4 Talking Points From Arsenal’s 3-1 Win Over West Ham

By on April 16, 2014

Olivier_Giroud Arsenal

Arsenal came from a goal down to beat West Ham 3-1 on Tuesday night to move ahead of Everton into fourth spot. Here, Gunner333 gives us 4 talking points from the game.

Now FA Cup finalists, Arsenal were looking to draw upon this success in their pursuit of fourth place in the Premier League. The obstacle in the way this time being a West Ham side which Arsenal had to come from behind to defeat at Upton Park last Boxing Day. Despite his heroic display on Saturday, Fabianski was left out for Szczesny, whilst Wenger also recalled Laurent Koscielny.

In the early stages Arsenal were lethargic and fatigue was evident from the marathon 120 minutes undergone on Saturday. West Ham looked to take full advantage of this by hitting Arsenal early. Diame collecting the ball inside the area, completely unmarked, before sliding across the face of goal to Nocerino, but the Italian’s effort was denied by Koscielny’s stretching leg.

The midfield battle looked key to a victory, with West Ham’s bold physicality frequently outwitting Arsenal’s passing game. It was the Gunners who mustered up the next real promising chance though, Santi Cazorla’s delectable through ball incisive enough to pick out Giroud, whose poor attempt saw the chance wasted.

West Ham soon made Arsenal pay. Kallstrom clearly at fault for allowing Nocerino space to dart into the box and fire a shot at goal, Szczesny parried but Jarvis popped up to head home the rebound for 1-0.

Half time approaching fast and the Arsenal were doing their absolute upmost not to enter the changing rooms down by a goal. Fortunately they would not as Lukas Podolski struck to elevate Gooner spirits. Cazorla at the forefront of it all again. The Spaniard stealing the ball off of Downing before unleashing the German, whose first touch opened up a wonderful shooting opportunity. He took it and Arsenal were back on level terms.

The second half begun and Arsenal were looking to pressurise in a similar vein to that of the first half. Thomas Vermaelen was playing at left-back throughout this clash and, although not electrifying in the first half, it was his excellent long-ball which supplied Arsenal with a second.

The Belgian’s long ball emphatic, yes, but even more so was Giroud’s dealing of the situation. The forward killed the ball dead with his first touch, shrugged off two challenges and unravelled a bullet from close range to put Arsenal ahead. His poor first half amended by a truly stunning piece of attacking football.

From here it looked unlikely Arsenal would relinquish their grasp on the game and they came close to going two clear, a number of times. West Ham were clearly unable to deal with this constant pressure and it eventually told. Aaron Ramsey came off the bench to divert a Giroud cross into the path of Podolski with a flick of the head, and Podolski fired home for 3-1.

Full time and Arsenal were back on track to take fourth with this 3-1 victory. Here I will now analyse four talking points from the game:

1) Same Wavelength

Quite often a side’s success is put down to their chemistry and understanding of one another, this something clearly exhibited by ourselves in this game especially. All three goals scored arose from some exceptional movement and a divine set-up – this cannot be done without a strong awareness.

Through the first goal Cazorla’s pass was executed with great vision available, his expectancy of Podolski making the run highlighted this great understanding. Giroud’s stunner showed much of the same and Vermaelen’s ball in always looked like having the intention to spot the big-man’s run. Ultimately in the final goal, Ramsey’s excellent awareness was able to find Podolski.

2) Kallstrom Calamity

It is fair to say since arriving in January, Swede Kim Kallstrom has hardly lit up North London. In fact his contribution has been so menial due to injury, he was dubbed the ‘invisible man’ when taking his spot-kick (practically his first touch of the ball for Arsenal) last Saturday. However after so long out, Kallstrom got the call to play last night and I thought he was poor.

All over the field his first touch was often sloppy and he was exceptionally slow moving from box-to-box. His inability to keep tabs of Nocerino (not exactly Usain Bolt) lead to the first goal and he was just generally no better than having a chess piece in the middle of the field.

Of course my criticism seems harsh given it was his first full Premier League match, but if you’re playing for such a wonderful side as Arsenal, quality should always shine through. If anything it is a good thing as this highlights Wenger’s current ineptitude in the market and may wake him up to spend better this Summer.

3) Responsive Football

Although this was only the second time we have come from behind to win this season, it does seen we play to respond. When teams liven up it seems the right kick-up-the-backside that we need.

A recurring theme seems to be our playing to the opposition’s tempo. If they begin to speed up their game, you’ll often see us settling back with the intention to break and later un-pick them at their most vulnerable with our sharp attacks. This is a method which Arsenal have seldom used in the pass but we now seem to be sacrificing possession for results and it may not be such a bad thing.

4) Inconsistent Olivier

If there was ever a more perfect showing of Giroud’s typical season shown in a single 90 minutes it was this game. At points he was sensational, killing a long ball, putting in a solid cross or finishing with clinical prowess. In contrast, at times he looked no better than Bendtner nursing a broken leg.

As we enter this pivotal stage of the campaign, it is important he stays fully fit and keeps his head held high. Our back-up options are thin and, unless you include Podolski as a centre-forward, he is the only striker capable of giving us Champions League football.

A Summer acquisition will be carried out I am sure, but until then we must work with what we have and at the moment that is a big Frenchman who, on his day, can be a real handful who can score a goal or two.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below.

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One Comment

  1. omgarsenal

    April 17, 2014 at 1:18 am

    Good points except for Kallstrom who did provide a nice option in midfield in Flamini’s absence. You are using him as a stick to hit Wenger with but you should appreciate that he did his job and that’s all that can be expected for the moment. Obviously your real purpose was to shit on Wenger’s transfer policy so next time have the courage to say so directly, because subtlety isn’t your forte!

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