A trip to Dubai for some warm weather training earlier in the week failed to prevail, as Arsenal defeated Sam Allardyce’s West Ham side 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
The Gunners were chasing their ninth consecutive win over the Hammers. With the east Londoners having only accumulated one win in their last 11, this looked likely.
Five minutes into the game and there were strong appeals for a penalty. Winger Theo Walcott took a tumble under the challenge of James Collins, but referee Chris Foy ignored the claims.
Walcott looked lively in the opening moments, with the England winger scoring four and assisting one in his last five games against West Ham.
With most of the possession going to the hosts, goalkeeper Adrian was forced into his first save with 15 minutes on the clock, the Spaniard kept out Alexis Sanchez’s header.
Just after 21 minutes, the visitors forced an attack of their own. An exquisite through ball from Mark Noble allowed Matt Jarvis to deliver an inviting cross for captain Kevin Nolan to strike with a volley, but his effort was well saved by David Ospina. Olivier Giroud then had his first sight at goal, but his shot hit the side netting.
Adrian looked like he was going to be in for a busy afternoon, forcing the ball over the bar from Aaron Ramsey’s volley from Calum Chambers’ cross.
Just as West Ham were starting to cause a threat, Walcott found himself one on one with Adrian, but the keeper pulled off another good block to deny the winger.
West Ham’s shot stopper was having a brilliant game so far, and he produced another superb save to keep out Sanchez’s sublime volley.
Arsenal seemed to have caught Adrian on a very good day. After some typical short passing build-up, Mesut Ozil right footed swing saw the glovesman parry towards Walcott. With the goal gaping, the England somehow put the ball over the bar.
On the stroke of half time, Arsenal finally took the lead. Some sublime one touch football resulted in Oliver Giroud powering a left shot in off the post. This is the Frenchman’s fifth goal in five games against the Irons.
The second half began with West Ham creating a half chance. Matt Jarvis’ cross saw Diafra Sakho knock the ball out of the hands of David Ospina. With the Colombian lying injured, Nolan blazed the rebound over the bar.
The visitors looked to have steadied the ship and piled some pressure on Arsenal. Stewart Downing’s corner fell to Matt Jarvis, who was in acres of space in the penalty area, but the winger took a wild left footed swing at it in what was their best chance of the game.
A substitution was made, but it wasn’t for the players. Referee Chris Foy picked up an injury and was replaced by Anthony Taylor just after the hour mark.
Arsene Wenger decided a change was in order, bringing off £35million man Alexis Sanchez and putting on forward Danny Welbeck.
Welbeck was immediately involved and led an Arsenal counter attack, with Ozil and Ramsey trying their luck at goal in the process, but failing to hit the target. Walcott’s chances of adding to his prolific goal tally against the Hammers ended as he was brought off for Santi Cazorla to come on.
The game was all but settled in the 83rd minute. Some neat and intricate football between Giroud and Ramsey saw the Welshman smashing the ball past Adrian and seal the points for the Gunners.
Flamini came on for Ozil andscored with his first touch of the game when he latched on to Giroud’s low cross.
Danny Welbeck almost notched a fourth at the death with his header saved by Adrian, but Arsenal’s quality eventually shone and West Ham have now on just one in their last 12 games.
Arsenal: Ospina, Chmbers, Mertesacker ©, Koscielny, Monreal; Ramsey, Coquelin; Walcott (Cazorla, 73), Ozil (Flamini, 84), Sanchez (Welbeck 64); Giroud.
Subs Not Used: Szczesny, Gibbs, Bellerin, Akpom.
West Ham: Adrian, O’Brien, Collins, Kouyate, Cresswell; Song, Noble (Nene, 81); Downing, Nolan ©, Jarvis (Amalfitano, 77); Sakho.
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Poyet, Cullen, Onariase.