Well that was much more like it. A convincing 3-0 win over a fairly disinterested West Ham made sure we kept pace with Man City and put a litle bit of pressure on United as they face their bi-annual win over Sp*rs later on.
The line-up was as expected and the performance from the lads a far cry from that against Ipswich. Robin van Persie started up front and at last showed the kind of form we’ve been hoping for from him. In midfield West Ham were fairly toothless without Scott Parker and when they lost Mark Noble the players who remained had no answer to the Cesc – Song – Wilshere triumvirate.
It was from there we dominated the game, Cesc pulling the strings from an attacking point of view more often than not, while Wilshere and Song broke up play and got us going time and time again. The combination worked brilliantly well and allowed the two ‘holding’ players to get forward at times too.
The first goal came in the 13th minute, we spread the ball from left to right, finding Theo Walcott in the final third. He ambled towards the edge of the box, Wayne Bridge stood watching and when Theo rolled a ball into the area Nasri stepped over it allowing van Persie to slam it home with that chocolate leg of his. A fine finish and a well worked goal.
You could see West Ham heads go down at that point but they did have a chance to get back into it. Johan Djourou was the man in charge of our self-destruct button and his back pass gave Carlton Cole the opportunity to level. Wojscez©® made a great save though – again reminiscent of Schmeichel Sr the way he made himself big – and as the ball came back in the West Ham player fired over. Poor from Djourou but he’s been outstanding in recent games and the odd dodgy game is inevitable. Good for us it happened in one we won comfortably.
The rest of the half was all Arsenal. Theo had a brilliant chance but couldn’t quite get the bouncing ball under control with just Green to beat, some beautiful football between Song, Cesc and RVP created a chance for the former but West Ham got back just in time to defend, Nasri and Cesc combined but the Frenchman’s shot was just over and after a brilliant ball by Nasri only the post stopped van Persie putting Arsenal further ahead.
The second goal was coming and it arrived just before half-time. Clichy played a ball over the top, West Ham looked for offside but RVP was anything but, he pulled it back, Wayne Bridge was wrong-footed and Walcott arrived at pace to make it 2-0. No less than we deserved and that’s Theo’s 1oth goal of the season.
The second half was fairly routine stuff, punctuated only by me trying to cope with Chris Waddle referring to us constantly as ‘Arzel’ on the stream I was watching, and then, of course, we got a ‘pelanty’.
“Denifite pelanty for Arzel”, said Waddle. “That’s a siyll talkul form Wanye Birdge. A clusmy channelge and efferee’s got no choice expect to give the pelanty”.
Robin van Persie stepped up, fired it to Green’s right and made it 3-0 to the Arsenal. Jack Wilshere almost got the goal his performance deserved but Green made a good save and in the end it was easy-peasy for Arsenal. Three goals, three points, and definitely a step in the right direction after Wednesday night.
Afterwards Arsene said:
We had a good, mature performance today. It was a convincing win. In fact we are on a very strong run in the Premier League because we beat Chelsea, won twice 3-0 away from home and a convincing 0-0 against Man City at home. So overall we are on a strong run.
Ok, I’m ignoring the bit about a ‘convincing 0-0’. I know what he means, but still. Nevertheless today is no time for nit-picking. In every game you can dissect it and find something to complain about if you really want to but a 3-0 win away from home is good stuff. Sure, West Ham were poor, playing like a team that knows their manager has a noose around his neck, but that kind of situation hasn’t stopped us making life more difficult for ourselves before.
So credit to the team for taking the chances and making sure we took the three points. Individually there were lots of good performances, Wayne Bridge in particular had a cracking game for us, but it was nice to see Robin van Persie show up and not only score goals but contribute so much in terms of all his all-round play. Let’s just keep everything crossed that he can stay fit between now and the end of the season.
The result and performance will also be a nice fillip ahead of the trip to Elland Road on Wednesday. We need the same again and despite the fact he’s definitely going to make some changes I wonder, at this early stage, if they’ll be as numerous as last time. Plenty of time to look ahead to that game in the days ahead.
Right, on to a quick round-up of the stories making the headlines this Sunday. The Mirror is linking us with a move for either Chris Samba or Gary Cahill. Apparently Arsene can’t decide which one he wants more. Also in the Mirror more on Wilson Oxencart-Neville-Chamberlain, or whatever he’s called, and a PSV winger who, judging by the photo, ought to be a serial killer of some kind.
And finally from the place a story about how a new sponsor might result in a summer tour, which will be interesting. We know how Arsene has rejected them in the past, preferring the quiet tranquility of Austria to money-spinning, long distance showcases.
The Daily Star talks in very certain terms about The Ox but then the Daily Star also said we’d certainly signed Joe Cole. They also have a story about Patrick Vieira becoming part of the coaching staff in the summer. Paddy is set to hang up his boots and the idea of him being part of the set-up is a bit mouthwatering. Imagine what he could teach the kids about trying to move to Real Madrid. I kid, I kid.
Finally The Mail says we’ve been priced out of a move for Gary Cahill with the boss not willing to pay any more than £8m. Samba it is then. Or Upson. Or Johnny Nobody.
Right, have yourselves a good Sunday. More tomorrow.