Wenger hails Arsenal's "great spirit" after win over West Ham

Wenger hails Arsenal's "great spirit" after win over West Ham

Late flurry secured an ultimately emphatic victory just three days after Wenger announced his imminent departure

David Comerford

Arsene Wenger hailed the spirit of his Arsenal side after they struck three goals in the last ten minutes to beat lowly West Ham United 4-1 at the Emirates.

It was Arsenal's first game since Wenger announced that his 22-year tenure would come to an end this summer, but they started sluggishly against the relegation-threatened Hammers.

It took until the 51st minute for the Gunners to grab the lead courtesy of Nacho Monreal, but Marko Arnautovic superbly equalised just after the hour mark.

However, the hosts promptly rallied, and Aaron Ramsey's fortuitous strike in the 82nd minute was followed by a quick-fire Alexandre Lacazette double, sealing a victory which significantly tightened their grip on sixth place.

Good fight from Gunners

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Wenger hailed his side's response to being pegged back by Arnautovic's effort.

"We constructed our win patiently," he explained. "It was difficult to find space in the first half, they were well organised, but we remained composed and patient.

"From the second half on we always looked like we could score more goals because we found more space. On top of that, we have shown a great spirit again.

"The second goal was key. At 1-1 you could see we may have been wobbling but the second goal killed them.

"We had a spell in the second half when we came out when we should have scored two or three goals. So when they came back to 1-1 it was interesting to see how we responded."​

Happier times at the Emirates

Wenger enjoyed a warm reception from the Arsenal faithful following Thursday's announcement and was pleased to be able to repay the fans with three points.

"The applause and tributes was nice," the Frenchman said. "You want your fans to be happy. If sometimes I can be happy as well that is good, so overall if you can combine both that's good.

"I'm ready to suffer to make sure they are happy but if I am happy as well it's not bad."

Up next for Arsenal is the potentially season-defining visit of Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the Europa League on Thursday.