Arsenal came from behind to thrash West Ham United 5-1 at the Emirates Stadium after a sensational second half performance which saw them score four goals in ten minutes.
This game was originally meant for Boxing Day, but had to be postponed due to tube strikes and this was the earliest date they could both possibly play the game.
Despite the big score-line, the game took a while to get going as neither team could really put together a good attack. However the first goal did come after just 18 minutes when West Ham midfielder, Jack Collison, thumped home past Arsenal goalkeeper, Wojeich Szczesny, after Arsenal failed to clear from a corner. The goal silenced the home crowd and was not how Arsenal wanted to start their must win game-in-hand.
However, the visitors lead only lasted three minutes as a thunderbolt from Lukas Podolski pulled Arsenal level. After a neat little flick through by Jack Wilshere, the German international looked up and thumped the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen from 25-yards out.
Both sides had free-kicks in first half injury time, but both goalkeepers managed to pull of fine saves to deny either side going into the break in the lead.
The second half took off completely and whatever Arsene Wenger said at half-time worked magically. Within 10 second half minutes, the game went from 1-1 to Arsenal winning 5-1.
The first goal came just a minute into the second half thanks to Olivier Giroud. After early pressure and two quick corners, the second corner, taken by Theo Walcott, found Giroud running to the near post, who then managed to volley the ball past the West Ham goalkeeper.
Six minutes later, it was 3-1 to Arsenal and what a team-goal it was. All three summer signings linking up with Giroud putting a through ball into the path of Podolski, who then played the ball into Cazorla who managed to back-heel the ball past the keeper to make it 3-1 to the home side. A great team goal from Arsenal who really turned on the style in the second half and it will please the fans that all the summer signings were at the heart of the goals.
Only a minute later, Theo Walcott made it 4-1 to the home side. Once again it was the German international, Lukas Podolski who was released down the left-hand side, who drilled a ball across the goal right into the path of onrushing Walcott who slammed the ball past Jaaskelainen. Another swift, quick and tidy goal from the home side, who were really showing form of old. The goal lead to a rather amusing celebration of Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott going to the corner and both pretending to sign a contract. This obviously proving that Theo has indeed signed a contract extension at the club.
Three minutes after that it was 5. With West Ham’s back four all over the place, a swift Arsenal move made them pay and embarrassed them. Once again Podolski was key to the goal as he put in a cross for Giroud who then tapped home much to the delight of the fans and the Arsenal players alike.
That was it for goal action in a lively game at the Emirates, but the match was soured when West Ham defender, Dan Potts, took a bad blow after a collision with Bacary Sagna. The 18-year-old was knocked out on the pitch for 12 minutes, but luckily he regained consciousness in the tunnel after receiving treatment.
A really important result for Arsenal leaves them now a point behind Everton and four points behind Tottenham. As for West Ham, they stay 12th.
Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, praised his side’s second half performance:
“We came out in the second half and attacked with tremendous pace. The injury to Dan Potts was the end of the game really but until that moment we played very well.
“When Lukas Podolski is in that form then he is very important. He can finish and give assists, he is a team player. We played well overall on Sunday but we were not at the races from the start but that was not the case tonight.
“You want to be at your best every single game but we have many new players and it takes some time to get to know each other very well and I think that understanding is getting better.”
Alex William Batt