance, headed home in front of a clumsy Kurt Zouma.

And in first half stoppage time Arsenal struck again, Martin Odegaard feeding Trossard to curl home number four.

It was Arsenal’s 8,000th league goal, and they were already on course for 9,000 at full-time.

Number 8,001 arrived in the 62nd minute when Saka cut inside Nayef Aguerd and flicked his shot past Areola.

Then came Rice’s big moment, the former Hammers captain curling in from 25 yards after Trossard and Odegaard had left the ball to each other, before performing the obligatory non-celebration in front of Arsenal’s excited fans.

Rice received a standing ovation from the home crowd when he left the field moments later, probably because those fans had little to clap on a painful day for the east Londoners and a bumper afternoon

More to follow…

The Arsenal fans erupted in the London Stadium as they edged closer to all three points

The Arsenal fans erupted in the London Stadium as they edged closer to all three points

West Ham United's Edson Alvarez (centre) is shown a yellow card by referee Craig Pawson for a foul on Arsenal's Bukayo Saka (right)

West Ham United’s Edson Alvarez (centre) is shown a yellow card by referee Craig Pawson for a foul on Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (right)

West Ham United's Alphonse Areola was devastated after conceding a penalty to Arsenal

West Ham United’s Alphonse Areola was devastated after conceding a penalty to Arsenal

He took out Arsenal's star player, Saka, on the edge of the box in the 41st minute of the game.

He took out Arsenal’s star player, Saka, on the edge of the box in the 41st minute of the match.

Referee Craig Pawson did rely on the help of VAR before awarding the penalty (above).

Referee Craig Pawson did rely on the help of VAR before awarding the penalty (above).

Mikel Arteta was delighted with his side's first half performance on Sunday afternoon

Mikel Arteta was delighted with his side’s first half performance on Sunday afternoon

Gabriel Magalhaes and Leandro Trossard increased their lead to 4-0 before the break

Gabriel Magalhaes and Leandro Trossard increased their lead to 4-0 before the break

Saka found the net again in the second half to make matters worse for David Moyes' side

Saka found the net again in the second half to make matters worse for David Moyes’ side

Declan Rice scored Arsenal's sixth goal but refused to celebrate in front of his old supporters

Declan Rice scored Arsenal’s sixth goal but refused to celebrate in front of his old supporters

BETTING FACTS

West Ham: Areola, Coufal, Zouma, Aguerd, Emerson Palmieri, Alvarez, Soucek, Johnson, Ward-Prowse, Kudus, Bowen.

Subs: Fabianski, Cresswell, Phillips, Mavropanos, Cornet, Ings, Ogbonna, Mubama, Scarles.

Arsenal: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Odegaard, Rice, Havertz, Saka, Trossard, Martinelli.

Substitutes: Ramsdale, Nketiah, Cedric, Jorginho, Nelson, Elneny, Nwaneri, Walters, Bandeira.

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)