In the grand scheme of things, picking up 3 points against West Ham at home isn’t major news. Considering the circumstances last night, those three points tasted pretty damn sweet.
I really don’t care if West Ham are garbage
I really don’t care if we didn’t play scintillating pass and move football
I really don’t care that it took 50 minutes to get into the train station after
All that mattered last night was taking three points and chalking off one more game of this season. The ball is now firmly back in Everton’s court, which is superb.
I had this crazy notion that West Ham would come with some sort of structured game plan. They’ve had a week off, Sam Allardyce is on records as saying he could manage Real Madrid and we’ve seen countless times this year how you can play against Arsenal and succeed.
Well, I needn’t have worried. My West Ham pals who hate Sam Allardyce were right, he didn’t come with much punch. His players pressed us for about 4 minutes, then they gave up. From there, it felt like they just tried to hold some sort of shape and hit us on the break.
I can’t deny that for the first 30 minutes they gave us problems. They used the width of the pitch well… as in they sprayed the ball wide, the shame for them was that they didn’t have a final ball. Stewart Downing’s final ball really is a car crash.
They managed to find a breakthrough on 40minutes which was depressing. Nocerino had his shot parried form down the left, the ball bounced up neatly where Jarvis was on hand to no the ball home. That didn’t really do much for the mood in the ground, which to be honest was pretty buoyant considering how bad it was at the FA Cup. When I say buoyant, I mean like the atmosphere when the violins are playing on the sinking Titanic.
Before the boos could ring out for half time, Cazorla slipped in Podolski who had made his way into the centre of the box, he smashed his shot low and hard into the bottom corner. It was a bit disappointing he made a conscious decision not to celebrate.
Come on Lukas, that fans love you, even if Arsene doesn’t.
The second half had a bit more zip to it. We found our feet and West Ham kind of looked liked they couldn’t be arsed with the day. We picked up our second goal when Vermaelen pumped a ball into the box from range, Giroud brought it down sublimely and buried it home for our second.
We were standing right in the line of the shot, it was either a stroke of genius, or he accidentally brought made the greatest touch of all time. Whatever it was, it looked fantastic and sexy. The celebration for the 96 was nice as well. Touching and classy for a Frenchman who’d only just read up on what happened.
Arsenal brought on Ramsey who was a breath of fresh Welsh air. He sees everything a second faster than everyone else. His energy, enthusiasm to drive forward and the conviction of his play was a welcome addition to the game. His nodded assist to Podolski personified his cameo. It was so good, I don’t even think Lukas was expecting it, fair play to him though, his turn and smash was instinctive and smart.
Arsenal saw out the game 3-1 and pushed the pressure back onto Everton who have a tricky Palace team next.
I think we need 3 wins and draw to make sure of qualification. I can’t see Everton beating City, United and Southampton and I really think Palace will take the game to them. I’m not sure many Everton fans are too confident of 4th either. This is our speciality. 4th place is our trophy. From now on in, we’ll have top quality players dropping back into the fold.
I thought he had a very solid game last night considering he’d just played 120minutes 3 days before. If he was looked after a bit better in the season, he’d be a real asset. I think the problem we have is that he’s too much of a first team player, which at his age isn’t really working. We need to bolster around him. Next season, make sure he’s just a really top squad player.
Sometimes he’s on song, sometimes he’s nowhere. He needs to find a consistent level to his game. I don’t think he’s helped by the balance of our team. Players like Santi and Ozil need people running in behind and they need powerful men behind them doing the dirty work. I think we work these players too hard in situations they’re not comfortable with.
Kind of felt he was trying to make a point last night. Though he is effective at times from outwide, he’s never going to be the man who tracks back. It’s not his game, much in the same way it wasn’t Andrey’s. I think Arsene really does have to assess the type of wide player he buys. Namely, stop buying central players and playing them out of position. It doesn’t work. We need people who are willing to track and we need players who are happy outwide.
Lukas could play off Giroud in a 4-4-2. But he’s not capable in that loan striker role. I feel we’ve wasted him a but over the years. However, he’s not a player you build a team round if you want to compete at the highest level. His problem is that he struggles in a modern system.
So onwards and upwards people… 10 more points to retrieve.