Report: West Ham 1-3 Arsenal


Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud

Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Monreal, Flamini, Gnabry, Bendtner, Podolski

Arsenal went back to the top of the Premier League after a 3-1 win over West Ham at Upton Park today.

Arsene Wenger made just one change from the team that drew with Chelsea, recalling Santi Cazorla in place of Tomas Rosicky.

The game began in fairly even fashion, with both teams sounding each other out, and in the 6th minute Cazorla had the first Arsenal effort but his shot was blocked. Moments later a fantastic Bacary Sagna cross almost found Olivier Giroud but the Frenchman was well marshalled by the home defence.

In the 10th minute Wojciech Szczesny had to be alert to push away a Mark Noble free kick, while at the other end Adrian had to stretch to keep out a Cazorla header after the Hammers failed to clear a short corner.

Joey O’Brien picked up a 19th minute yellow card for pulling back Kieran Gibbs as the left back drove into the West Ham box, but the free kick from just outside the area came to nothing.

A stinging shot from Diame almost caught Szczesny out but the Pole found his touch, and from the resulting spell of possession Arsenal should have been ahead. Aaron Ramsey’s pass over the top of the defence found Theo Walcott but the winger volley wide with the goal at his mercy.

Arsenal dominated possession for the most part but struggled to create anything clear cut. Per Mertesacker had to be strong to fend off some amorous advances from Carlton Cole, before Cazorla fizzed an effort just over the bar. Mesut Ozil then played Giroud down the left hand channel but the striker screwed his shot wide. It was the strike of a man short of confidence.

Aaron Ramsey saw a right footed shot deflect into the arms of the keeper as the Gunners looked to up the pressure, and the Welshman made Adrian work with a cross from well inside the area.

Fantastic combination play saw Ozil pull a ball back across goal but it was just in front of Giroud who probably should have been more on his toes. As the half drew to a close a Cazorla free kick was blocked to Mikel Arteta just outside the box, but the Spaniard’s volley whizzed just wide of the post.

Kevin Nolan threatened from a West Ham free kick before more good Arsenal play almost created a chance for Giroud. Gibbs low cross from the left rolled two yards in front of the goal but once more the Frenchman’s timing was just off and he failed to get a touch, meaning the game remained scoreless at the break.

The second half began in exhilarating style. After making a great run through midfield, Theo Walcott had two options for a final pass but instead chose to give it to a West Ham defender. They broke upfield, Szczesny failed to hold a Kevin Nolan shot and Carlton Cole was on hand to poke home the rebound. The half was just 46 seconds old when they scored.

Arsenal had shouts for a penalty when Tomkins blocked a Mertesacker shot with his arm, but it was very much ball to hand and Phil Dowd waved away the appeal. And the confident home side almost had a second when Joey O’Brien, unmarked in the box, headed wide from about 8 yards out.

O’Brien was lucky to escape a second yellow for a foul on Giroud, before Cole almost put West Ham further ahead but he poked it wide with Szczesny advancing on him and in no position to cover.

Arsenal looked press for the equaliser. There were a succession of corners and some goalmouth scrambles but West Ham defended resolutely. Adrian made a good save from a Cazorla shot, and was back on his feet quickly to save the rebound from Ozil. It looked like it was going to be one of those days.

Matters weren’t helped when Aaron Ramsey picked up what looked like a thigh strain, replaced by Lukas Podolski. The German was quickly involved, but it was only to pick up an ankle knock when a shot inside the West Ham area was blocked.

But in the 67th minute Arsenal were level. Arteta made a good tackle on the edge of the Arsenal area, the ball was moved forward and played out wide to Theo Walcott. The England man cut inside on his left foot and got a shot on target, but the keeper really should have saved it easily. Adrian somehow let it run through his hands and into the net.

Less than 4 minutes later, Arsenal were ahead, and it was Walcott again who got on the scoresheet. A Podolski cross flicked off the head of Tomkins and Walcott rose high to plant a header downwards into the net.

