Nicolas gives Arsenal much needed Pepe!

Gunners win at last to increase pressure on West Ham

GUNNER BE GOOD: Nicolas Pepe (left) in joyful mood after his stunning goal

FREDDIE LJUNGBERG claimed his first victory as Arsenal’s interim head coach following a second-half comeback at West Ham.

The Gunners were a goal down at the interval and looked typically undercooked until three goals in nine minutes halted their dismal run of results.

To begin, Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli grabbed his first Premier League goal on his first Premier League start before Nicolas Pepe plundered his first goal from open play in Arsenal colours.

The third, however, came from the familiar source of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who made a rare start in his favoured central position.

Alexandre Lacazette dropped to the bench and Calum Chambers came in to replace David Luiz as Ljungberg sought to address Thursday’s embarrassing home defeat to Brighton.

It was brave from the Swede, not that he had much to cheer for the first hour.

There was a double injury blow, with Hector Bellerin succumbing during the warm-up and Kieran Tierney slinking off having jarred his shoulder before half an hour had been played.

Arsenal failed to test David Martin during the opening 45 minutes and did not surprise regular observers when they fell behind to West Ham’s first effort on target on 38 minutes.

Aaron Cresswell earned a corner on the left and, following a spot of penalty box pinball, Angelo Ogbonna got the run on the Arsenal defence to head the ball home off the back of an unfortunate Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who had replaced Bellerin in the starting XI.

West Ham spurned chances to double their lead after the interval and were soon punished for their wastefulness.

In the 60th minute, Sokratis forwarded the ball to Lucas Torreira, whose raking right-footed pass released Sead Kolasinac down the left. The Bosnian, starting due to that injury to Bellerin, squared the ball to Martinelli, who opened up his body to angle a finish beyond Martin.

West Ham were not helped by Cresswell limping off after 51 minutes and his replacement, Arthur Masuaku, was a less than able replacement.

Pepe finally sniffed blood. Six minutes later he received the ball from Aubameyang on the edge of West Ham penalty box. He dropped a shoulder to lose Masuaku and turned inside to curl a sublime shot inside the far post.

The roles were soon reversed as when Pepe picked out the advancing Aubameyang with a ball that invited the Gabonese to launch a bicycle kick that powered the ball beyond the grasp of Martin, who got a hand to it but could not prevent the goal.

West Ham never recovered from that blitz and played out the final stages to a rapidly emptying stadium.

Ljungberg, mindful of his team’s notable limitations, hopes his side have turned the corner with their first league win since early October, but is equally aware of their daunting December fixture list.

Wider attentions also return to the job security of Manuel Pellegrini, with West Ham sitting one point above the relegation zone having won just one of their last 11 matches.

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