Arsenal 5 (Podolski 22, Giroud 47, Cazorla 53, Walcott 54, Giroud 57) – West Ham United 1 (Collison 22)
Man of the Match – Lukas Podolski (Arsenal)
Apologies for yet another Saturday review, of a Wednesday game. Work and study commitments have really put Arsenal and blogging into the metaphorical background. I have still managed to sit up and watch Arsenal games, however late in the night they may be!
Wednesday’s encounter bought back some really great memories of watching the Arsenal of old, in full flow. Quick, pacy attacks, with some mesmerizing ball skills, and a glut of goals to show for it.
Arsenal went into the game, with a poor run of form, having won only 1 game this year, the 1-0 win over Swansea in the FA Cup. Several injuries to Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky, Francis Coquelin and Abou Diaby meant there was a shuffling of cards, and Aaron Ramsey was handed a start along side regulars Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere. Up front was the trio of Walcott, Giroud and Podolski.
West Ham, who were, incidentally, the first side to win at West Ham, when the escaped with a 1-0 win (I remember it because Arsenal had 26 shots on goal, and Rob Green had a blinder), looked to repeat the scoreline, as they took the lead, through young Welsh midfielder Jack Collison, as he smashed home a fine half-volley past a hapless Szczesny.
However, 4 minutes later, Arsenal were level. Wilshere, in tremendous touch, found Podolski, who blasted a left-footed screamer home. It was the German’s 11th goal in all competitions.
Arsenal continued to dominate the rest of the half, with Walcott’s cross being cleared by James Tomkins. Arsenal were playing some slick stuff, and Podolski saw his effort hacked away by Joey O’Brien off the line.
Arsenal, were however, almost left exposed at the back, when Carlton Cole managed to escape the attention’s of Arsenal defenders, but saw his shot cleared off the line by Aaron Ramsey, who managed to injure his own captain Thomas Vermaelen, in the process.
Arsenal went into the first half break, clearly in the ascendancy, but with only level scores to show for it. West Ham, were just relieved to go into the break.
The second half, was a different story, though, as the Gunners destroyed West Ham in 12 minutes of scintillating football. Just over a minute into the half, Walcott’s corner was stabbed home by Giroud, who pulled away from a crowd of defenders.
6 minutes later, the three new signings linked up to score the 3rd. Giroud played, his now customary lob over the defence, which in the past assisted Podolski against Montpellier, and Gibbs against Swansea; into the path of Podolski, who poked it towards the path of Cazorla. The Spaniard, under pressure from a defender, cheekily back heeled the ball into the goal.
Arsenal seemed to be scoring with every attack they conjured, as Walcott rifled home Podolski cross from the left. Podolski proved to be a real menace, as he collected his 3rd assist of the evening, when his cross was deftly finished by Giroud, in what looked like a poacher’s finish.
When it seemed like the Gunners could rack up a cricket score, well, it stopped. Arsenal slowed down, despite looking dangerous, whenever they got forward. Walcott managed to get past the defence a few times, but failed to test the keeper.
Thomas Vermaelen, who seemed to be hobbling, was bought off, and replaced by Laurent Koscielny, as he handed the armband to Jack Wilshere. Fitting!
There was a break in play for nearly 10 minutes, in the second half, when Daniel Potts fell in a heap, after a collision of heads. He was roundly applauded around the stadium. He is now recovering in the hospital.
West Ham played the remaining normal time, and an extra time of 10 minutes, with just 10 minutes, but the Gunners failed to add on to the goals, with Chamberlain and Cazorla going close with their shots.
Plenty of positives of course. A win breeds confidence, and the team really needed one, after a mixed start to the year. Nothing better than putting 5 goals past another side.
I think it was a strong defensive performance, nothing much really to speak about. In midfield, Aaron Ramsey was impressive. He played a bit deep, and I thought he had a really good game. There was no complicated frustrating stuff, like backheels and all of that. He kept the game as simple as he could.
Cazorla and Wilshere had good games as well, though fatigue may be catching up on the former. Podolski was at his scintillating best, and you have to wonder why he doesn’t do it more regularly. He bossed the left flank, and was impressive all over really.
Giroud scored two good goals, and slowly but surely he is bedding in. Of course, his video of misses is longer than his video of goals, but he gave a good account of himself. Walcott, displayed some good pace, and seemed to be playing just off Giroud. Infact they interchanged positions far too often, offering more versatility up front. Promising stuff.
So, a win keeps us in 6th, and there is still work to do. This win means nothing really. It is time, we start pushing up the table!
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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