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EPL Winners and Losers After Monday's 2019 Week 16 Premier League Results

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: manager Freddie Ljungberg of Arsenal FC reaction during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on December 9, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Arsenal collected their first victory after nine games in all competitions without a win, as the Gunners beat West Ham United 3-1 on Monday in the Premier League. 

Freddie Ljungberg's team were forced to come from behind after Angelo Ogbonna gave the Hammers the breakthrough before half-time, but Arsenal blasted three in ten minutes to avoid defeat.

Gabriel Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang impressed in Arsenal's attack, and the trio found the back of the net as West Ham capitulated.

Martinelli's 59th-minute effort was followed by Pepe's blockbuster seven minutes later, and Aubameyang was clinical as he wrapped up the victory after 69 minutes.

Ljungberg needed the win during his interim spell as coach, and his players responded after a poor first half.

             

Winner: Ljungberg

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal embraces Freddie Ljungberg, Interim Manager of Arsenal as he leaves the pitch following an injury during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on December 0
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

After 58 minutes of the match, it appeared West Ham would go on to find a second against Arsenal, but the visitors produced a vintage comeback.

Ljungberg's backline had appeared weak all night long, but the Gunners decided their best form of defence should be attacking at the opposite end.

The Swede appeared dejected after half-time on the bench. However, three stunning goals displayed the promise this Arsenal team contains.

Martinelli was included at the start by the Gunners coach, and the 18-year-old repaid Ljungberg's faith with a composed finish to level the game.

The Brazilian's goal completely changed the atmosphere, and Arsenal's forwards broke down the door as the Hammers retreated.

Pepe was rewarded for a fine display and Aubameyang proved he continues to be one of Europe's elite finishers.

The victory allows Ljungberg room to breathe, but tactical concerns at the back were heightened after injuries to Hector Bellerin, who was hurt in the warm-up, and Kieran Tierney's 30th-minute shoulder knock.

                 

Losers: David Sullivan and David Gold

TOM HEVEZI/Associated Press

West Ham's owners will not have been pleased with how their team collapsed at the London Stadium against an Arsenal side there for the taking.

Manuel Pellegrini's arrival as manager in 2018 provided the Hammers with a world-class manager who has won the Premier League with Manchester City and had coached Real Madrid and River Plate.

David Moyes was given 31 games before being shown the exit for Pellegrini, but after a good start to the season, the manager's future now appears in doubt.

The Hammers are now only a point above the relegation zone. A good first-half performance against Arsenal accounted for little due to the nature of the defeat.

Sullivan and Gold must now decide whether Pellegrini is the right man to take the club forward. Owners are often tempted to make changes ahead of the January transfer window, and Pellegrini's stock has crashed in a short period.

West Ham have won only four Premier League games this term, and change could be the next course of action for the east Londoners.

               

Winner: Pepe

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his sides second goal with Saed Kolasinac during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on December 09, 2019 in London, United Kingd
Julian Finney/Getty Images

After his big-money arrival in the summer, many believed Pepe was the missing part of Unai Emery's attack.

However, after an outstanding season with Lille in France, the winger failed to find his best form before Emery was sacked.

The Ivory Coast international helped Arsenal recover after a bad start on Monday, and the forward appeared confident and transformed.

Pepe provided a glimpse of the explosive talent he possesses. Ljungberg could be the type of coach who gets the best from the 24-year-old.

No one can doubt the talent in the Arsenal attack, but consistency must be on offer in the weeks ahead.

The top-four is still a possibility, but Pepe will need to find the next gear to help his team rampage up the Premier League.

           

Losers: Arsenal's defence

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Angelo Ogbonna of West Ham United celebrates with Robert Snodgrass and team mates after he scores his sides first goal  during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on December 09,
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Gunners fans will have been delighted by their team's response at West Ham, but nothing can disguise how poor Ljungberg's defenders were in the first half.

Ogbonna's opener exposed the depth of defensive issues present at Arsenal, and with nine players in their own penalty area, the visitors could not clear their lines.

A better side would have further punished Arsenal, and Ljungberg has immense problems to solve in defence.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Calum Chambers started at centre-back on Monday, and neither defender will fill Arsenal supporters with confidence.

The Gunners lack a leader at the back. The summer arrival of David Luiz has failed to steady the ship, and it appears Arsenal must enter the transfer market when the January window opens.

Ljungberg will have been pleased by the character provided by his team during their comeback, but he will be having nightmares about the poor fitness and tactical levels of his defensive options.