I must admit that before kick off, I thought we were good to get one over the Hammers until I saw the team sheet, which I did not like one bit. All show and very little go in the midfield, to my eye.
Half way through the first period, I thought we were gonners…
We had nothing and the midfield was being over run well and truly, by bigger, stronger brutes….the kind we no doubt wish we had one or two of.
Early on, Diame was involved in a lovely move, and thank goodness our BFG stood strong, taking a body shot from the one time Arsenal target, which was probably goal bound.
Another few close calls followed and my concerns were heightened. It was all too easy for our opponents, and our back 4 were being placed under undue pressure due to our soft midfield.
This was the type of performance which has plagued us over the last few seasons.
I remember saying mid way through the first half that I hoped we could hold out until Ramsey came on, as embarrassing as that sounds against West Ham, but I was being honest, as we were showing nothing at that point and I felt Aaron would at least get something happening for us in the centre of the park.
We did create a few chances, but we were being outplayed, and luckily Diame is not a striker, as we could well have been 3 down by the half hour mark!
Next up was a touch of sportsmanship all too seldom seen in professional sports these days.
Hats off to Jarvis for keeping his feet when brushed, albeit very lightly, by Sagna. Suarez or Young would still be rolling around now asking for the penalty, but Jarvis kept up and chased the ball down as any footballer should do, but rarely, does these days.
Well played, sir.
Giroud has copped an incredible amount of criticism of late, and he did himself no favours when forgetting his right foot is not just to stop him falling over, and can be used to kick a football. What was he thinking? It was an abysmal attempt from a PL striker after he had done everything right to create space. A real shame to see a great move wasted.
Anyway, the inevitable eventually occurred, and the Hammers were in front.
How an attacker is allowed to stand alone 6-7 yards out is beyond me, but it happened, and we conceded after a scuffle in the box.
I guess it was a little case of poetic justice that Jarvis was the goal scorer, but there was nothing poetic about our “defending” on the lead up to the goal.
I am still not sure what happened over the next few minutes, although I remember Kallstrom getting away a decent shot on goal. I was in a daze, shaking my head, cursing and asking myself two questions. How did this happen, and how the hell were we going to turn things around, when suddenly we were level, thanks to the best left foot in world football, in my opinion, the one on the end of Podolski’s peg.
He has power and unerring accuracy when give just a little time and space, and when used the correct way is simply lethal.
Arsene, take note.
The goal also came at an important time, meaning we headed into the sheds all square.
Onto the second half, and, as if Wenger flicked a switch, we suddenly started playing football.
Our passing was fluent.
Players were energetic.
What had changed?
Who knows, but I am glad it did.
We were on top, and it seemed almost a done deal that we would go on to win the game, but even more so once we had gone ahead.
Momentum was on our side, and our class began to show-finally!
Our second goal was simply world class, and anyone disagreeing would surely be doing so only out of a dislike for the players involved :)
The ball from Vermaelen was amazing, and the first touch and finish from Giroud showed what he can, but seldom does….
It was pure class, and beautiful on the eye.
The crowd were now showing something as well…..all, ahem, 59,977 of them, give or take a few tens of thousands.
Santi, from distance, nearly finished a sensational move on the counter, with a beautifully struck shot that missed by inches.
Ramsey then came on to replace Rosicky, who had a terrific came, as usual, but we looked even better for the move.
The game was done when Giroud received the ball in space wide on the left, he found the head of Ramsey, whose ball to Podolski was a touch of brilliance, and again, that left foot had the ball past the keeper before he knew it had been struck.
A solid performance over all that, if repeated, will see us undefeated for the remainder of the season.
If we can see similar work rates from Podolski and Santi every week, it could only be a great thing for the club, and the earned their wage.
Arteta was fantastic as well, though his best work went unnoticed by most, and this is the type of game he is suited to.
Kallstrom worked his way into the game very well, and most definitely has quality which will be of use in the coming weeks.
A special mention to Vermaelen, who was absolutely superb last night, shutting down Carroll in the air on several occasions, and just brilliant in general.
I have said for a while that Aaron Ramsey has a very rare gift. He makes other players perform better when he is on the pitch, as well as being incredibly effective himself…… (Emma, you can borrow that one, but it is mine :) )
His work rate and positional sense means others can do what they do best, and when he plays, we simply play much better.
Our win/loss percentage when he plays this season shows just how important he is, and in my opinion, his injury was the single biggest reason we lost form. The kid could easily end up with his own statue at The Emirates one day.
One last comment.
Arsene, sign Diame!
Written by Scott from Oz