As it happened: Rice secures deserved victory for West Ham against Arsenal
Photo: Getty Images - Stuart MacFarlane

As it happened: Rice secures deserved victory for West Ham against Arsenal

Arsenal eye important win in top four race against fellow Londoners. Kick off is set for 12.30 GMT. 

dave-comerford
David Comerford
Goodbye
That's it for our commentary of events at the London Stadium. We've started this Premier League Saturday with a shock. Are there more to come? Stick with VAVEL to find out.
Where that leaves them
Arsenal have missed the chance to draw level with Chelsea, who play Newcastle this evening. It's a blow to their top-four hopes.

West Ham climb to eighth and very much have their eyes on a Europa League place now.

Ricely done
A very solid performance from West Ham, with matchwinner Rice the best player on the pitch, but Arsenal were so poor. 
Full time
West Ham beat Arsenal at home for the first time in 12 years. Delight for the Hammers faithful. 
90+3'
A second disallowed goal for Arsenal as Kolasinac is caught offside yet again. The linesman had flagged before Koscielny headed home the cross.
90+1'
The West Ham fans are on their feet as Fabianski catches the corner. They're so close to a famous win.
90'
A corner for Arsenal here. Three added minutes...
89'
The West Ham fans want a penalty as Bellerin gets hold of Carroll in the area, but there are no appeals from the big striker.
88'
A West Ham second looks decidedly more likely at this point.
87'
West Ham look pretty comfortable at the moment. Can Arsenal produce some sort of moment of magic?
83'
The ball is in the net for Arsenal but it won't count, with Kolasinac rightfully flagged offside. Time beginning to run out for Emery's men.
81'
The last change of the game sees Antonio withdrawn for Pedro Obiang, who will look to help shut-up shop.
77'
Arsenal are still struggling to create clearcut chances. A testament, perhaps, to West Ham's solid defending.

The last time the Gunners failed to score in a league game was their opening day defeat to Manchester City.

76'
A bit more pace in the game now. West Ham are sensing an opportunity for second as Arsenal begin to push forward, but they'll have to be careful not to commit too many men to attacking.
74'
Carroll's first contribution is to win a free-kick near halfway after being hauled down by Sokratis.

20 minutes for Arsenal to find an equaliser, but West Ham are holding their own for now.

72'
Double change for West Ham now. Nasri, still getting booed by the away end, makes way for Robert Snodgrass, while Andy Carroll is on in place of Marko Arnautovic, who, notably, waves to the crowd as he comes off.
69'
Arsenal make their final substitution. Hector Bellerin on, Ainsley Maitland-Niles off.
68'
Arsenal are beginning to knock on the door. Their latest attack ends with another attempt from Guendouzi. Fabianski makes a straightforward save, but it's better.
67'
So close. Ramsey cleverly works the ball to Iwobi, who flashes the shot inches wide. The Welshman has made a difference since coming on.
65'
Anderson could yet produce something special today. He runs at the Arsenal defence for the umpteenth time and nearly slaloms into shooting room. 
64'
Ramsey crosses for Aubameyang, but the league's joint top-scorer can't produce an effort of any significance.

Moments later, he receives the ball from Kolasinac on the left and blazes over under pressure from Cresswell.

Not his day so far.

60'
Kolasinac is in the book after a poor sliding challenge on Antonio. 
59'
First changes of the day. Both Torreira and Ramsey are coming on for Arsenal, with Mustafi and Xhaka making way. Clearly attack-minded alterations.
58'
Ogbonna connects with Anderson's free-kick but can't get it on target. 
57'
Anderson is tormenting Arsenal at the moment. He weaves through several challenges but can't quite find shooting room. 

The frustration is getting to Lacazette, who rashly fouls Noble near the corner flag.

