On this day: Sanchez helps slay slack Hammers
Alexis Sanchez's career may have taken a dive recently but three years ago he was on fire as his hat-trick for Arsenal put West Ham to the sword.
Sanchez, who also got an assist on the night, was the architect of this memorable 5-1 win for the Gunners over their London rivals on a cold evening at the London Stadium in what was the Gunners’ first appearance at the former Olympic site.
Despite the dramatic scoreline, It was actually a tight and cagey first three-quarters in Stratford with the visitors only really springing into life in the final 20 minutes, scoring four times, while the Hammers’ consolation also came late on, when Andy Carroll notched with seven minutes to go.
This was a win which propelled Arsenal up to second in the Premier League table and extended their unbeaten run to 13 games in the process, while West Ham, then managed by Slaven Bilic, were left just a point and a place above the relegation zone.
After a quiet opening, Mesut Ozil put Arsene Wenger’s side ahead on 24 minutes, profiting from an Angelo Ogbonna’s mistake to provide Sanchez with the chance to cross simply for the German to finish.
Thereafter, for much of the rest of the evening, it didn’t seem this game would be one to write about further down the line but after Bilic’s men missed several good chances to equalise, the man-of-the-match Chilean went down the other end to double Arsenal’s advantage in the 72nd minute with a brilliant individual effort.
It looked over when the in-form Sanchez drilled in his and Arsenal’s third with 10 minutes to go but Carroll, unsurprisingly shortly after coming on as a substitute, then thought he’d given the Hammers late hope when he headed home from close range after Dimitri Payet’s free-kick had hit the bar.
Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, though, had other ideas.
Oxlade-Chamberlain took the game away from West Ham when his fine finish from outside the box, flashing his effort past Darron Randolph, before Sanchez added even more gloss to the scoreline with a cheeky dinked finish over the keeper in injury time.
Wenger celebrated afterwards as he hoped this win could have helped carry his side onto a sustained title challenge, with the three points moving them three behind leaders Chelsea and a point above both Liverpool and Manchester City below them.
However, it would be the Blues who would end up at the top of the pile the following spring with Wenger’s men slipping to a disappointing fifth, while the Hammers improved to end the 2016-17 campaign 11th.