For almost an hour the Gunners were characteristically woeful and listless, then out of nowhere Gabriel Martinelli scored his first league goal in his first league start, clinically finishing a cross from the left by Sead Kolasinac in the 60th minute.
Arsenal suddenly came to life. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang collected the ball outside the box and fed it out right to Nicolas Pepe, who curled the ball past goalkeeper David Martin to put Arsenal in front.
Moments later, Arsenal carved West Ham open again, Mesut Ozil fed Pepe on the right, and his cross found Aubameyang, who was just onside to fire in a crisp volley. Three goals in a quickfire nine minutes from the Gunners prompted West Ham fans to depart the Olympic Stadium in droves.
The win lifted Arsenal to ninth in the standings and ended an alarming run of form which cost Unai Emery his job. Freddie Ljungberg was still coy on whether he wants to take the reins full-time. “We won't get carried away,” Ljungberg said. “We have a lot of work to do.”
After Arsenal's first win in the league since early October, Ljungberg believed they had no right to think they had turned the corner. “First half, we were slow, a bit lethargic, and didn't move or run, but that comes when players are low and have no confidence because you don't do the things you need to,” Ljungberg added.
“It has been hard, but I felt, ‘Give it a go in the second half,’ and it was amazing for me to see.” He will start planning for a Europa League group game at Standard Liege on Thursday, while his West Ham counterpart Manuel Pellegrini will still be hoping to be in a job by then.
West Ham has gone winless in five home matches, and was only a point above the relegation zone.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports