Mikel Arteta praised the determination of Alexandre Lacazette to come off the bench and earn Arsenal a hard-fought victory over West Ham.
The Hammers had spurned a number of fine chances before Lacazette hit the only goal of the game 12 minutes from the end.
The France striker has now scored all seven of his Premier League goals at the Emirates Stadium this season – but he was made to celebrate his match-winning contribution as a lengthy VAR check overruled the initial decision to rule out his effort for offside.
The victory means Arsenal have racked up three consecutive league wins for the first time in over a year and Arteta was pleased with the impact of Lacazette, who has had to play second-fiddle to Eddie Nketiah of late.
“Well, I have two strikers at the moment and they are making life difficult for me but at the same time it is very good,” he said.
“They are both scoring, both in a good moment. I decided to play Eddie today for the defenders they had and the gameplan we had, but knowing that Laca, if we needed a goal in the final moments, he was always ready to do that.
“I saw straight away, when I was talking to him and giving him instructions on the touchline, he was alert and focused and I could see he was really determined to go out there and score the goal that he did.”
Arteta saw VAR rule in favour of Arsenal for the first time this season as Sian Massey-Ellis’ decision to flag for offside, with the check deeming Angelo Ogbonna was playing Mesut Ozil onside.
“When the goal was disallowed I thought ‘okay that’s fine’,” added Arteta.
“Then my staff came from the bench and said ‘it’s a goal’. But then it try for two or three minutes I don’t know how long, then I wasn’t very positive about the outcome. I am very pleased with the VAR tonight.”
West Ham were unchanged from their victory over Southampton last weekend and created plenty of chances to win the game.
Michail Antonio was guilty of turning a close-range opportunity wide before seeing a free header kept out by Bernd Leno – who impressed in the Arsenal goal.
The result leaves West Ham outside the bottom three by virtue of goal difference, with manager David Moyes bemoaning their lack of cutting edge.
“We didn’t deserve to lose it,” he said.
“In recent weeks we have made mistakes defensively that have cost us but today our mistakes came in that we didn’t take the chances when we had them.
“That would be the disappointment but apart from that I thought the players did a great job, played very well and made several good chances but we couldn’t convert them today.
“I’m pleased to say well done but I’m not going to keep saying well done until we start getting points – I’d nearly rather start playing not so well and winning because we need the points.”