So Arsenal returned to the summit of the EPL table with a win over West Ham with Liverpool going down expectedly at the Etihad to Manchester City. After four matches in all competitions without a win and slipping to second spot though it was on goal’s difference, we knew we had to bounce back and considering the fact that Liverpool were set to do battle with City and Chelsea, Arsenal needed to make the most of the slip that would happen to at least one of the rivals.
It wasn’t a straight forward victory but a keenly contested affair just as was expected of a London derby. The Hammers stormed to the lead through Charlton Cole after Szczesny had fumbled a shot. At that point, it looked like Arsenal’s profligacy in front of goal was going to be punished by West Ham but a fortuitous and inspiring substitution by Wenger resulted in a brace from Walcott and a goal from returning Podolski which capped a deserved victory.
Of course, the final scoreline is a well known fact but my thoughts from the match is still a mystery that only me can unravel and I share them here.
Wasteful Giroud – the Frenchman was guilty of spurning glaring chances in the first half. It seems the Frenchman has lost form as he has been struggling in front of goal in recent times. He was also guilty of missing glaring chances against Chelsea that could have won the Gunners maximum points. What could be wrong with him? Seems he is jaded and needs a breather. Wenger would do well to rest him for a couple of games. I guess we can do without him for a short while now that we have Podolski back from injury. Contrary to the held sentiments that he isn’t good enough to lead the line for Arsenal, I believe he is but only needs some time to recharge his drained batteries.
Podolski’s return is a welcome one – the German international has been missing in action for over four months and after been kept wrapped in cotton wool since his return, he played for the first time against West Ham and what an appearance he had. His presence rejuvenated the side and he personally had a hand in two of the goals, assisting one and scoring another. With him showing such fun, guess Wenger can now afford to give Giroud a most deserved rest.
Arsenal need to shoot more – Arsenal struggled to get goals against West Ham not because they didn’t have enough of the ball but they were often times guilty of too much passing. That style could work against an attacking team not against a team that opts to park the bus. If Arsenal had taken more shots, they would have scored more goals in some matches they have fired blank. Podolski showed his teammates how it is done with his rocket shot that gave Arsenal the third goal.
Cazorla back to form – the Spaniard’s form has been here and there this season but it was good to see him firing on all cylinders against the Hammers. He was full of running with his trademark flicks, tricks and shots. His patch form was covered by Ozil and Ramsey’s form but now the Ozil is struggling for form, it would be good to see Cazorla step up the plate. Ozil needs a rest and Ramsey is injured, it is time for Cazorla to take the center stage.
Ramsey’s injury – the Welshman has been Arsenal’s most improved player this season and one of the best midfielders in the league. Yesterday, he sustained a thigh injury and Wenger has revealed that he is set to miss the remainder of the festive fixtures. Well, Ramsey’s absence means more games for Rosicky and Wilshere. It is good that Wilshere has already served his ban so he can step up to replace his British compatriot.