Reaction: West Ham (H)

A Giroud double caps a good all round performance.

A Giroud double caps a good all round performance.

Matching a convincing 3-1 win at Upton Park last year, West Ham were hit for five as Arsenal ran out 5-1 winners in a long awaited convincing performance. The reverse fixture this season was the last of a series of good performances from the Arsenal team. After that game, we went for an international break, returned and showed a complete lack of desire from the Norwich game onwards. In came the Santos fiasco which led to a tattered and now inconsistent run of form. We aren’t just inconsistent between games, we are inconsistent within games. Supporters were left wondering which Arsenal would turn up today. The right one did.

 

Embiggen Please

Whenever we play against bigger and stronger players, I always wonder why we stopped having a good mix of swift small players and big tall ones. Going into this game, we had only 2 – Per and Giroud. It was required for both of them to jointly defend and attack set pieces. This was mostly because they were the only players that had any hope of reaching a high ball. Per is not a great jumper nor a header of the ball. His asset is reading the game with the rest of his abilities somewhat above average but nothing extraordinary. Giroud on the other hand wins headers handily but he’s mostly up front.

 

As Arsenal fans, we often forget that set pieces offer the highest chance of a goal in football. That was how we went behind early in the match.

 

We had a torrid time with any corner or free kick, even those as far down as the halfway line because we have made ourselves sitting targets for such easy goals. As Arsenal fans, we often forget that set pieces offer the highest chance of a goal in football. That’s basically because we neither build a team that can attack and defend them well nor do we adequately train for such situations. A lack of height can arguably lead to a feeling of a ‘lost cause’, because the opponents are bigger and they are going to win it in the air 9/10 times. We desperately miss the days when we had players with both power and height. I do blame it on the Fabregas generation. We play pretty football, just not effective enough to be in hopes of winning sustainably. It is sad that we cut ourselves short in an area that is key in football, especially in the English league.

 

Ramsey As DM

Ramsey: Great support play but not DM material.

Ramsey: Great support play but not DM material.

Ramsey’s favoured position is CAM. With Cazorla and Wilshere in the team, he has had no choice but to play as LF, RF, CM and CDM. He did fine with LF and CM but his RF performances were well below par. In a DM position, he showed tenacity and pace but was found rather lacking when it came to tackling and defensive positioning. Our DM is expected to both play as a shield in front of the back 4 and to build attacks. Ramsey did the last well. His passes forward were acceptable and no less than Arteta would have done this season.

Nevertheless, two things occurred when it came to defending. He couldn’t time his tackles right but was aided by the fact that West Ham decided to pump balls via the air which meant that there was little he could do. Later in the match, Diame got through Ramsey really easily thrice in succession. Ramsey cannot play as DM when it comes to the defensive side of things.

 

In a DM position, he showed tenacity and pace but was found rather lacking when it came to tackling and defensive positioning.

 

One thing the younger kids do, as is with Ramsey, is that they yell at each other on the pitch. Ramsey to his credit was calling for the ball over and over. This is especially true when he fell back into space in order to retain the ball as West Ham rolled a 5 man midfield. You need communication like that and one can only hope this encourages the team to be more vocal during a game – not to the referee but with each other.

 

That Crazy 11 Minutes

In came the second half and Arsenal hit West Ham with four goals within 11 minutes. It was incredible but the fans including myself lapped that up. Giroud netted our second to give us a 2-1 lead. It has to be noted that it came from a corner taken by Theo and fed to the near post. Giroud evaded his marker and volleyed it home. It was a great finish from a good corner. I don’t believe I typed that.

 

It was rampant and pleasing. This is the Arsenal we saw a decade ago.

 

West Ham decided to play a high line as they looked for an equalizer but were hit thrice on three successive breaks. A combination of assists from Poldi and Giroud saw Theo, Cazorla and Giroud (second goal) seal an important win with a final score of 5-1. It was rampant and pleasing. This is the Arsenal we saw a decade ago.

 

Potts

Potts went unconscious after a mid air collision with Sagna’s shoulder. There was no foul or card but the impact knocked Potts out and the game was halted for about 12 minutes. This inevitably brought back memories of Fabrice Muamba as 6-7 paramedics rushed on field and oxygen was administered. I never want to see something like that on the pitch again. Nonetheless, both West Ham and Arsenal players looked relaxed and were seen chatting with smiles which suggested that it wasn’t life threatening. He left the Emirates Stadium in an ambulance still unconscious but recovered consciousness soon after.

Here’s hoping for a swift recovery. It might have been a knock out blow akin to what Arteta suffered at Anfield last season. Speedy recovery, Potts.

 

Poldi & Giroud

It was a vintage game from Arsenal’s summer signings. Giroud did well both in attack and defense  His support play was excellent and he fully deserved his double. It has to be noted again that Giroud will score with only certain types of deliveries and situations. We delivered good crosses into the box today and he did the rest.

 

It has to be noted again that Giroud will score with only certain types of deliveries and situations. We delivered good crosses into the box today and he did the rest.

 

Poldi continued his good form from the Swansea game by clinching the equalizer with an unstoppable swerving shot outside the box. His all round contribution up front was stellar and is my man of the match.

Poldi: A man of the match performance.

Poldi: A man of the match performance.

 

Cazorla & Wilshere

One could see that the understanding between the two has improved as they managed to push past a physical West Ham side. Cazorla made a couple of good interceptions and also managed to dribble and speed past his bigger markers. Wilshere as usual drove forward and Cazorla made the most of West Ham’s affixation with Wilshere. Both of them were interchanging well which made things tougher for West Ham.

However, I won’t go with this 3 man midfield. As stated above, Ramsey cannot play as DM and we need a second Arteta in a bigger body. With this result, it does make you wonder if we will sign someone in the next 7 days.

 

Satisfying

It was a great game. We turned up for both halves and should have had the lead in the first, if not for some mistakes in the final third and an effort being cleared off the line. But it all turned right in the second half as the team hammered home 4 goals. The injury to Potts meant that players had a second ‘mini’ half time of 12 minutes. Also, the match was played at a much slower pace with intent on both sides to just finish it without pushing too hard.

Liverpool awaits in 7 days and the Arsenal roulette rolls on. Today was a good day.

 



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