It was almost three when Cazorla found Podolski in the box, but Adrian came out quickly to smother. The momentum had changed completely and Arsenal looked hungry for more goals. And the third duly came when Giroud laid the ball off for Podolski on the edge of the box and the German’s left footed shot meant he got a goal on his first appearance since the end of August. He celebrated like it meant the world to him.

The manager took the opportunity to rest some legs then, bringing on Flamini for Ozil and Bendtner for Giroud. Arsenal had lots more possession to try and see out the game, and almost got a 4th when Bendtner’s shot from the right hand side went just wide of the far post.

In the end it was a win which showed some real character and put the Arsenal back on top of the table.


      • It is wrong not to consider them a threat. They have been performing well and with suarez in the form of his life, they could be in it till the very end.
        Great comeback today. The first one this season too, so hopefully we can push on and leave our rivals trailing.
        Hopefully the injury to rambo is not serious though.

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        • Suarez is quiet for one game like he was against Hull Liverpool lose. So I don’t take them seriously as contenders. A win for them today would be good for us. Even though we lose top spot.

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        • I think we would all like to see a draw. I can’t decide who I would prefer to win. Man City so we can stay top or Liverpool because I think, in the big picture, City are a bigger threat.

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        • Liverpool are essentially a one man team at least until Sturridge is back. I honestly can’t see Liverpool maintaining this form till the end of The season. Man city however have quality all over and more importantly squad depth. I would prefer Liverpool to win today and give us a 4 point cushion on the mancs. That margin could be vital later in d season.

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        • I would love to be logical about this but I hate Brendan Rodgers so much that I would be happy to see his stupid face lose as many games as possible, even this one

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    • Yep. Great seeing him score. Ditto Walcott. In fact, our standout players from last season all had good games – Poldi, Theo, Giroud, and Santi.

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    • Yes, Podolski was the breath of fresh air that Arsenal needed at that moment. Sad to see an injury to Ramsey forced that substitution.

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  1. Not much peace and goodwill after 46mins in my gaff.

    Fuck knows how we didn’t have 3 or 4 in that 1st half alone, but job done in the end, 3pts, top of the league and not much to moan about really.

    Oh, hang on. Nearly forgot. Phil Dowd – what a fat useless cunt that bloke is.

    Let’s their bloke off who was on a yellow, with two further challenges that were yellows on their own.

    And first half, ball hits Vermaelen’s hand from no distance – free kick. Second half, ball hits their cunt in the area from no distance – play on.

    Still, forgive and forget and all that. Fat cunt.

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  2. Wenger’s forced substitution was the real game changer there. Podolski looked fantastic, really turned his #Aha into #AHammer. Loved the depth of our bench today and great to see Cazorla back on form!

    To of the fucking League

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  3. Arteta what a player! He was my man of the match today. He showed a side we knew he had but suppresed it due to his DM role.

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      • yeah that was wierd, especially since he made a bunch of hard tackles after that remark, yet he said it one more time in the second half

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        • Glad i was watching match on a stream which had spanish commentary. So even if the commentators were cunts i wouldnt know and when you here goalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll three times when Arsenal score you can hardly hate them. And boy do they love Cazorla, glad he is back in form.

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        • I was watching a U.S. stream where Gary MacAllister was co-com. To be fair to Gary Mac he praised Arteta, Mertesacker and especially Cazorla, whom I think he would have awarded the MoM to, but as is the way with these things, some producer’s flunky told him to announce that Theo was MoM because of the goals.

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  4. Wish Bendtner had gotten himself a goal. Yet another good sub appearance. Wouldn’t mind him starting against Cardiff.

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    • It’s funny how that doesn’t seem so unthinkable right now, compared to when he’d just come back into the team. Tells you how shit Giroud has been lately.

