Arsenal 5 West Ham United 1

After disappointing back to back losses, Arsenal reordered their first Premiership victory of 2013 with a scintillating 5-1 thrashing of West Ham United at the Emirates stadium. This being the Arsenal of late however, their was an early shock when the visitors took the lead, though Jack Collison. Lukas Podolski then produced a stunning leveller for 1-1, before the Gunners took complete control. A brace from Olivier Giroud, – one goal either side of strikes from Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott completed the 5-1 rout, that puts Arsenal just four points off the Champions League places. West Ham’s disappointing night got worse when Dan Potts suffered a head injury which required lengthy pitchside treatment, and would eventually see the youngster requiring admission to hospital.

Arsene Wenger had played down the recent the team meeting where he stressed the importance of achieving Champions League football next season. But whatever was said then seemed to have resonated with his team. Arsenal wanted to play football in the style so starved to the Emirates crowd of late, and this display would suggest that the penny has finally dropped. The Gunners simply must be firing from the off.

The visitors did produce an early scare. Arsenal couldn’t clear a corner, and Collison was on hand to smash the ball past a stranded Wojciech Szczesny after 18 minutes. Despondency did not settle in the Gunners’ ranks however and four minutes later, they were level.

Jack Wilshere found Podolski, and from all of 25 yards, and with defenders closing in, the German struck past Jussi Jaaskelainen, into the bottom right hand corner of the visitor’s goal to net goal number eleven in his first season in England.

As if sensing the urgency of the task ahead, Arsenal stepped up the pace and should have taken a first half lead moments later, but Walcott saw his cross cleared by James Tomkins. Midway though the first half and a neat move again should have been capitalised on by Podolski, but Joey O’ Brien cleared his effort off the line.

Carlton Cole reminded us of the Hammers’ danger, getting the better of the Gunners’ rearguard, but an alert Thomas Vermaelen and Aaron Ramsey raced back with the latter clearing the ball away.

Two minutes after the interval, Arsenal took a lead they were never to relinquish. Walcott’s corner found Giroud to volley home into the net for his tenth goal of the season. Arsenal sensed the Hammers’ weakness and duly produced the type of football that could put any team to the sword.

Giroud and Podolski set up Cazorla whose back heel was too good for Jaaskelainen to make it 3-1 after 53 minutes. Barely a minute later and Podolski raced away on the left, before looking up to set up Walcott for his tenth Premiership strike of the season.

Podolski was on hand just past the hour mark to set up Giroud who poked the ball home for a 5-1 scoreline. Further chances went begging as Oxlade – Chamberlain and Cazorla went close, but the Gunners did not add to the scoreline.

Wenger was suitably impressed with the performance of his men, and Podolski in particular.

” He had an outstanding game tonight. He scored a very important goal. He has an unbelievable shot because the keeper had no chance. After he gave of course two great balls as well. What is new for us is that we scored on a corner! It was a bit unusual, ” said Wenger.

” He had a very strong game at West Ham as well. Certainly today it was his most efficient game because I felt he took responsibility at the moment when we needed him. With a player of his experience you expect him to do that. I have plenty of candidates [to play through the centre] but I believe still this is his best position (on the left.)

The Gunners’ manager urged his players to build on this performance and the result at a crucial time in their Premiership game.

” I never felt that the players didn’t know how important it is. I was more worried that they are a bit sometimes inhibited in the recent big games from the start on. But this team has a fantastic mentality and good quality, that’s what we want to show until the end of the season now,” he continued.