56'
West Ham win their sixth corner of the game. This time Anderson finds Antonio, whose shot is gathered by Leno.
55'
Guendouzi picks up a loose ball in the West Ham final third but sidefoots well wide. 
54'
Torreira and Ramsey are out warming up. It wouldn't be a surprise to see either introduced soon.
50'
It goes all the way through and out for a goal kick. 
50'
The visitors have now won a corner, though...
50'
Down to Arsenal to respond now. They raced down the other end pretty much immediately but couldn't fashion out a chance.
GOAL! West Ham 1-0 Arsenal
Anderson gets two chances to put the ball into the box. He can't pick out a man with either, but the clearance from the second falls to Nasri, who tees up Rice. The Irishman, who missed a great chance in the first half, strokes it high into the net and wheels away in celebration. 1-0 to West Ham. 
47'
Kolasinac heads the delivery behind for a West Ham corner.
46'
Anderson gets to the ball before a sliding Mustafi and is brought down. A yellow card for the German and a dangerous free-kick for West Ham. 
Second half
Arsenal resume the contest.

This game promised more than it has delivered so far. Fingers crossed for a lively second half.

Teams back out
Arsenal and West Ham have reemerged from the tunnel.

 

Options on the bench
West Ham can call upon the likes of Andy Carroll, who got a goal in the FA Cup last weekend, former Gunner Lucas Perez, winger Robert Snodgrass and promising youngster Grady Diangana.

Arsenal, meanwhile, may turn to Lucas Torreira in a bid to win control of midfield, or Aaron Ramsey.

A game of few chances
Arsenal went closest on 13 minutes when Lacazette wriggled through and forced Fabianski into a low save.

West Ham have probably just about edged it since. Anderson was very close to an opener with his drive, while Rice knows that late header was a great chance.

Let's hope for some goals, and a higher tempo, after the break.

Halftime
The whistle sounds and that's it for a quiet first half. 
45'
They can. Declan Rice connects with Anderson's ball-in but can't divert it on target. Should have done better.
45'
Another West Ham corner with halftime looming. Can they create something this time?
41'
Antonio has a bit of room on the edge of the Arsenal box but rather selfishly chooses to go for goal and slices it wide. It's been a while since the last big chance.
39'
Guendouzi gingerly gets to his feet and makes his way to the touchline.
38'
Guendouzi has stayed down after being pulled over by Nasri.
35'
Guendouzi ambitiously chooses to shoot from range and nearly finds the top corner. A portion of the away support thought he'd scored.
32'
Anderson drives a fraction wide of the post after a lay-off from Nasri. Closest West Ham have come. The noise goes up a notch in the stadium. 
29'
Important block from Sokratis as Arnautovic looks to power one towards goal. The chance came from more good play in tight areas on the edge of the box.
28'
West Ham go short this time but their fortunes don't improve. Leno gathers Anderson's cross.
27'
A third West Ham corner coming up after Koscielny is forced to head a cross behind.
26'
Nasri shoots just wide after some neat link-up play on the left corner of the Arsenal box. Better from West Ham.
24'
Nasri, booed by the Arsenal fans, wins his side a corner. 

But Cresswell's delivery is easily dealt with. 

22'
Kolasinac gets free down the left and looks to find Lacazette with his cut-back, but Rice does well to intervene.
16'
Cresswell finds space down the left after beating Maitland-Niles but Leno is able to gather the cross.
15'
Arsenal are growing into this one now. Aubameyang lofts a cross into the middle which Lacazette unsuccessfully looks to attack. Tide shifting in the visitors' favour..
13'
Best chance of the game as Aubameyang, Iwobi and Lacazette combine. The latter dribbles through and forces Fabianski into a save before skying the rebound. Hearts were in West Ham mouths for a second there.
11'
The ball works its way to Felipe Anderson, who runs at the Arsenal defence before bending his shot well wide.
10'
Roar of anticipation around the stadium as West Ham win a corner.
9'
Arsenal with their first attempt now as Lacazette takes down a long ball from Xhaka and lashes wide on the half-volley. 
8'
Michail Antonio is causing Arsenal one or two problems down the right side, but as yet he's not been able to put a dangerous ball into the area.
6'
First shot of the day for West Ham. Noble plays a one-two with Nasri and has a go but can't make Leno work. 
4'
No chances in the opening stages as the two sides settle into the game.
Underway
We're off at the London Stadium. Good atmosphere. 
Arsenal XI
Aubameyang and Lacazette both start for Arsenal, but Lucas Torreira is only on the bench. 

