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Arsenal gather momentum after Danny Welbeck secures win at West Ham

This was a result to suggest normal service is being resumed in the clutter below the title race. Arsenal may be patched up and makeshift, a team depleted by injuries to key personnel, but they are inching inexorably back towards familiar territory. West Ham had been a refreshing and worthy presence in the top five but they have been usurped. Only goal difference is keeping Arsène Wenger’s team out of the Champions League places.

That can be addressed on New Year’s Day when another of this season’s success stories, Southampton, are confronted at St Mary’s, but the sense is Arsenal are reimposing themselves on the pack. Every other member of the top seven dropped points on Sunday and this is a seventh win in nine games in all competitions, a revival that has almost gone unnoticed with the focus instead drawn to the deficiencies exposed in defeat at Stoke and the draw at Liverpool amongst that sequence of successes. Nine consecutive wins against these opponents says otherwise but triumphing at Upton Park is no mean feat these days. “A solid, combative and united performance from first to last,” said Wenger. “It was more a fight today than a creative game but you need that sometimes.”

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