Arsenal 3 - 1 West Ham
The top four race was hotting up, and Arsenal were in desperate need of points in order to catch Everton.
They welcomed West Ham to the Emirates, but in the first half, it was The Hammers that looked more at home.
West Ham weren’t creating much, but they were containing Arsenal extremely easily, as Andy Carroll go to work on bullying the Arsenal defence. The Gunners looked uninterested - again.
As a result, it wasn’t too much of a surprise when Arsenal conceded in the fortieth minute. Nocerino got down the right flank and got the ball in the box, which eventually dropped for Jarvis to nod it home from close range.
Thankfully, Arsenal hit back within five minutes, just before the half time whistle.
Santi Cazorla played in a delightful ball to Lukas Podolski inside the area, who turned his marker well and smashed the ball across goal and into the bottom corner. It was an emphatic finish, and just what Arsenal needed going into half time.
The second half saw Arsenal improve their play.
Giroud lost his man and produced a first touch which even Dennis Bergkamp would be proud of…
Santi Cazorla - for the first time in weeks - was really imposing himself on the game, creating chances and looking lively. Unfortunately, wih Chamberlain and Ramsey both nursing minor injuries onthe bench, there weren’t many forward runs to work with.
However, a moment of magic brought about Arsenal’s second. Vermaelen played in a beautifully lofted ball into the box, where Giroud lost his man and produced a first touch which even Dennis Bergkamp would be proud of. He followed it up with a powerful strike between the Goalkeeper’s legs, putting Arsenal ahead.
Arsenal then went from strength to strength. Ramsey came on to replace Rosicky, and the gae changed for the better. The Welshman was making runs forward and getting Arsenal into good positions.
When the final whistle blew, they were back in the top four. For the time being at least.
In the seventy-eighth minute, Podolski grabbed his second. Ramsey, Cazorla and Giroud all linked up well around the box, before Giroud crossed to Ramsey on the edge of the box.
Aaron instinctively headed the ball beautifully into Podolski’s path, and the German smashed it into the roof of the net with ease. It was a stunning goal.
The rest of the game was played out easily for The Gunners, and when the final whistle blew, they were back in the top four. For the time being at least.
Arsenal Player Ratings
Did he even play? Apart from the goal, which he couldn’t do much about, he had pretty much nothing to do.
Defended well and got forward quite often to help out up top. Wasn’t really tested much.
Steady game from Per. Was probably the only defender not being bullied by Carroll in the opening few minutes, for obvious reasons.
No errors, but didn’t have much to do either. Good to have him back in the side.
Didn’t get forward as often as I would have liked, but he did brilliantly overall. Solid at the back, put in one or two good crosses, and got a beautiful assist for Giroud.
Arteta’s days at the heart of Arsenal’s midfield are numbered. Although I like his style, he’s simply getting too slow - physically and mentally. Vision not as good as it used to be either. Still, played relatively okay.
Cazorla: [8.5/10] - MOTM
What a performance. Santi was energetic, creative and positive - precisely what he’d been missing in recent weeks. He assisted Podolski’s first goal, and played a good part in the German’s second too. Ran the game.
Apart from his goal, Lukas was not in the game at all in the first half. However, he came alive a little more in the second half, ran at defenders and got yet another stunning goal.
Not a great game by Tomas’ standard. Looked lethargic, passing wasn’t great and didn’t track back particularly well.
From what little I’ve seen from Kim, this was a poor game from him. Passing was very poor, and his tackling wasn’t spot on either.
A poor first half, but his second half goal was truly magnificent. The first touch. Wow. I could write a blog post just on that split-second event alone. His finish was also great, and he played a good part in Podolski’s second too.
Came on, injected energy, got forward and set up Podolski with a superbly executed cushioned header.
Aha! Pod Brace Wins It
Tonight was Podolski’s night, which makes a pleasant change. He took both of his goals very well, despite being slightly anonymous at times.
Cazorla was the real mastermind though. He was weaving past players, pinging passes, creating and looking sharp. We need to see more of that on a regular basis. Our fourth place position depends on it.
The Gunners currently sit fourth, but Everton have a game in hand which they play tomorrow against Crystal Palace. Let’s hope they slip up - because we really need them to.