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West Ham 0 Arsenal 1 By Jim van Wijk PA Sport
Premier League leaders Arsenal maintained their superb start to the season with a hard-earned 1-0 win at West Ham.
Robin van Persie's close-range header on 13 minutes proved enough for an eighth straight victory.
West Ham, though, had their chances - the best of which fell to England hopeful Dean Ashton - but they also were indebted to keeper Rob Green, who made a string a fine saves.
The Hammers have performed well against Arsenal in recent meetings - winning both games last season as they escaped the drop.
However, the Gunners are currently in blistering form and again started brightly.
Inside the opening two minutes Arsenal broke quickly down the left, with Abou Diaby cutting the ball back to Emmanuel Adebayor, who drilled a low shot just wide from 15 yards.
West Ham, though, soon rallied and former Gunner Freddie Ljungberg was unfortunate to be flagged offside when collecting a quick backheel from Ashton on the edge of the Arsenal box.
The England hopeful was then sent clear himself, only to again be called up by the referee's assistant on the far side.
Ashton was leading the West Ham line with plenty of aggression, and turned to drill a 20-yard shot just over.
Arsenal, though, were ahead on 13 minutes as Adebayor held the ball up well on the right side of the area and fed a pass out to Alexander Hleb.
His centre flew across the six-yard box, where van Persie arrived at the far post to glance a header past Green, who was at full stretch and could only push the ball onto the post and in.
The goal silenced the home crowd, and after such a positive start the Hammers suddenly looked disjointed.
As the half-hour approached, West Ham were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men following an X-rated challenge by Mark Noble on Hleb.
The Belarus midfielder, just back from a knee problem, had to be carried off with what looked like a similar injury and was replaced by Emmanuel Eboue.
Arsenal were incensed but referee Alan Wiley deemed a yellow card sufficient punishment.
West Ham continued to try to take the match to Arsenal, but the visitors were playing with a high defensive line and used the offside trap well.
When the hosts did get in behind The Gunners defence, they could not find a telling cross into the danger zone.
At the other end, Lee Bowyer was penalised for handball just outside the area on the right.
Mathieu Flamini tried his luck with a low, 20-yard strike which the West Ham keeper got down well to stop.
The hosts replaced Scott Parker, who looked to have picked up a knock, at the restart and were then quickly forced into another change when Anton Ferdinand hobbled off and Danny Gabbidon came on.
Van Persie came within inches of putting the visitors 2-0 ahead on 54 minutes.
The Dutchman sidestepped marker Gabbidon on the edge of the area, and drilled his shot towards the top left-hand corner.
Green was again at full stretch and got his fingertips to the ball, which this time bounced back off the post and away.
Moments later it should have been 1-1 after Bowyer chipped the ball into the area from the right. Ashton had timed his run perfectly to get a free header at the back post, only to then put it straight at a grateful Manuel Almunia.
This was a good spell for West Ham, Ljungberg did get the ball into the net when he collected Henri Camara's slide pass - but was flagged offside in what looked a marginal call.
However, Arsenal were dangerous on the break as Van Persie and Adebayor exchanged passes on the edge of the West Ham box, which sent the Togo striker clear and Green came to the rescue with a fine reaction save low to his left.
Arsenal full-back Gael Clichy was the next man to force a good save from Green, the England international again at full stretch to turn the ball behind.
The Gunners made a change with 12 minutes left when Gilberto replaced Adebayor, who looked to have a dead leg, before Green once more pushed a goal-bound strike behind, this time from Flamini.
Van Persie booted a downward header from Ashton clear in front of his own net as the Gunners closed out the match - including four minutes of stoppage time - to stay ahead of the chasing pack.
West Ham Green, Neill, Ferdinand (Gabbidon 48), Upson,McCartney, Bowyer (Boa Morte 83), Parker (Mullins 46), Noble,Ljungberg, Ashton, Camara.
Subs Not Used: Wright, Cole.
Booked: Bowyer, Noble.
Arsenal Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Senderos, Clichy,Hleb (Eboue 31), Fabregas, Flamini, Diaby, Adebayor (Silva 79),Van Persie (Bendtner 88).
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Denilson.
Booked: Flamini, Eboue.
Goals: Van Persie 13.
Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).