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        • Why do you feel the constant need to defend him? Let him defend himself with his performances! Through a pile of fixtures, Henry’s quality shined through, so did RvP’s when he was with us. They played almost EVERY game and it was almost a drought when they went 2-3 games without a goal. Have you not learned that a striker with his back goal, trying silly flicks just won’t cut it at Arsenal? He’s a backup to a main striker at best. Plan B-ish

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        • I don’t remember Henry or RVP busting a gut trying to win the ball in midfield or winning header after header in defence though.

          There are better finishers out there than HFB, but his overall contribution has been excellent.

          If he’s tired, I would guess that it’s mentally rather than physically – he’s playing in three different positions every game.

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        • Perhaps it’s news to you that hard work in itself can be doing your absolute utmost to make sure the ball is in the net. Those two were quite good at it….and, yes, RVP and Henry did track back at times but I guess when you spend most of your time giving the ball away when trying silly flicks instead of doing what you’re paid to do – score goals – then, yeah, you must like to defend so much. We can make our lives easier by putting away those chances. I don’t hate him because I know he’s decent but I maintain he’s back-up/Plan B material at best.

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  5. Great performance by Podolski. New dynamic to the team in this game.
    Back on the title hunt. Now to watch a 2-2 draw at Manchester.

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  6. 3-1 job done, walcott impressive as was cazorla and poldi, poldi got a very feel good goal. no goals for giroud and he had some chances but as always can’t fault his effort.

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  7. Poldi munched up the walrus’ team easily, once he was on. Good victory, top of the league at the moment, and hopefully the scunts will drop some points at the shitihad.

    We need to see Theo and Poldi more often over the next few games, give Giroud, Ramsey and Ozil a bit of a rest. Good stuff though. Happy Boxing day ya goons, we’re still top and we’re almost half-way through!

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  8. Santi is really back now. Does gibbs love podolski or what? He brings out the best in him.

    We still need a striker coz I love podolski on the wings. This is the stuff of champions.

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  9. Giroud was really struggling there, he normally gets at least 1 goal from those wide crosses/ 6 yard box melee thingys. Walcott nailed it again, 4 in 2 games when we needed it. The spirit of champions is within us i.e. crush the weaklings and embiggen the goal difference.

    Merry Xmas folks 🙂

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  10. I hope giroud is replace by poldi next game or even bendtner..giroud is either so tired or hes not good enough at the moment and others deserve their chance now

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    • You are forgetting that it was Giroud who assisted Poldi for that lovely goal. Typical excellent hold up play by HFB – utterly selfless and Poldi knew just how to convert that into a goal. Just last season both pairing of AHA and HFB has always been fruitful and devastating

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      • Anyhow, we have very good midfielders who can keep the ball and play great one-touch football. We need a clinical striker.

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  11. if poldi had come on for the last 10/15min against chelski, who knows what might’ve happened. stoked he got a goal on his return, and its good to get the momentum going again.

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  12. I think Cazorla made one of his best games of the season. Especially after Ramsey went out and he was moved into the middle. Let’s keep this up! Top of the table!!

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  13. An excellent performance against a piss-poor West Ham side – but why did we make it so hard for ourselves?

    We should have been 3 or 4 nil up at half time, but unfortunately we have a main striker who is hopelessly out of form, and not world class when is is playing well. And even Walcott got into the act by missing a sitter.

    After they scored courtesy of that ridiculous error by Szczesny, we really turned it on and finally got what we deserved. Great to see Podolski get one.

    We absolutely bossed the midfield, and were solid at the back, bar a couple of lapses, but the big worry is the lack of goals: ten years ago Henry and co would have put six pass this woeful Hammers side.

    Giroud has an excuse: he has been run into the ground, playing in almost every game this season. He needs a rest. That’s why we must, must, bring in a striker in this transfer window. If we don’t then we can kiss the title goodbye.

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    • Giroud wasn’t bad today. The third goal was entirely because of him – before that, his link-up play was quite good (though it never quite came off).

