By Walter Broeckx
A lot of changes for this match compared to our last game at Manchester United. Some expected some maybe not.
David Ospina starting in goal is not a real surprise. Calum Chambers starting at right back is maybe also understandable because young Hector Bellerin having played a lot of games recently.
Santi Cazorla got some well deserved rest and Aaron Ramsey came in his place. Up front we see Theo Walcott taking the place of the injured Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud starting in the place of Danny Welbeck.
Team that started : Ospina, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud. On the bench we had : Szczesny, Gibbs, Bellerin, Flamini, Cazorla, Welbeck, Akpom.
West Ham trying to apply a high pressure high up and all over the field from the start. But a fine passing move brings Theo free in front of the keeper but sees him hacked down but well… as usual the ref sees nothing in it. That was a clear penalty and as it was the last defender should have been a rec card within 4 minutes. Typical Foy messing up in the penalty area.
Lots of possession for Arsenal against West Ham that now defended with all 1 players deep in their half. Not many chances for Arsenal for now. A few half chances and a good header from Alexis but an equally good safe from the keeper. A free kick from Özil causing a few dangerous moments in front of the West Ham goal but nobody could pull the trigger. Out of the blue then the first attack from West Ham when a player escaped on the right hand side of our defence but Ospina could push the resulting shot from Nolan away.
A decent attack then but the shot from Giroud ended up in the side net. Another fine attack and Chambers with a cross but the ball came at knee height for Ramsey and so the speed was out of the ball and the keeper could save it. Still 0-0 after half an hour.
Walcott send away by Ramsey but his shot was straight at the keeper. Meanwhile Alexis over hitting his crosses most of the time. Some good work on the right flank ending up with a cross to Alexis whose shot is saved. In the next attack Alexis handled the ball and he got a yellow card. Not much to argue about that.
Sakho then suddenly away but Per stuck a foot against it. From the resulting corner Arsenal break but again enough West Ham defenders around to stop the Arsenal efforts. Theo rightly being called back from offside when Giroud blocked a clearance. Seconds later Özil with a shot and the rebound fell to Theo who slipped and shot over.
We had enough chances in the first half but our finishing letting us down and the ref …….. right when I was typing this another good attack over Özil, Ramsey ending up with a a fierce shot from Giroud that ended up in the top corner of the goal. Unstoppable for the keeper. Finally!
So we did get our reward with a goal in the last minute of the first half. Completely deserved! 1-0 to the Arsenal after 45 minutes.
Arsenal with some early attacks in the second half but the first moment of not was when Sakho bundled over Ospina and caught him with the knee on the head. Not really intentional but a clear foul on the keeper. West Ham showing some will to go forward in the opening minutes of the second half. And the Arsenal passing not as good in this stage. Mertesacker with an excellent block before West Ham can have a shot on goal. Meanwhile Foy looking injured and …. Taylor warming up.
A few corners to West Ham and Jarvis shooting over. And then Taylor came on the field in the place of the injured Foy. Still just more than half an hour to go.
The game now opening up. A dangerous Arsenal attack is followed by a dangerous West Ham attack but the cross from Song goes over. A good combination over the left flank but Özil was offside. Welbeck came in the place of Alexis after 65 minutes. Taylor penalising Theo for being an Arsenal player on the pitch.
An attack with several shooting options but Özil passed it to Theo who gave it to Ramsey but his volley went wide. Welbeck waiting a bit too long to give the pass and then over hits it. After 71 minutes Santi Cazorla came in the place of Walcott.
And another attack from Arsenal ends up with an offside, this time Monreal. A bit of over elaborating at times it seems. Cazorla being pushed against another West Ham player and getting a foul against him. Yes, this is Taylor. Some replays so I missed a foul from Sakho for which he got booked. An elbow signalled by the assistant. A kick in the stomach of Giroud goes unpunished. Collins with a last ditch attempt before Ramsey can pull the trigger. From the throw in the ball goes to Giroud who lets it go to Ramsey, Ramsey in to Giroud back to Ramsey and Aaron with the oh so important 2-0 after 81 minutes.
After that Flamini comes on for Özil. A great attack on the left with Santi very much involved. Again a good chip from Giroud back to Santi who squares it on front of the goal and Flamini with his first touch can walk it over the line. 3-0 to the Arsenal after 84 minutes.
Welbeck almost with a 4th but a defender just could divert it in corner. Arsenal now taking the foot of the pedal. The match was won. Welbeck the one with the most desire to go for a 4th goal. Coquelin with the desire to make sure that West Ham would not score with an amazing well timed tackle. Welbeck with a good header but the keeper could save it.
A good win against a team that came to defend and tried to prevent a high score line. We had to be patient and attentive. Giroud showing his worth again with a good taken goal, an assist and an pre-assist.
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