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 Monday, 27 January, 2003, 12:54 GMT
Henry destroys Hammers
Thierry Henry is repelled by West Ham keeper David James
Henry beat an inspired James three times at Highbury
Arsenal 3-1 West Ham

Thierry Henry broke West Ham hearts with a hat-trick in Arsenal's convincing victory at Highbury.

Henry put Arsenal in front from the penalty spot after Steve Lomas slightly tugged Robert Pires in the area.

Lomas was harshly sent off for the foul, but West Ham were gifted an equaliser when Jermain Defoe pounced on a weak Edu back-pass and clinically finished.

KEY MOMENTS
14 mins: Lomas is sent-off and Henry scores from the penalty
40 mins: Edu back-pass allows Defoe to equalise
71 mins: Henry heads Arsenal back in front
86 mins: Henry grabs his hat-trick

Henry headed home a Dennis Bergkamp cross for Arsenal's crucial second.

But the Hammers were furious that the referee did not stop play for a foul by the Dutchman on Lee Bowyer before he delivered the ball into the area.

Henry wrapped up the win with a late third to restore Arsenal's five-point lead at the top of the Premiership.

West Ham will feel hard done by after keeper David James' heroics and some last-ditch defending.

But they were given an uphill task after just 13 minutes, Bergkamp's exquisite one-touch pass turning the game in favour of the Highbury outfit.

The Dutchman put Pires through on goal and he went down under what seemed minimal contact by Lomas.

Steve Lomas is sent-off by referee Mike Dean
Lomas sees red for West Ham

Referee Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot and applied the letter of the law by red-carding Lomas for a professional foul.

Henry confidently put the penalty away and West Ham did themselves no favours when they almost allowed the French striker to add a second after a weak back-pass.

But keeper James saved for the Hammers and did well again shortly afterwards when he again denied Henry.

Just when it seemed Arsenal would stroll to victory, the Hammers were gifted an equaliser.

A tame back-pass from Edu found Defoe and he shot first time past Gunners keeper David Seaman.

An inspired James kept out Sylvain Wiltord and West Ham's much-maligned defence grew in confidence the longer they kept Arsenal at bay.

But Bergkamp crossed when West Ham felt he had fouled Bowyer and Henry nodded Arsenal ahead again.

He coolly finished late on for a third and his hat-trick.


Arsenal: Seaman, Lauren, Keown, Campbell, van Bronckhorst, Wiltord (Jeffers 87), Silva, Edu (Parlour 68), Pires, Henry, Bergkamp (Luzhny 87).
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Toure.

Booked: Bergkamp, Lauren, Parlour.

West Ham: James, Breen, Pearce, Dailly, Winterburn (Minto 82), Bowyer, Lomas, Cisse (Moncur 85), Sinclair, Cole, Defoe.
Subs Not Used: Hutchison, Van Der Gouw, Johnson.

Sent Off: Lomas (13).
Booked: Breen.

Attendance: 38,053

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton
"The complexion was changed by the red card"
 Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"It's positive we cope with the pressure of playing on Sunday"
 West Ham boss Glen Roeder
"I'm delighted with our spirit - we deserved more"
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