Photo Credits: ESPN.com
It was yesterday, Sunday afternoon, our second game in 2 days, our 2nd London derby in two days and I was sleeping. Unlike Spruce I was not there playing FM 14 (lol, who plays FM 14 now?? FM 15 all the way).
* So Mister Spruce edits all posts…and I’m rolling my eyes at Oreva all the way to the ground*
I got up in time to watch the Santi penalty which was a better one than what we saw from Sanchez in the last game against QPR.
Santi does know how to execute them penalties or is it just that West Ham did not have any Spanish Eduardo Vargas to show Adrian where he was gonna put the ball. Anyways, he scored and we took the lead.
Few minutes later , there were passes, The OX makes a nice run down the right flank and executes a low cross that passes between the legs of Arsenal target, Winston Reid (am guessing he just failed his audition ) and guess who was there for the tap in, That Guy Welbz.
Two goals in 3 minutes from our only two shots on target at that point was awesome. I was particularly happy for Welbeck seeing as he has been goal shy for a couple of games now and he had to turn up in the absence of our stubborn boy, Olivier Giroud.
Prior to our 2 goals, Alex Song had a goal disallowed for offside thanks to interference from Kouyate and Sakho. Song already did the respectful thing and did not celebrate when he thought he scored. I still love that guy though.
Song’s still a loyalist and stated his desire to return to the Emirates earlier this season but only to be denied by Wenger. He was so loyal he decided to have a rare bad game for the Hammers yesterday. The West ham captain has been a sensation since returning to the Emirates and we were lucky to catch him on a bad day.
With Koscielny back, Mertesacker looked more confident and the entire defence looked stable save for the left back position where Amalfitano was making a meal off Monreal. I don’t know about you but I think Monreal has had better performances playing at central back than he has at left fullback this season.
Back to the game, I must commend Wenger’s choice to play with two holding Midfielders in Flamini and Coquelin. They both curtailed the Hammers and held the midfield well and it was a Christmas miracle that Flamini finished the game without a booking.
Sadly, there was to be no clean sheet for us again as Kouyate pulled one back for the Hammers early in the second half. This goal somehow gave West Ham the illusion that they could pull one back to draw the game or maybe even get a winner and they started pressing with all the long balls and all.
For a change, the win was not about Arsenal’s precision in attack but their determination and courage at the back, helped by Laurent Koscielny, back for only his second appearance during nearly three months of problems with his Achilles tendons.
We held on, missed a couple of chances which would have sealed the game for us but just like QPR we held on till the end and ran away with the 3 points. West Ham owe their goalkeeper, Adrian as he produced a string of saves to thwart Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanchez and Cazorla, while Welbeck, having scored his first goal for nearly a month, dragged a couple of decent chances wide of the target.
Two goals in three minutes just before half-time were enough to clinch victory at West Ham and, although more clinical finishing would have given the score-line a healthier glow, we have emerged from two London derbies in three days with six points.
Truth be told, we still looked really shaky in defence and looked like we were gonna break under pressure if the game had gone on any longer. The 3 points all the more interesting as everyone around us dropped points. It sure was a good day.
Arsenal finished the game with the only six senior defenders in the first-team squad all on the pitch.
‘We need to be stable defensively,’ said Wenger. ‘We’ve missed important players at the back.
‘I felt Coquelin played well. He tired but in the first half in was very influential. It was a gamble but his passing was quick and sharp through the lines.’
‘We had a solid, combative and united performance from the first to the last minute,’ said the Arsenal boss. ‘We made more chances and deserved to win the game – a positive, committed and direct game. Everyone did their job well. We were a bit jaded and had to dig deep.’
A win at Southampton on New Year’s Day and Arsenal will be back in the top four. We are 13 points behind leaders Chelsea and expect key players like Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey back next month.
Its gonna be very tasty to see how Wenger tinkers with the squad when we have everyone back fit.
Arsenal have now won 11 games at West Ham, more than any other side in Premier League history. It was West Ham’s eighth Premier League defeat in a row to Arsenal