Thursday, 24 January 2013

Podolski, Giroud and Ramsey star in tonking -Wenger off to phone Villa?

Morning Gooners!

Well that was exactly what the doctor ordered. After just one league point in January, we've now gained the victory which has put us four points behind Spurs.

It was a fantastic team performance. From back to front all the players put in a shift Arsene Wenger can rightly feel proud of. Clearly his meeting with the players on Monday went down well and they've responded well to his words.

From the off we played at the right tempo. There would be no sloppy start to the game which we've seen in our most recent matches. The passing was good with two/three touches, pass then move into space.

Lucas Podolski returned to the side after sickness and he was one of two changes the manager made from the Chelsea defeat. Aaron Ramsey also came into the starting line up and played alongside Jack Wilshere in the deep-lying midfield role.

Podolski seemed up for it and was full of running. But the standout player for me in the first 45 minutes was Ramsey. He seemed to be everywhere. Making good tackles, distributing the ball foward and saving a goal-bound effort on the line.

It was a shame we went a goal down. Giroud clearing header only went as far as Collison who beat Szczesny from outside the area with a powerful drive.

Within four minutes we were back on level terms. Podolski finding the back of the net with  a powerful left foot shot from outside the area. Wilshere with the assist for the German.

And he could have had a second had he not been off balance when put through by Gibbs with ten minutes of the half remaining. The right foot shot was weak and gobbled up by Jaaskelainen.

We could have gone in at half time a goal down. Sagna's header didn't reach any distance and hit Taylor. Cole reacted quickly and prodded past Szczesny. Ramsey and Vermaelen raced back to clear off the line and the Welshman got the ball away but injured Vermaelen in the process. The captain hobbled on.

Cazorla's free kick from the right with his left foot saved by Jaaskelainen was the last action of the first half.

A one touches pass move at the start of the second half  saw Theo Walcott put in a very dangerous cross which was turned behind for a corner. Gibbs won a second corner which Walcott took from the left.

As per usual he didn't beat the first man. But he didn't need to. Mertesacker creating the space at the front post which allowed Olivier Giroud to sprint into and slot home first goal of the year.

Six minutes later we saw our third. Podolski playing a one-two with Giroud, who finds Cazorla with a chest down. The Spaniard back healed the ball into the net.

And a minute later we had our fourth. Podolski racing on to the ball on the left and then finding Walcott racing along the right flank. He played an inch perfect ball into Theo's path who slammed the ball home.

And then Giroud had his second of the match. Szczesny made a long throw to Wilshere who finds Podolski free on the left. He powers down the flank and finds Giroud who finds the back of the net.

Immediately the manager makes a change with us leading 5-1. Bringing Laurent Koscielny on for Thomas Vermaelen, who the manager says will be short for the trip to Brighton on Saturday. The captain's armband was immediately given to Jack wilshere.

Arsenal didn't give up fighting even with the scoreline the way it was. with more than a third of the game to go, the players wanted more.

With one goal and three assists to his name, Podolski was as usual substitued for Andre Santos with twenty minutes to go. And Alex Oxlade Chamberlain came on for Giroud.

The remainder of the match was over when Dan Potts was injured in an aerial clash with Bacary Sagna. He came off and West Ham were down to ten men for the remainder of the match.

Clearly a fantastic team performance crowned by a man of the match display by Podolski. The German has not yet been able to constantly reach the highs which we know he's capible of but I thought he was outstanding last night, playing his best game in an Arsenal shirt. He showed us all exactly what has made him win 100 caps by the age of 27.

Olivier Giroud has his critics but last night was a good game for him to get his name on the score sheet. We certainly need him to take more of the chances which are created for him. Last night he was very good in front of goal.

Also I thought that Aaron Ramsey had a excellent game in midfield. He had our most successful passes and only misplaced one of the 57 passes he made to a team mate in the second half. An amazing stat. And in the final third he was the player who completed the most successful passes. He also won both of the tackles he went in for.

It's great to get back to winning ways. We had lots of shots and half of our efforts on target turned into goals. I know it's just one game against a West Ham team who has a very poor away record. But  I hope this will put us on the right track. It's clear that when we start games with a positive attitude we can perform like we did last night.

Brighton away on Saturday is another important game. Let's keep them momentum going and get another win there. After that we've two vital home games which we need to take six points on. We can't let one win cloud our judgement. This team is very Jekyll and Hyde. A win last night shouldn't cloud anyone's judgements that reinforcements aren't needed. There is a week remaining of the transfer window and we need to get at least a couple of players in.

The manager cut his post match press conference short saying he needed to attend to "some work". I just hope that he's going to get the deal in place to bring a top class centre forward to the club. It's clear David Villa wants out of Barcelona. Let's go and get him Arsene, he's exactly the type of player we need.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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