A number of brilliant team goals from Arsenal gave the North London club a vital 3-0 win to remain in the Premier League Top 4. A 1st half goal from Olivier Giroud followed by 2nd half finishes from Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini meant that, at the final whistle it was all smiles at the Emirates.
After his FA Cup winner on Monday night, Danny Welbeck was dropped to the bench in favor of Giroud. The Frenchman did not disappoint, scoring the first and contributing during the build-up for the second and the third.
For all of Arsenal’s attacking flair, it was their defense that kept the match at 1-0 as West Ham were the aggressors for spells in the 2nd half. Per Mertesacker won his aerial battles and Laurent Koscienly provided cover in behind the back line to prevent West Ham from creating any legitimate goal scoring opportunities.
The match started brightly for Arsenal as they found openings in the West Ham defense. Theo Walcott, who was restored to the starting lineup, was through on goal twice but on both occasions was denied. During his first opportunity, Walcott failed to get his shot away although he probably should have awarded a penalty.
Later on in half Alexis Sanchez also had opportunities to open the scoring, but saves from West Ham’s keeper Adrian kept the sides level. Alexis provided a header as well as a volley, which called Adrian into action.
West Ham also provided a threat on break as they looked to attack down the left hand side with Matt Jarvis. It was Jarvis who got behind Calum Chambers and delivered a cut back for Kevin Nolan. Nolan’s volley was saved by David Ospina, who was forced to scamper across his goal. That was as close as West Ham would come to scoring.
The half looked destined to end without a goal, but moments before the whistle, Arsenal provided a goal of the highest quality. Great interplay between Mesut Ozil, Ramsey and Giroud broke through the West Ham defense and set up a shot for Giroud just inside the box. Giroud, having latched onto a layoff from Ramsey, fired a shot which smashed off of the far post and into the net. The goal came at an important point in the match and the Gunners carried momentum into halftime. Giroud now has 6 goals in his last 7 games.
The second half began with West Ham on the front foot. It was clear they were looking to exploit Arsenal on the flanks in order to send crosses into the box. Arsenal defended well and although West Ham found themselves with possession in dangerous areas, they failed to create any chances of note.
With 10 minutes remaining, Arsenal put the game beyond doubt with another fantastic goal. From a Chambers throw deep in the West Ham half, Giroud let the ball run to Ramsey. The two then played a lovely give and go which left Ramsey the task of giving Arsenal a 2 goal lead. The Welsh midfielder finished emphatically and his first Premier League goal since December made the points safe.
Only 3 minutes later, substitute Flamini completed the scoring. After another clever give and go, this time between Santi Cazorla and Giroud, Cazorla played a delightful ball across goal where Flamini was on hand to provide a simple tap in.
Heading into their midweek match against Monaco, Arsenal should take confidence after earning 2 crucial wins this past week. It will not just be the victories which Arsenal will be excited about, but the convincing manner in which the games have been won. The Gunners were the dominant side in both of their matches and appear to be hitting their stride as the season approaches its climax.