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BBC Sport's Ian Brown
"It was shoddy West Ham defending"
 real 14k

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"We had a nightmare last Sunday but we reacted well"
 real 56k

West Ham manager Harry Redknapp
"I came here with no team today"
 real 56k

Saturday, 3 March, 2001, 16:56 GMT
Wiltord treble sinks Hammers
Wiltord:
Wiltord: Hit a stunning hat-trick to nail the Hammers
Arsenal 3-0 West Ham

Arsenal proved there is life after Manchester United with a resounding victory over West Ham at Highbury.

The hero of the hour was Frenchman Sylvain Wiltord, who fired a stunning hat-trick to bring the Gunners within 14 points of leaders Manchester United.

Arsene Wenger's side were boosted by the return of skipper Tony Adams and full-back Lee Dixon to shore up their defence, which leaked six goals at Old Trafford last Sunday.

The changes in personnel seemed to do the trick as the Gunners made the perfect start, scoring with just six minutes played after a mistake from former England international Stuart Pearce.

  Key moments
6 mins: Wiltord fires Gunners in front
13 mins: Wiltord hammers home number two
27 mins: Pearce booked
39 mins: Wiltord completes his hat-trick
51 mins: Bergkamp shoots inches over
79 mins: Edu shot well saved

The veteran defender headed straight to the feet of Robert Pires, allowing the Frenchman to slip the ball through to Wiltord who slotted a well-placed shot past Hislop.

West Ham were struggling to contend with an Arsenal side anxious to erase memories of their humiliation at the hands of title rivals Man Utd.


Wiltord looks to have settled into English football now because he was sharp and purposeful against West Ham and linked up well with the rest of the team
  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal struck again in the 13th minute and, once more, the hapless Pearce paid an unwitting part in the Frenchman's second goal.

Dixon lofted a 40-yard ball into the Hammers penalty area. Wiltord controlled the ball sublimely, bamboozling Pearce before curling a left foot shot beyond the stretching Shaka Hislop.

Neat pass

It seemed only a matter of time before the hosts moved three in front. Bergkamp, Pires and the brilliant Wiltord were all constantly probing and the inevitable goal arrived with six minutes of the first half remaining.

This time, Ljungberg was the provider. The Swede sent Wiltord clear with a neat through-ball and the former Bordeaux striker raced on to clip the ball under Hislop to snatch his 11th goal of the season.

Lauren/Pearce
Lauren battles with Pearce
The second half was more a damage limitation exercise for the under-strength West Ham side.

The Arsenal troops continued to pour forward, with Bergkamp twice going close and Ljungberg inches from glory with a low drive from 25-yards out.

West Ham's day was perhaps summed up by their Norwegian signing Ragnvald Soma.


I'm not saying we would have beaten Arsenal with our best team but I pretty well knew it was all over before half-time
  West Ham manager Harry Redknapp
In a rare venture into enemy territory, the 800,00 signing blasted a 30-yard shot out of the stadium, much to the delight of the Gunners faithful.

The win leaves Arsenal in a strong position in their push for a Champions League place.

However, the dreaded "R" word might soon be banned from the Upton Park terraces if they continue to struggle in the league.

After Saturday's results, Harry Redknapp's side now sit in 13th place, just nine points clear of the drop zone.

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Cole, Adams, Grimandi, Ljungberg, Vieira, Lauren, Pires, Bergkamp, Wiltord. Subs: Manninger, Henry, Edu, Vivas, Kanu.

West Ham: Hislop, Stuart Pearce, Stimac, Dailly, Song, Winterburn, Lampard, Soma, Schemmel, Suker, Diawara. Subs: Ian Pearce, Tihinen, Camara, Bywater, Todorov.

Referee: M Riley (Leeds)

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03 Mar 01 |  Eng Prem
Leeds earn Man Utd draw
03 Mar 01 |  Eng Prem
Strupar scuppers Spurs
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