Thoughts on Arsenal’s Emphatic Win Over West Ham
In the turn of the new year, Arsenal hasn’t been banging in goals so the 5-1 mauling of West Ham was a welcome return. The year didn’t begin on a good note for Arsene Wenger and his team but Wednesday’s win showed that when the Gunners are on top form, they can become an irresistible force to come against.
Arsene Wenger must be lauded for being spot on with his starting lineup as the introduction of Aaron Ramsey, yes, Ramsey, changed the outlook of things. Abou Diaby was a player that was in dire need of rest and he looked out of sorts against Manchester City and Chelsea.
It’s really interesting to see what Wenger is going to do about the current situation in midfield. Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla are mainstays in the team and the final spot which belongs to Mikel Arteta, is now up for grabs with Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin in contention for that spot.
Everyone knows that Diaby is probably the apple of Arsene Wenger’s eyes, but on Wednesday night, Ramsey showed the kind of form he exhibited before he was Shawcrossed. Firstly, he was deployed in his natural central midfield role, instead of his make-shift wing positions, his passing was crisp, he didn’t overdo things this time and he showed off his defensive side, like blocking that ball off the line.
Coquelin was a bright spark in Arsenal’s defeat to Chelsea but injury ruled him out of this encounter. He plays every game like a lad eager to prove his worth to the team, and he among other reasons, will probably be the reason why Wenger hasn’t delved into the transfer market to procure a recognized holding midfielder.
The defending was much-improved but Arsenal was culpable for conceding first yet again. Notwithstanding, I’ll take nothing away from James Collison’s strike. It was a beauty.
Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker worked in tandem to put up disciplined performances, even though there were some concerns when the skipper picked up what seems like an ankle injury. Laurent Koscielny came in his stead and did pretty well. The fullbacks were more focused and Bacary Sagna did well to put up a better performance, in contrast to his outings lately.
While the defense and midfield bit their bit, Arsenal’s attack was in imperial form, with Lukas Podolski putting up his best performance in Arsenal colors. The German’s piledriver of a shot was more than a match for Jussi Jaaskelainen in goal and he made a hat-trick of assists for Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud.
Podolski admits that his equalizer was great, but he was also delighted to have contributed to his team’s cause with a plethora of assists (via Arsenal.com). Podolski’s return of 11 goals and 10 assists has been a major highlight of Arsenal’s campaign thus far and more will be expected from one of the club’s highest earners.
Olivier Giroud was another player that got in on the act with two lovely goals from the near post with his favorite left foot. He was one player in dire need of goals and nobody would’ve been more pleased to have ended his personal goalscoring drought than Giroud himself. Prior to his brace against West Ham, he bagged a brace on New Year’s eve in the 7-3 thumping of Newcastle.
Giroud has stated that there’s more to come from him (via Arsenal.com) and I’m pretty sure that Wenger is going to think twice before going into the transfer market to get a top quality striker, even though I doubt if he ever had plans to. Giroud was denied a chance to get a hat-trick when he was substituted for the Ox, with Theo Walcott returning to the center forward role he craves.
While Walcott did really well to get on the end of that Podolski’s drilled cross, he offered little or no threat when he was deployed as a center forward. Maybe it was due to the head injury suffered by Daniel Potts, that sucked the life out of the game. The defender will remain in the hospital for further scans (via Independent), and will be sidelined for a while.
All in all, it was a splendid performance from this Arsenal side and we can only hope for more when they visit Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup Fourth Round.
The last time I checked, that’s Arsenal’s only realistic chance of winning silverware this season.
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