Team in full: Leno; Sokratis, Koscielny, Mustafi; Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Kolasinac; Iwobi, Aubameyang, Lacazette

West Ham XI
The headline team news for the hosts is that Nasri and Arnautovic both start.

Team in full: Fabianski; Zabaletta, Ogbonna, Diop, Cresswell; Rice, Noble; Nasri, Antonio, Anderson; Arnautovic

We'll have confirmed team news at 11.30am ahead of kick-off at 12.30pm. 
West Ham team news
West Ham also have several absentees to cope with. Fabian Balbuena, Ryan Fredericks, Winston Reid, Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere, Carlos Sanchez, Manuel Lanzini and Javier Hernandez are all sidelined.

The focus will be on the role played by new arrival Nasri and a distracted Arnautovic.

Arsenal team news
Arsenal's injury list remains a lengthy one. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck are out with long-term injuries, while Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil are all doubts for this one. 
Pellegrini: Ex-Gunner Samir Nasri fired-up
"He wants revenge, about the ban of 12 months or more, to decline his career.

"From Arsenal, then City bought him. From there his career declined, without doubt.

"I think we can expect a lot from him because he is a top player. He continues having some minutes, and when he is used to playing 90 minutes again he will be a top player at this club."

Emery: West Ham will not sit back
"[Manuel Pellegrini] is a very good coach, with a lot of experience. He was the coach at Villarreal and Real Madrid when I was at Valencia. We know each other very well.

"I know he needs time to create his idea with the team. I think they are improving and they also have good individual players with quality, like Anderson, like Arnautovic - who are very good players.

"Usually [Pellegrini has] very offensive teams. They usually play matches with a balance tactically but above all with technical, offensive players.

Stats: Arsenal's ominous record against London rivals
Arsenal's last defeat away at West Ham came in November 2006, with eight wins and three draws since.

In fact, today's hosts have one just one of their past 21 league matches against Arsenal. 

No Premier League team has inflicted more defeats on the Irons.

Arnautovic the one to watch amid speculation
West Ham have been forced to put out a statement this week insisting star striker Marko Arnautovic will remain at the club after his head was turned by a £35million bid from an unnamed Chinese club.

Arnautovic has scored seven league goals this season, netting in a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal back in August, so Manuel Pellegrini may feel compelled to start him.

A mixed record against the top teams
This is West Ham's fifth home game against 'big six' opposition this season.

So far, they have held Chelsea to a goalless draw, impressively beaten Manchester United, fallen to a narrow defeat against Spurs and been thumped by Manchester City.

Will they adopt an aggressive approach against a defensively-vulnerable Arsenal?

Hammers looking to rediscover early December form
West Ham began last month with four consecutive victories and looked to be building some real momentum before a disappointing home defeat against Watford.

After returning to winning ways against Southampton, they managed to pick up only a point from their two games against Burnley and Brighton.

They currently sit tenth in the table, but victory here would see them move level on points with seventh-placed Leicester and confirm their status as challengers for a Europa League spot.

Arsenal eye third consecutive win ahead of Chelsea clash
It was a tricky festive period for Unai Emery's Arsenal, with a 5-1 defeat at Anfield in their final game of 2018 bearing alarming hallmarks of Arsene Wenger's final season. 

They have responded well, though, comfortably beating Fulham at The Emirates before easing past Blackpool in the FA Cup.

Victory here could see them move level on points with top-four rivals Chelsea, who they host next weekend.

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