A very hard fought victory today at the Emirates against a team who defended well and seemed to have Superman as their goalkeeper for the most part.
Arsenal playing at the Emirates faced the last placed West Ham with 6 points, and we were on a high after beating Manchester City 3-0 and Newcastle 4-0, and expecting an easy win even with a number of injuries limiting our team.
Fabianski was in goal, Squillaci and Koscielny in central defense, Sagna and Clichy defending the wings, and Song, Denilson, Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin and Chamakh pulling the strings up front.
We would have hoped for a good start but we didn’t get it with a lot of play in the middle and down our end of the pitch with resilient West Ham defending pressing us off the ball. Arshavin had a shot but missed 7 minutes into the game and Song came close about 15 minutes in with a header off a corner but both shots were off target, and West Ham limited Arsenal’s chances not allowing the red shirts much room in their own half.
Boa Morte made West Ham’s first real chance following a cut back but skied his effort signalling their intentions this game and following that some nice build up play saw Sagna cut it back for Fabregas who’s first time shot was well saved by Robert Green.
This game was really played in the central areas of the park with not many chances created but with a fair share of fouls but West Ham had one where Noble blasted it at goal only for it to go straight to Fabianski who parried it away. Arsenal replied minutes later with a shot by Song well saved again by Green. Squillaci had a well struck header tipped over the bar by the Hammers goalkeeper looking for a clean sheet as the two sides went in level pegging, not a half time result many were hoping or looking for before the match. We would want to capitalise on Manchester City and Chelsea’s short comings with both teams also level in their respective matches at half time as well.
The second half however saw a new Arsenal coming to form as West Ham began looking for a goal. As Arsenal kept banging on Green’s door he somehow pulled off save after save to deny the Gunners. Arshavin began our shooting for the half hitting a shot wide of the mark, as Nasri smashed the bar from an excellent free kick from over 30 yards out, Fabregas kept hounding West Ham’s defense with excellent shots prompting the Hammers to hastily block and defend, as West Ham couldn’t get a say in until Parker scared us with a well hit shot. Walcott’s contribution to the game soon became clear with him hitting the post as Fabregas, Nasri and Chamakh also forced saves from Green who couldn’t put a foot wrong today. West Ham were looking to score more as they found themselves pushing further up the pitch thinking that they could possibly win this game.
As the match wound down to the last 10 minutes Fabregas and Walcott kept our momentum going forcing more saves from Green, until Arsenal found themselves working the ball around the pitch, looking for gaps and the first and only goal came through in the 88th minute as Clichy found the ball on the left hand side, faked a cross with his left and cutting to the right. He lifted a ball into the centre of the box that Green couldn’t get in time, and with a diving header Song found the back of the net again, adding to his tally accumulated from recent games such as against Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Plenty of successful desperate Arsenal defending ensured the game was won for the Gunners, proving that they can be Premier League champions with not necessarily a classy win today but a hard fought one against the team entrenched to the foot of the table, West Ham United.
As Manchester City lose to Wolves this puts Arsenal 2nd on the ladder behind Chelsea who won against Blackburn today, and with Manchester United to play as well this week but needing over four goals to win in order to leapfrog us 2nd place is all but secured for the Arsenal today.