Bukayo Saka hailed Arsenal’s thrashing of West Ham on Sunday as a “statement” win in their title challenge.
Having seen rivals Liverpool and Manchester City win a day earlier, the Gunners ensured the gap at the top remained at two points as they recorded their biggest Premier League away win with a 6-0 victory at the London Stadium.
Saka scored twice, including a penalty having missed a crucial spot-kick in the same game last season, while William Saliba, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Magalhaes and former West Ham captain Declan Rice completed the rout.
It was one of the most eye-catching performances of Mikel Arteta’s reign as Arsenal boss and Saka feels it also sent a message to those in the title race.
“We knew this was a big game and it was really important for us to win and make a statement,” he said.
“I think we did really well today scoring six and keeping a clean sheet.”
Saka’s penalty saw him move to 50 goals for Arsenal and he now has 10 goals and seven assists in the league this season.
Our biggest-ever Premier League away win 🙌 pic.twitter.com/IZ14z0P098
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 11, 2024
“Of course I have my own targets,” he added.
“I know these days the media like to compare players. I just stay in my own lane and stay focused on what I want to achieve and what I wanted to achieve at the start of the season. I’m still going and I’ve got quite a few more to go.”
Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard may not have been among the scorers but he was arguably the best player on the pitch, setting up two goals and running the show in midfield.
“It was a really good game and strong performance,” he said.
“I think coming from a big game, a big win, and to come here and back it up with this performance is a brilliant sign.
“When you go three or four nil up, it’s easy to drop a little bit, but we just kept on going and wanted more. That’s why I really liked (the performance).”
For West Ham, this was a record home Premier League defeat and means they are without a victory since beating Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in December.
Swathes of supporters made for the exits before half-time on Sunday and midfielder James Ward-Prowse admits the Hammers were not at the required level and need to bounce back.
“We can all accept losing a game, that happens in football, but I think the way you lose is important and the most disappointing thing is the way we lost the game,” he told the club’s official website.
“I don’t feel like we competed anywhere near the level you need to in the Premier League.
“Of course, they’re a top team who are challenging for the title, but I think they showed us today the level and the detail that you need to win games.
“I can stand here and give a message and try and say something, but I’ve been a football fan myself and no words could rectify the performance.
“I think it’s all about showing, competing, and giving a bit more than what we did today. I can stand here and say something, but I know as a fan you want to see something on the pitch.”