Arsenal put their defeat to Chelsea behind them with a very impressive 3-1 victory at Upton Park on Saturday evening. The Gunners had to come from behind to secure all three points and climb up to 5th in the Premier League.
The game saw the return to first team action of Andy Carroll for West ham and Per Mertesacker for Arsenal and the two of them produced a great battle for air-balls all throughout the game, with Carroll winning most of them.
The first twenty minutes was dominated by Arsenal as they looked to bounce back after their first defeat of the season against Chelsea last weekend and an early Giroud shot from outside the box looked like it had given them the lead, but he was denied his first Premier League goal by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
In a vintage Arsenal way, they spent a lot of the game on the front foot, but still went behind when Mohamed Diame cut inside Aaron Ramsey and curled the ball into the far corner past Vito Mannone. The goal was very much against the run of play, but the home supporters didn’t care one bit. Diame also got booked for his over the top celebrations which saw him jump into the crowd to the displeasure of referee, Phil Dowd.
Just before the break, the moment came that all Arsenal fans were waiting, a Premier League goal for Olivier Giroud. A low cross from Lukas Podolski found Giroud at the near post who steered the ball past the Hammers goalkeeper. The goal clearly meant a lot to the Frenchman as he has been under a lot of pressure to get his first Premiership goal. The two teams went into half-time all level.
The second half saw West Ham look a lot more lively and for a lot of the half, they were the team that looked like scoring, but missed chances from Kevin Nolan were later punished by the away side.
The game swung back into Arsenal’s favour when Theo Walcott came on for Gervinho in the 60th minute and just under twenty minutes of being on the pitch, he gave Arsenal the lead. After a piercing pass through the back four by Giroud, the Englishman ran with the ball into the box and curled it past the out-rushing goalkeeper. Walcott’s celebration was much like Diame’s earlier as he ran into the Arsenal crowd and also received a booking from Phil Dowd.
A lot of Arsenal fans have been questioning Theo Walcott’s commitment to the club as he is still yet to renew his contract, but his celebration must have shown something to the fans as the goal clearly meant a lot to him. The goal will also help his push to becoming a centre forward like he wants.
The game was wrapped up six minutes after when a long-range effort from Santi Cazorla curled over Jaaskelainen and nestled into the back of the net. A great strike from the Spaniard and a great way for Arsenal to wrap up all three points.
After the game, goalscorers Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud were both happy with the performance and the result.
Arsenal winger Theo Walcott: “Santi Cazorla has come to the Premier League and has taken it by storm. He is our conductor. He’s fantastic and I’m not even sure what foot he favours. We want to be right up there at the end of the season. The way we came back today showed we can do that.”
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud: “I’m so happy to score the first goal and to assist my friend Theo. I hope so many goals come after this. Everyone talked to me about the [lack of a] goal, but I kept confident and concentrated on the work in training and in the games.”
The Arsenal boss couldn’t hide his delight at his new signing, Santi Cazorla:
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on Santi Cazorla: “It is a pleasure to watch him. It’s a delight to see what he does on the pitch. I hope every young football player in England watches him. We started [the season] with many questions about us, but of course we need to build up belief and convince people around us we have a chance. Apart from the Chelsea game we have been convincing and we have belief we can do something special.”
The win for Arsenal sees them rise to fifth in the league with 12 points from seven games. For West Ham, they are in eight position with 11 points from seven games.