Football

Arsenal recover to beat struggling West Ham

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Walcott and Podolski scored the goals for the visitors. (©GettyImages)
Walcott and Podolski scored the goals for the visitors. (©GettyImages).

West Ham v Arsenal was a miserable Boxing Day encounter of two sides from the opposite ends of the Premier League table.

Both teams struggled to impose themselves on the game in the first half, with most of the likely chances being created by West Ham.

Arsenal looked painfully tired and stuck in second gear throughout the first-half, with Aaron Ramsey failing to land trick after trick. Mesut Özil had looked his usual self, the relaxed VIP in the middle of a flowing game.

As opportunity after opportunity was squandered by Olivier Giroud, the physical nature and speed of the game began to show.

The fact that Arsenal hadn't gone down to 1-0 earlier can be attributed to Mikel Arteta's outstanding contribution.

As the second half opened, West Ham came out with more belief, creating a lovely flowing game that had migrated from wing to wing, pulling the Arsenal defence apart.

After West Ham's goal that was notched by Carlton Cole, Ramsey managed to pull a muscle and was withdrawn, allowing Santi Cazorla to play through the middle.

Ramsey's substitute, Lukas Podolski, had been brought onto the pitch to help out with Arsenal a goal down away from home.

This had a transforming effect, with Cazorla masterfully alternating between deadly-precise long balls out to the wing and darting-little runs through the middle.

As West Ham desperately tried to cover the full-back positions, Cazorla's intricate ball-work was too much to handle.

The first goal was one of those runs through the middle that had enabled Walcott to dummy the defence and slip through a cheeky nut-meg shot.

The second goal came from the ever-improving Kieran Gibbs' cross, taking a slight deflection for Walcott to head home.

At this point, the game had fully turned in Arsenal's favour, as the visitors created chance after chance while enjoying themselves in full-flow.

The visitors looked slightly cautious for the next couple of minutes as West Ham tried desperately to get back into the game.

As waves of West Ham attack became weaker, one of the less likely Arsenal chances was put away by Podolski. reminding us all of the quality he possesses.

This game showed the desperate need for Arsenal to rotate the midfield continuously to allow their players time to recover.

Personally, I think the removal of Ramsey and Cazorla's re-positioning was the catalyst to a free-flowing game that Arsenal had missed in their last couple of matches.

With Ramsey putting pressure on himself to re-create his early-season brilliance causing more problems than it's worth, perhaps it's time to let the little magical Spaniard remind the Arsenal fans why they chant his name.

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Topics:
Premier League
Arsenal
Football
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