Written by Mean Lean on Sunday, 07 October 2012 10:14
And there I was worried pre match about West Ham's aerial bombardment, worried about big Samantha and her direct football. Concerned about the lack of height in the Arsenal midfield, well that was all worry for nothing.
Arsenal came from behind to grab a great victory at Upton Park. West Ham stood off us, giving us the ball to use and we punished them for it.
Santi Cazorla was back to his brilliant best yesterday finding that sparkle that had deserted him for the last few weeks. West Ham's decision to drop off and concede possession had a part to play in that. Against Chelsea last week Cazorla was given no time on the ball but against the Hammers, Cazorla was moving all over the pitch, taking only a few touches of the ball with either foot and he was able to influence the game.
West Ham struck first after a well placed pass found Diame in the inside left channel, Aaron Ramsey got a little too tight and was turned, the West Ham midfielder curled over Mannone and into the Arsenal net for his first goal for his new club. It was a wonderful finish but Ramsey will be disappointed with his part in that goal.
Oliver Giroud started his first game since his Carling cup goal and he made it two goals in two starts. Mikel Arteta poked the ball away from goalscorer Diame in midfield and Giroud picked up the pieces, spreading a pass wide to Podolski, it had been another shocking crossing display from Arsenal until that point but I was more than happy to see Podolski go for placement instead of high and over everyone's head.
Giroud's movement as usual was fantastic and his outstretched leg diverted the ball high into the West Ham goal. It reminded me of an Ian Wright type of finish, busting a gut to get in the right area and supply the finish on full stretch. A lot of credit must go to Podolski for finding the right pass.
As expected Andy Carroll won a lot of headers and for the most part it was a contest of who could win the second ball. His mate Kevin Nolan won it once in the first half in a good area but could not direct it goalwards.
Arsenal should have been awarded a penalty which was waved away. Matt Taylor caught Aaron Ramsey's leg in the box but Phil Dowd decided that it was not enough to award a penalty. It was a shambles of a refereeing display by Dowd and to be honest, it is nothing new.
Kieran Gibbs suffered a thigh injury which is a huge shame for the lad as he will now be ruled out of the England squad. He deserved a place in the squad after his performances. Andre Santos will now be given his chance to reclaim his place in the team. Theo Walcott also replaced Gervinho who Wenger described as tired after the match.
With West Ham pushing forward, we caught them on the break in the 77th minute. Cazorla played another one of those reverse passes where nobody can see it until it had been played. Giroud slipped in the darting Walcott who was not about to be caught, and when given the whites of the opposition keepers eyes, there is not many better players in the league in finding the net. His curling finish was simply sublime.
I don't think I've seen him celebrate with so much passion and the rumours of Theo being close to signing a three year deal is very interesting. Although, I wonder if it is agent placed. Time will tell.
Kevin Nolan had an excellent chance to level only two minutes later when his left footed shot sailed over Mannone's bar.
The left foot of Santiago Cazorla is another level altogether. It was only last week that I was bemoaning the frequency of the little man's shooting only for him to pull out a thunderbolt with his 'weaker' foot. Walcott jinked inside and poked the ball to Cazorla who let fly high across Jussi Jääskeläinen and into the West Ham goal. It was a goal that the Spaniard had fully deserved.I sure hope that a few more of his shots find the target.
That is how it stayed. A tightly contested game but moments of quality from Walcott and Cazorla. Walcott's finishing and speed are quality and if he can understand that he can get into many goalscoring positions from the right and sign what is on offer then he can be a real asset to this team.
Special mentions to Aaron Ramsey who produced another box to box display of real quality. He will be disappointed with the goal that we conceded but the amount of energy he puts into performances is unreal. With Diaby out and Jack still some way from starting for the first team, perhaps Aaron can grab this opportunity. More displays like this and against Manchester City and he will be very difficult to force out of the side.
Carl Jenkinson was once again on top form, Bacary Sagna's consistency seems to have rubbed off on him. But rather than stand out performances, it was a very good all round display so each of the players deserves credit.
It was certainly a good day for the Arsenal new boys. Giroud and Cazorla both scoring and Podolski making an assist with a great cross. Arsene now has a real headache for the central striking position.
Three more points on the board, a nice place to be before the Internationals.
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