      He can definitely be criticized for the past 3 or 4 performances, but today was good from him.

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    • Maybe Podolski is the one to pick up the slack. Giroud has played a big part in where we are this season, shame people forget that so quickly when he loses a bit of form.

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      • Nobody has forgotten. But, as Fatgooner said, he needs rest. He’s only human.

        So, all I’m saying is that maybe he start on the bench the next few games, which seem winnable?

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  14. After West Ham goal we attacked with purpose and weren’t afraid to shoot. Santi was really up to it, especially later in a game. You could tell that he enjoys being the focal point of the team. Top of the league!

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  15. Özil created 8 chances today. More than the entire West Ham team. Too bad we couldn’t finish them off.

    Glad that Cazorla Podolski and Walcott are back on form now. We are only going to get better and better.

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  16. Crumbs it didn’t feel that good reading the match updates on the bbc website lol thought we’d get a draw at best!!! Lesson always log into the arseblog live updates, although in my defence there was not any today!!!

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  17. With Podolski back and Cazorla playing more like himself from last season I think we can afford to rest Ozil at last! Always loved the front 4 combo with Podolski, Walcott, Giroud and Santi as no.10! Newcastle here we come!

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  18. everytime the camera cut to sam allardyce looking glum, i chuckled to myself remembering his “Allardici comment”. Tactical genius my arse. Glad arsenal ruined his boxing day!

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  19. It was a good win, showed true character, but the defense was worrying. The defense should be focused when we are winning and losing. Last season it was terrible on both, this season we seemed to have corrected both, but now it looks as if we are back to being defending well when we are winning. Someone needs to take control.

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  20. Giroud is secretly British: hard working, big, lumbering, but with a nice little touch here and there that makes you think, irrationally, WE’RE GONNA TAKE THE WORLD CUP!

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  21. Thought carzorla played well after he was shifted to a more central role. And wow, what an impact poldi made on his return. Let the goals flow!!

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  22. We looked much more balanced after Podolski came on. This is not meant to be disrespectful of the players on the pitch beforehand, but there was a time after Rambo and Özil came off and Santi was in the centre of midfield when we looked at our most fluent – and he looked really good again. I thought he had an excellent second half.

    Just the win we needed. COYGs

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  23. I wonder whether Arsene would’ve made the change so early had it not been for an injury to Ramsey, now the lad is out due to too many games, hope not for long.

    Giroud needs a rest as well because some the chances he is missing are becoming ridiculous,
    Some of the strikers Arsene has brought to this club for him to make do with Giroud is beyond uunderstanding.

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  24. Great to have Walcott, Podolski and Cazorla all back, they make a real difference and our play becomes more direct and less complicated. It’s a real bonus having these players back and along with the Ox we should have a fresh forward line for the second half of the season, which should give us a real advantage over our rivals.

    In a perverse way I’m glad Ramsey’s out for a while as it looks like he’s running on empty as is Giroud. The worrying thing is Wenger doesn’t seam to like taking either out of the starting line up as it appears he views it as some kind of punishment.

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  25. Everyone here has in the past made a cuntish remark or gave an opinion including Arsblog, why is Robson not allowed to have on opinion? I FOR ONE, SOME OF HIS COMMENTS MAKES SENSE TO ME.

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  26. Dominated the match wasted some great chances then went behind. Thankfully the goals then arrived great header from Theo and then along pops Poldi with his strike. 3 points top of the table very nice. Blogs you forgot O’briens rugby tackle on TV5 after he had already been booked. Getting Pissed off with these officials lately.

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  27. Once the match was killed off and the result secured, I have no problem with declaring that I spent the last five minutes shouting at the screen “GET THE BALL TO BENDTNAAARRR”….if his run and shot at the end had gone in, I fear I would have simultaneously pissed and creamed me keks

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  28. First match of the season I had to miss seeing live due to my job and no live blog today

    Had to search other options but found something in the end

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  29. Cazorla was back to his best. If he keeps this form then we will be up for a treat. I think except Kos this was our best team played today and we played really well despite that west ham goal scare.

