MOTD: West Ham 1 – 3 Arsenal

Game in a sentence

A thoroughly impressive performance sees the Gunners ease past West Ham after a shaky beginning.

Observations

  • Twenty minutes of Arsenal build up and no finish – breaking news – was rudely interrupted by a stunner of a goal from Mohamed Diame to put the home side ahead. It was a lovely finish made possible by some awful defending by Aaron Ramsey. Forward, forward, forward – yes, we get that. But at least seem like you give a damn tracking back. 1-0 Hammers. The bubbles were flowing.
  • Back in the lineup for Arsène Wenger, Per Mertesacker was tasked with handling the indomitable force that is Andy Carroll. The Hammers striker was impressive on this day, winning headers with ease and providing an outlet for a team that lacks creativity in the midfield. For his part, Mertesacker did well and even had a chance at goal late in the game.
  • Did Olivier Giroud do some terrible things in his past life? That was the thought as the Frenchman continued to come so agonizingly close to scoring his first in league play. Thanks to a well placed, low cross from Lukas Podolski, Giroud finally defeated that demon. Both the run and touch on the ball were fantastic. Saying it now – 60 goals, 50 assists (hashtag hyperbole).
  • After performing so well in Arsenal’s win against Olympiakos, Gervinho and Ramsey had games to forget. The latter was especially poor on the counter attack. Theo Walcott and Andre Santos replaced them in the second half.
  • Calls for a penalty from Phil Dowd – who was a special kind of terrible today – were dismissed after Ricardo Vaz Te was clipped by Vito Mannone. Vaz Te was injured on the play because he dragged his foot in an attempt to draw the whistle. Cheating sometimes pays. In this instance it didn’t. To add insult to injury the forward separated his shoulder on the play.
  • A clever through ball from Giroud led to Walcott’s go ahead score in the 77th minute. The Hammers defense was playing far too deep for the majority of the game, allotting tons of space in the middle. Walcott’s finish was clinical. Maybe this guy can play striker? (No, he can’t) Both Diame and Walcott drew cautions for celebrating after their goals. Can we do away with this ridiculous rule already. Please.
  • Santi Cazorla capped a successful trip to Upton Park with a beauty of a strike. The trio of Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud were terrific. The German created six chances on goal – the most of any player on the pitch. What he said to Giroud after the first goal is what I want to know. Football’s lost in translation moment.

Santi

  • In the end Sam Allardyce will rue the strategy he implemented. Arsenal were allowed far too much time on the ball – something they clearly relish. For Arsenal, eight out of twelve possible points on the road is an early positive. Goals from three different players also lends credence to Wenger’s belief that the Gunners can cope with RVP’s departure. Until the next loss at least.

Three Stars

1. Lukas Podolski

2. Olivier Giroud

3. Andy Carroll