The statistics were foreboding to start with. Before their trip to the Emirates, West Ham had seen just one in 11 league games. Arsenal had won in the previous nine successive encounters. The manager, Sam Allardyce, hadn’t won in 10 trips to North London.
Arsenal were eyeing a realistic second place challenge and were on an impressive run of form. West Ham were not.
Ultimately, the 3-0 scoreline showed the difference between the teams not in the league table (the Irons fell to 10th) but in their dominance of the football field.
Olivier Giroud sent plucky Hammers into the dressing room with something to think about with his 45 minute strike and while Kevin Nolan and Matt Jarvis came close, late goals by Aaron Ramsey and Mathiew Flamini put the gloss on the win.
West Ham had shown they are a better class than than their recent predecessors with periods of sustained pressure but Diafro Sakho was a lonely figure up front. The key to a genuine assault on their classy rivals was languishing on the injury list.
Winger Matt Jarvis was playing his first Premier League match since November and made an impact with an impressive, if skied, volley.
Afterwards he said: “I was delighted to get back in the team and play, but gutted with the final result and really wish we didn’t concede right on half time. That knocked us.
“One of the things we wanted to do was get in behind, put crosses in and create chances. For spells we did that and it would have been nice to get the first goal and see what happened from there.”
“This is a tough place to come to, but when you look at the 3-0 scoreline it looks like a bad day at the office. I think we did well in spells though, and that’s what we need to take into next week’s game against Sunderland.”