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The Gunners have managed to get their Premier league campaign back on track after securing a come-back win against the Hammers away from the Emirates. The Hammers took the lead through Diame against the run of play, but the Gunners rallied and equalised through Oliver Giroud and subsequently won the match after a cool finish from Theo Walcott and a screamer from Santi Cazorla.
While on paper the victory would seem to look somewhat comfortable, it was far from it with West Ham giving Arsenal an extremely tough match. Their physical, direct and aerial approach certainly looked to have caused the Gunners problems, particularly with Englishman Andy Carroll winning absolutely everything that came near him in the air.
It was very much a game of contrasting styles and while Arsenal had large spells of possession, West Ham countered this by sitting deep with a compact formation. In the opening exchanges this seemed to have paid dividends for the Hammers, with Arsenal unable to break down their defence despite a clear dominance in midfield.
After soaking up so much pressure, the Hammers got their reward after Diame picked up the ball on the left in a rare attack, skinned Ramsey and brilliantly finished with Mertesacker nowhere to be seen. While Ramsey did make a poor challenge, Mertesacker was equally at fault after failing to come across and cover the Welshman.
With Arsenal unable to penetrate the Hammers’ defence when it had been set, the Gunners found success just before half-time through a counter-attack with the Hammers defence far from settled. Giroud picked up the ball in midfield after a great tackle by Arteta and provided a sweeping ball out wide to Podolski. The German charged forward and put in a low cross, which was met by charging Giroud at the near post, tipping it into the goal to record his first Premier League goal.
Cue half-time where shortly after the re-start Gibbs was subbed of after sustaining an injury and Walcott came on to replace the quiet Gervinho. Thereafter the game became an end-to-end affair. West Ham certainly had their chances through their direct aerial approach and so did Arsenal through their quick counter-attacks.
In what turned out to be a bit of an arm wrestle, Arsenal secured the upper hand through a fast breaking counter-attack. Cazorla picked up the ball deep in our own area and got the ball rolling after providing a great pass to Giroud in the centre of the field. The Frenchman subsequently provided a great through-ball to Walcott who slotted the ball passed Jaaskelainen with great composure and precision.
The game continued to be an open affair, certainly not what Arsenal wanted with a one goal lead. Cue Santi Cazorla to seal the points and quash any ideas of a comeback. The little Spaniard picked up the ball 25-yards out from goal and produced the sweetest of strikes to leave Jaaskelainen clueless. There was only one side from that point onward. Maximum points for Arsenal and now the international break!
on Theo Walcott is a centre forward…
He slowly gets there. You’re confident now when he gets in front of goal that he will score. Of course he scored an important one today at a moment where the game was a bit 50-50.
on the performance…
We weakened a bit physically in the second half but overall it was a very important test for us today. We expected a difficult game. We were not disappointed – a game with a lot of pace, where both teams went for it in different styles. It was a good test mentally as well, because we went 1-0 down with their first shot on goal. We came back and won this game. You could say that we had a good performance today overall.
on Olivier Giroud’s goal…
In similar situations he nearly scored like that against Olympiacos on Wednesday night. He was good today. He had the physical presence and scored the goal. That will help him a lot I think to adapt very quickly.
on Santi Cazorla…
I think he was overall a delight to watch, from the first to the last minute today. He was very influential in our team and it’s fantastic to watch him play.
on coping with Andy Carroll…
You never can completely control Carroll for 90 minutes. You have to fight for him and be good on the second ball. The problem with West Ham is not only Carroll, but is [also] Nolan on the second ball in the box. We could have been punished once or twice but overall we gave it all to deal well with him. He [Carroll] was really up for it I must say. He did fight from the first to the last minute.
on good momentum going into international break…
It was important for us to respond well and after our defeat against Chelsea, we won against Olympiacos on Wednesday night. We had a difficult game three days later and we knew today a draw was not good enough for us. We went for it. I think we could have lost it as well because Nolan had a very good chance, but we gave absolutely everything to win the game.
Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermaelen (c) Gibbs
Gervinho Cazorla Podolski
Vito Mannone | 6.0: A decent performance by the Italian who make a few good saves. Looked uneasy when coming off his line, which was no more evident then when he gifted Andy Carroll a free header on goal after failing to punch the ball in the air.
Carl Jenkinson | 6.5: The young up-and-comer is really starting to show some consistency with another solid performance. Got forward well and defended when needed, never really being caught out of position.
Per Mertesacker | 6.5: No real match for Carroll in the air and was nowhere to be seen when Diame got the better of Ramsey for the opening goal. Although in saying this the German made a great last-man tackle and was very comfortable distributing the ball from the back.
Thomas Vermaelen | 6.5: Was up to almost everything that West Ham could muster along the ground, but found life difficult trying to compete with Carroll in the air.
Kieran Gibbs | 6.0: The youngster had somewhat of an off day, having his usual forward prowess but wasting opportunities in the final third with very poor crossing and also being caught out of position at times. Picked up an injury early in the second half. (56′)
Aaron Ramsey | 7.0: Was definitely involved and proved to be full of running and willing to challenge for the ball. Was very tidy in midfield without being overly impressive.
Mikel Arteta | 7.0: Mr. consistency has done it again. Superb passing accuracy and a number of key tackles in his new-found deeper position in midfield.
Santi Cazorla | 8.0: Possibly not as influential as previous games, but another superb display from the Spaniard. Provided a number of classy passes, particularly his through ball for Giroud late on. Also produced a wonder-strike to kill the game off.
Gervinho | 5.0: The Ivorian was never really involved today and was absent for long spells in the match. Was correctly substituted for Walcott in the second half. (61′)
Giroud | 8.0: The Frechman deserved his goal today after spreading the ball out wide to Podolski and then busting a gut to get in position for German’s cross. Showed great movement throughout and produced some good shots on goal. Provided a perfect through-ball for Walcott’s goal.
Lukas Podolski | 7.0: Perhaps not as involved as he would like to be, but delivers well when in dangerous positions fizzing in a number of low crosses, including the one for Giroud’s goal. As usual was full of working down the flank.
- Notable substitutions
Theo Walcott | 8.0: The Englishman made a huge impact when he came on from the subs bench, getting a extremely well-taken goal and providing the assist for Cazorla’s super-strike after showing great determination.