Gunners Maintain Stronghold at Third Place
Arsenal 3 (Giroud 45′, Ramsey 82′, Flamini 84′) – West Ham 0
For the past few days I’ve been very busy at work and even had to travel to Warri for an engagement with the Petroleum Ministry but I returned home on Friday, just in time to get ready for the game between Arsenal and West Ham. Big Sam’s record against the Gunners had been poor but it was interesting to see the lineup Arsene Wenger put up for the game. With Gabriel injured, the center back pairing pretty much picked itself but Calum Chambers was preferred ahead of Hector Bellerin, Aaron Ramsey made his comeback in midfield at the expense of Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott replaced the Ox.
Early on, Mesut Ozil and Ramsey combined to tee up Giroud but his shot hit the side netting. Chambers was skinned alive by Matt Jarvis but moved forward and chipped a delicious ball to Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman used his knee on the ball but Adrian was on hand to make a good save. Ramsey was bossing the game and he threaded a brilliant pass to Walcott but the Englishman’s shot was poor. Alexis blasted a good shot that was saved by Adrian but he got into the ref’s book when he used his arm to control a dinked effort into the box.
The Gunners broke the deadlock at the stroke of halftime when Giroud came on the end of some intricate passing play between Ramsey and Ozil before blasting a shot that smashed the post and crept in.
Jarvis and Stewart Downing switched flanks in the second half and the winger swung in a cross that saw Diafra Sakho and David Ospina collide in the box. Wojciech Szczesny was sent to do his paces but Ospina recovered. There was a moment when Chambers and Ozil combined nicely but the chance was spurned. Shortly after that, there was a substitution of the officials as Anthony Taylor replaced Chris Foy.
Sanchez was replaced by Old Trafford match-winning hero, Danny Welbeck. The forward got involved in an attack that almost led to a goal but Ozil chose the option of flicking the ball to Walcott on the far post when a shot would have been a better option. Walcott couldn’t get the ball under control but he managed to latch it unto Ramsey that blasted his shot wide.
Ramsey was to have his moment of glory when the Welsh Jesus combined superbly with Giroud before firing the ball past Adrian to offer the Gunners some cushion.
Wenger summoned Mathieu Flamini for Ozil to see out the game but the Flamster got the goal that added some icing on the cake. The midfielder crept into the box unnoticed and he was the first to react to Santi Cazorla’s drilled pass to make it 3-0 to the Arsenal.
With the all-important clash against Monaco coming up, a win of this magnitude would give the players some measure of confidence ahead of the game. However, things are looking really good in the race for Champions League qualification as the defending champions crashed yet again at Burnley which brings the Gunners one point clear of second.
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