Thursday, December 7, 2023

West Ham 1-3 Arsenal: back on top

Match reportBy the numbers  – Player ratingsVideo

I am crumpened. But, we are top of the league. This pleases me greatly at this festive time of the year. Instead of a long-form blog about stuff (which I feel is a bit beyond me), I’m going to break it down into easy (for me) sections so I can try and make sense of it it all.

First half

Walloped them. Should have been ahead. Walcott side-footed wide after a brilliant Aaron Ramsey pass. I’m no striker but I definitely would have scored that. Go across goal.

Giroud was half a yard off everything. Timing is so important in football and his internal clock had stopped overnight. There were great crosses from Sagna, Ozil and Gibbs, and each time he failed to connect in a meaningful way. When sent through, on his favoured left foot, he looked like he needed lessons from Christy Brown. He dragged a shot a long way wide when he, at least, should have worked the goalkeeper.

Santi tried, fizzed a shot over the bar. The little man looks like he’s coming back into form, finding his range.

Second half

Oh, Theo is running with great purpose. Cutting a yellow and blue swathe through those Hammers. He’s got men to choose from. Does he pass it to the man on his left or the man to his right? We must score here. BUT WHY HAS HE PASSED IT TO A WEST HAM PLAYER?!

Then they go upfield, Kevin Nolan takes time out of his busy maiming the opposition schedule and takes a shot on goal, Szczesny fumbles and Carlton Cole scores. I have to admit, I found that whole passage of play quite disgusting. Like when you get an overly clovey bit of Christmas ham. Bleurgh. Just horrible. Everyone involved should be beaten about the belly with a wet fish to teach them a lesson.

Then West Ham start believing in themselves. What are we to give them such a gift? We weren’t even in Santa’s red and white. Joey O’Brien quite Joeyly missed a header from about 6 yards and then Carlton Cole almost scored again, hooking wide when he should have doubled the lead. Think about that: Carlton Cole, football’s equivalent of that thing you get when you bite too much of your fingernail off and it hurts, almost scored two goals against us.

We huffed and puffed and couldn’t blow their house down. Santi had a shot, the keeper saved it and then Ozil hit the rebound straight at him when he had the whole goal to aim at. It felt like it might be one of those days, especially when Aaron Ramsey pulled a muscle (as footballers do, will do, and always have done). But on came Podolski, like a German Alan Partridge, AHA, the sun always shined on my TV.

He had little to do with the first, however. As much as Theo annoyed me with his contribution to the West Ham goal, I am a massive fan of his new technique which is bamboozling keepers from north to south. The trick is this: hit the ball at them with such little velocity that they become confused as to what’s actually going on. It happened at Man City, Pantimillions was rooted to the spot as Theo’s bobbler bumbled into the net at a speed of 3.4kmh, and yesterday he did it again.

Picking up the ball inside the area he cut in on his left foot, sort of kicked it towards the West Ham keeper who failed to understand the concept of a ball moving that slowly, and before he knew it the ball was in the net. It’s a wonderful thing he’s got going on there, and it’s always fun to see new things.

Then Podolski got going. A cross from the left skidded off the head of some West Ham fella and Walcott was there to head home powerfully (the variation keeps the opposition on their toes), and he almost scored when Cazorla played him in over the top but Aaaaadriaaaaaaaan (splendid work, folks) smothered well.

The Pod wasn’t to be denied, however, and he lashed home a left footed effort to seal the points after Giroud had laid the ball of nicely to him on the edge of the box. His enjoyment of the goal was fantastic too, after such a long time out it must be great to come back and make a decisive contribution in your first game. Goldi Poldi Hallelujah, I say.

Three goals, three points, and back on top of the league. Not to mention the Walrus would have been extremely unhappy and his misery made my Christmas even better.

Other stuff

Giroud: well, he didn’t have a good game and looks like a man struggling for form and confidence. I’m certainly an advocate of trying to sign a striker in January (although Podolski could be the man to fill that gap), but his role in getting us where we are this season seems to be overlooked by many. He’s never going to be the world’s best, and he does need to start scoring with more regularity, but some of the stuff directed at him seems a bit harsh to me.

The same with people saying it’s good that Ramsey is injured because he’s been below par for a few games. How fickle they are. The club’s top scorer (lest we forget) has fallen short of his own high standards and all of a sudden people are ok with him missing games through injury?! The short-termism is bananas. Yes, a bit of a rest might do him good, but we play every three days and we need as many bodies fit and healthy as possible.

Still, events yesterday leave us top of the league on our own and that’s a place I like to be. A day or two of rest and we do it all again, away to Newcastle. That’s gonna be a tough one but then they all are really. Onwards and upwards again folks.

Related articles

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast