Almost dashed: Arsenal’s title hopes look all but over after 3-3 derby draw with West Ham
Andy Carroll hits an eight-minute hat-trick for the Hammers in the pulsating Premier League clash, while Villa are on the brink of being relegated for the first time in 29 years
Andy Carroll scored an eight-minute hat-trick as West Ham United’s last London derby at Upton Park ended in a barnstorming 3-3 draw with Arsenal on Saturday – a result that dented both club’s respective ambitions.
Third-placed Arsenal led 2-0 after 35 minutes but were rocked by a ferocious West Ham fightback and although they scrambled a point thanks to Laurent Koscielny, their Premier League title hopes look all but over.
They are now 10 points behind leaders Leicester, who play away to Sunderland on Sunday, with six matches left.
“Do we still have an opportunity to win the title? I don’t know,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “We made it more difficult today.”
“I’m not here after the game to blame the players. We are disappointed to concede three goals. Particularly after 2-1. Overall it’s a shame.”
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic had high praise for Andy Carroll. “He has everything. It’s impossible to stop him.
“His work rate, watch how many times he tried to get the ball off them. He was keeping the ball, laying it off. Heading, he’s maybe the best in the world. He has to stay away from those injuries.”
Arsenal had an early let-off when Manuel Lanzini’s goal was wrongly disallowed for offside and took advantage when Mesut Ozil fired home from Alex Iwobi’s astute pass.
Alexis Sanchez finished off a slick passing move to make it 2-0 to the Gunners after 35 minutes.
Undaunted, West Ham were level before the break thanks to a devastating burst from Carroll.
First he met Aaron Cresswell’s cross with a thumping header which gave David Ospina no chance and then in stoppage time he acrobatically volleyed into the corner.
West Ham swarmed forward at the start of the second half, having a Dimitri Payet effort ruled out before Carroll headed in Michail Antonio’s cross.
Nacho Monreal’s shot was hacked off the line by Lanzini but Arsenal levelled after 70 minutes when some intricate passing ended with Danny Welbeck flicking the ball to Koscielny who stabbed a shot high past Adrian.
Sanchez could have won it for Arsenal while the superb Payet reduced Arsenal’s defence to nervous jitters but neither side could claim maximum points.
West Ham equalled a club record with a 14th successive home game without defeat, but their hopes of celebrating their move to the Olympic Stadium after more than a century at Upton Park by qualifying for the Champions League are receding after three consecutive draws.
Aston Villa are on the brink of being relegated for the first time in 29 years after the Premier League’s bottom club slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Eric Black’s side were condemned to their eighth successive defeat by goals in either half from Steve Cook and Josh King as the atmosphere turned mutinous at Villa Park.
Jordan Ayew’s late strike was no consolation and although Villa were spared official confirmation of their drop into the second tier because fourth bottom Norwich were beaten by Crystal Palace, their fate is likely to be sealed at Manchester United next weekend.
Aston Villa caretaker boss Eric Black told BBC Sport: “Not going down today is a small consolation. I was happy with the energy and desire to do what we asked them to do.
“We’ve conceded poorish goals, but we have to remain professional until the end. Come Monday morning we have to dust ourselves down and go again.”
Crystal Palace collected their first win of 2016 by beating Norwich 1-0, boosting its hopes of preserving their top-flight status and keeping last-place Villa up for at least another week.
Jason Puncheon curled home a shot into the far corner for a 68th-minute winner as Palace ended their winless run of 14 games, stretching back to December 19, and moved 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
Struggling Newcastle put in another lacklustre performance as Southampton easily won their English Premier League match 3-1.
An early goal from Shane Long in the 4th minute set the tone in a match in which Newcastle failed to make much impact.
Graziano Pelle and Victor Wanyama added the second and third goals in the 38th and 55th minutes respectively to condemn Newcastle to its eighth straight away defeat. Newcastle’s Andros Townsend scored a fine consolation goal on 65 minutes, but it did nothing to alter his side’s fortunes.
Chelsea experienced their first English Premier League defeat under interim manager Guus Hiddink in a 1-0 loss against Swansea.
The only goal came in the 26th minute, with a fine volley by Gylfi Sigurdsson after Jefferson Montero’s run.
On-loan Chelsea striker Alexandre Pato had the ball in the net early in the second half, but it was disallowed as the striker was penalised for handball in the build-up.