West Ham 1 - 3 Arsenal

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West Ham 1 - 3 Arsenal

Postby Trina » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:43 pm

I will be posting the match reports from TheArsenalPost from now on. Would be much appreciated if you could comment on his blog after reading the match report :)

Arsenal came from behind to secure a well-deserved 3-1 victory at Upton Park on Saturday evening, a result that extends extended their unbeaten record against the Hammers to nine games and moved them to fifth in the Premier League table.

This was to be a huge test of Arsenal character as two completely different styles of play clashed once again; Arsenal’s slick pass-and-move against a West Ham side favouring a strong tackle and a long ball. This was reflected in the Arsenal team sheet with the big men, Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud, being included at either end of the pitch. With the Frenchman’s inclusion Gervinho was pushed wide with Chamberlain being dropped to the bench. The other change saw Aaron Ramsey for Francis Coquelin in the middle of the park.

Arsenal, fresh from their midweek Champions League win, were desperate for a solid domestic performance against a newly promoted side who started the day above them – and they didn’t disappoint.

Arsenal made a promising start to the half. They strung some beautiful passes together; their movement was great both on and off the ball and they created chances too. Giroud’s snapshot forced West Ham keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen down quickly at his near post. Then Cazorla met a low cross from the left, his first time shot deflected wide.

Arsenal were outclassing West Ham all over the pitch so it would be fair to say that after 20 minutes, a Hammers goal would seem unlikely, but it came.

Completely against the run of play George McCartney fed Diame down the left and the Senegalese player tricked his way past Ramsey (bit too easy) and curled a beautiful shot into the top corner to score with West Ham’s only real attack so far.

Naturally, West Ham began to settle in after taking the lead and kept trying to get the ball to the towering figure of Carroll who, almost grabbed the Hammers a second after meeting Noble’s corner with some force. Good save Mannone.

Strangely it looked as if Arsenal might be going in at the break losing to a team they had dominated. It was time for someone to step up and deliver and four minutes the break a certain Frenchman would get the breakthrough he’d been waiting for.

The ball was swept to Podolski on the left who carried it to the byline and sent a low cross into the area. The ball was met expertly by Giroud’s outstretched leg to fire the Gunners level and get his first goal in the Premier League.

I can’t stress enough what a great goal it was. Many of you may say “tap in” but the Frenchman’s perfectly timed run is what makes it.

In fact, take a look.

There were chances in the second half to and with the score level, it really could have gone either way. Matt Jarvis fired over for the Hammers and Carroll beat Mannone in the air only to see the ball fly wide.

Arsenal had chances to, Giroud failed to slide the ball home after Walcott’s back heel and Cazorla, who had been fabulous so far slashed a shot horribly wide when we ought to have done better.

From here the match was more open than it had been, with both sides feeling they could get all 3 points.

West Ham almost retook the lead through Nolan but Mertesacker’s tackle was perfectly timed to keep Arsenal level then Arsenal had a penalty appeal waved away after Ramsey was brought down. How this wasn’t a foul is beyond me, there was clear contact and it should have been a free kick (JUST outside the box for me.)

Arsenal were now exerting the pressure and got their reward just 13 minutes from the end. Giroud, once again involved set Walcott through on the right and didn’t he take it well? Great finish from Theo, a player who has been under pressure to “sign da ting.”

Despite the goal they wind hadn’t been taken out of Hammers sails just yet as the chances still flowed thick and fast. Nolan and Mertesacker were involved again both having chances on goal, the German’s swivelling shot deflected just past the post.

It was far too open in the closing moments of the game for Arsenal to be sure of victory; they needed another to kill Big Sam’s final hopes. They found that goal through their talismanic midfielder Santi Cazorla.

Walcott, under pressure, turned provider when he found Cazorla on the left 25 yards out. The Spaniard sent a superb drive beyond Jaaskelainen to put the game and the points away for Arsenal.

A slick performance by the Gunners and one they certainly needed to keep pace with the leaders.

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