Declan Rice starred as Arsenal demolished West Ham 6-0
Rice scored one goal and assisted two more as Arsenal fired a warning to title rivals
Bukayo Saka grabbed a brace as Arsenal’s defensive duo William Saliba and Gabriel added to their tallies from set pieces and Leandro Trossard netted his third in four games.
One more goal would have taken the Gunners above Manchester City on goal difference.
It was some response to the side who effectively ended last season’s title push and had already beaten Arsenal twice this season – how long ago that feels for Hammers fans.
It was not even two months ago that the Hammers were celebrating back-to-back wins over Manchester United and Arsenal. In the last week they’ve faced both, conceding nine and scoring none.
As brilliant and brutal as some of Arsenal’s football was, West Ham were simply letting it happen, collapsing in an embarrassing spell before the break.
They were not sitting deep, but neither were they putting any pressure on and once the Gunners had got settled they cut through their hosts with alarming ease.
The West Ham display was so soft, so lacking in effort that thousands left for good before the first half was even over. Those who wanted to avoid the traffic waited for full-time.
West Ham’s brief spells on the ball were ending with a hopeful punt towards Jarrod Bowen, conceding possession to the visitors.
That approach requires some luck, such as Leandro Trossard, in for Jorginho, putting a free header over the bar from eight yards out after a fine cross from Saka.
Alphonse Areola, fit after being forced off at Old Trafford last weekend, didn’t need to worry himself with that effort, but had to be alert to palm the Belgian’s powerful volley over a minute later.
Arsenal were racking up the chances and West Ham were pushing their luck, which soon ran out.
The back of Tomas Soucek’s boot deflected a Martin Odegaard strike behind before Valdmir Coufal threw himself in front of a cross to concede another corner.
This time they could not hang on.
As Rice trotted over to the sound of more boos to swing a ball in, sub Cedric Soares ran down to pass on a message from the bench – perhaps the biggest contribution he’s made as an Arsenal player.
Arsenal’s big boys amassed at the back post, Rice picked them out and Saliba rose highest – heading in and shattering West Ham’s resolve.
William Saliba got things underway for Arsenal with another set-piece goal
Gabriel Magalhaes joined the action with a header
From there, Arsenal were well and truly in their groove, conducted by the brilliant Rice, and West Ham went to pieces.
Saka made it two shortly before the break but he could have had a hat-trick between the opener and his penalty.
The England man first headed wide from Jakub Kiwior’s cross, then clipped an effort past the far post at the end of a superb move.
Finally, having been brought down by Alphonse Areola when through one-on-one, he sent the Frenchman the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Arsenal looked comfortable but were far from done.
Bukayo Saka helped himself to two strikes
Leandro Trossard fired in a rocket before the break
It was at this stadium, with a 2-0 lead, that their title push collapsed last season, when Saka missed a penalty and West Ham came back to claim a point.
This time, at half-time, they set in before Moyes could even mediate a settlement.
Gabriel glanced home his fourth goal of the season after Rice sent in another deft cross, this time from a free kick, to the near post.
That would have been more than enough to guarantee that they closed the gap on Liverpool to just two points, but West Ham was left wide open by Arsenal, who were unrelenting, so they took advantage.
Trossard was fed by Skipper Odegaard, who entered Kurt Zouma and identified the distant corner.
The London Stadium didn’t turn toxic at this point, it just emptied.
It was a terrible day for West Ham as their fans departed from half-time
David Moyes will be feeling the heat after a huge defeat
The television cameras picked out fans streaming over the bridges back to Stratford before the whistle had gone for the break.
Those left inside booed their team off.
After deciding to stay and see if the impossible could be done, many more were heading for home not long after.
Arsenal could have had two more within four minutes of the restart, as Trossard put one over and Gabriel Martinelli headed wide.
Former Hammers skipper Rice was the man of the moment
He refused to celebrate his goal against his old side
Though the opportunities persisted, West Ham was still not providing anything resembling a defense, and Moyes was left to watch in despair.
Once again, Odegaard was superb as he discovered Saka on the edge of the West Ham box, plenty of space.
Moving forward, he slipped past Nayef Aguerd and struck his second goal into the near post.
But then came the real killer for the home fans as their adored former captain, the man who lifted the Conference League trophy in June, delivered their biggest home defeat of the Premier League era.
Ben White rolled a ball back to the edge of the area where Rice arrived and bent a delightful goal into the far corner.