    I am beginning to worry about Giroud. He is missing some simple chances. We definitely need another striker to play centrally.

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  30. So pleased to get the 3 points. Certainly looked very doubtful 60 min in with West ham getting a few good opportunities to go 2-0 up. Great comeback but I think Giroud tries to be a bit too cute at times with clever little flicks and passes when he could just play a higher percentage pass or perhaps even shoot for goal once in a while. Walcott’s first goal showed what can happen when you decide to have a go.

    Podolski looked great when he came on and it’s great to see our squad finally looking so strong. Interesting to see who Wenger goes for against Newcastle.

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  31. Where was Chu Young Park?! Where?!?! I have had enough of this madness from Wenger… not even giving Chu Young ‘Goals’ Park a run out for the Under 11s? I’ve heard rumours about Le Prof losing his wits but this a step too far…

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  32. Poldi should get a cannon tattooed across his left leg. If he is British he would already be considered a legend among legends. What an impact, what a lad.

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  33. Giroud is not tired, he’s just average!!!!!! Bring in a better striker, Wenger. This current Arsenal squad deserve a better striker than Giroud. For the record, Giroud is slowly becoming the worst starting striker in Wenger’s reign.

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  34. So back to the top we go. Normal service resumed, top around Christmas (although tight) would suggest we are more resilient than many give us credit for, even with recent poor patch.

    All the more pity Wenger did not get the tactics right and we could have had a bit more seperation with a very probably win against Chelsea.

    Podolski clearly makes a difference.

    As I mentioned last game, Walcott (and the team benefits) with Podolski stretching the other wing out. Without (as in the Chelsea game), it is easier for the other team to congest our right side.

    Ominous for the rest of the league if both Podolski and Walcott can kick on fro here and start plundering goals for the second half of the season (particularly with Ramsey slightly flat and sustaining a knock)

    On that front, Jack gets to come back in next match so we have the midfield engine continuing to push us.

    Good opportunity for us to maintain further separation to both Chelsea and Liverpool on the weekend. but the big threat must be City and there is no room for slip up particularly against a tricky visit to the wee team in the North West.

    We play best without options. When the Hammers issued warning to our game in the second half (and with Podolski on for Ramsey), we started to really push forward and stretch them. Plenty more of that sort of attacking verve will see us continue a very healthy push for the title. Wenger has to stop calculations creeping in to the team’s mindset and keep them ticking like they are playing their last game and they need to win.

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  35. Good game apart from the very awkward moment I jumped and shouted for a handball from Mertesackers shot as i was sat with the home fans (only way i could get in), was purely instinctive at 1-0 down.

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  36. Ha Ha! You came out alive, which is a good thing!

    Definitely not going to get on Giroud’s case.
    Talking from experience, physical work without adequate rest is a bitch. It also fucks your mind.
    He just needs a break.

    Top job lads.

    And happy birthday Rambo!

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  37. Anyone ever thot of having ozil rest while santi plays in the center? I really think ozil cud be afforded a rest when needed. Playing both of them seems to be affecting how santi plays. Wenger has been overly dependant on ozil, forgetting that santi was our main man, in my eyes.. And both are superb and creating chances on their own. Maybe Arsene shud look into these kind of subs when games come quick n fast to rest players and still be able to grind out results. Great game last night! Glad Podolski came back sharp and influential.. COYG!!

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  38. We have no option but to buy a striker in jan so that Giroud can rest a couple of games and everyone will then realise that hes wasting chances upfront.
    we need a Negredo type of striker. Also Ozil shd make a bigger impact if not aganaist ‘BIG TEAMS’ then aganaist lower bottom teams.
    Overall top of the league.

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