Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1
(Podolski 44, 78, Giroud 55, Jarvis 40)

Arsenal secured a hard fought victory over West Ham at the Emirates on Tuesday evening. Lukas Podolski struck a goal either side of the break to ease the Gunners’ nerves after Matt Jarvis had given the Hammers the lead after 40 minutes. Podolski levelled four minutes later for a 1-1 half time scoreline. Olivier Giroud’s neat control and touch saw Arsenal take a 2-1 lead after 55 minutes before Podolski finished off with a powerful left footed drive to give the Gunners a two goal cushion which they would not relinquish.

Arsene Wenger made five changes from the side which beat Wigan on penalties at Wembley on Saturday. Laurent Koscileny, Tomas Rosicky, Kim Kallstrom, Giroud and Wojciech Szczesny all started. Thomas Vermaelen was forced to be employed in the left back position, and that was where the visitors sensed a weakness.

Desperate to get the win which would get them back into fourth spot for 24 hours at least, Arsenal made a lively start. Giorud was just inches away from finishing off from Rosicky’s teaser of a cross. An earlier fee flowing move saw Kallstrom pick out Rosicky, and his deep cross just eluded Cazorla who had his line of sight blocked just at the crucial moment.

The Gunners best opportunity to take the lead fell to Giroud on the half hour mark. Cazorla won possession, and his precise pass saw Giroud stay onside. With only Adrian ahead of him, Giroud went for style and not power, as Adrian palmed away the Gunners’ striker’s deft chip with the outside of his boot. As tends to be the way with sides dominating early, and with Arsenal in particular it would seem, with their first sortee into the opposition half, West Ham took the lead.

Antonio Nocerino surged to cross, and as the Arsenal defence panicked, Mathew Jarvis headed in as Per Mertersacker and Szczesny looked on.

There were no immediate signs of panic and when Kallstrom stung Adrian’s fingers which the Hammers’ keeper did well to keep out the Gunners intent was clear. With their next attack, they drew level.

Cazorla intercepted Stewart Downing’s attempted clearance from deep by his corner flag. He found Podloski who turned and left fly with a thunderous left footed drive for the leveller.

Ten minutes after the restart Arsenal took the lead. Cazorla’s corner was cleared but in a more central area, Vermaelen looked up to cross to Giroud. The France striker held off the attentions of Andy Carrol to firstly control and then strike right footed past Adrian for a 2-1 scorleline.

The complexion of the game would now change significantly in Arsenal’s favour. Podolski hit a free kick which Adrian stretched to parry, and after a fast counter attack involving Giroud and Rosicky, Cazorla although forced wide to collect the ball, nevertheless struck a shot just wide of Adrian’s upright.

Aaron Ramsey replaced Rosicky after 63 minutes, and despite his FA Cup semi- final exertions, found the tempo of the game almost immediately. The former Wales captain took a pass from Giroud and struck the ball powerfully, but over Adrian’s bar.

Twelve minutes before the end, Arsenal grabbed a third and perhaps the best team goal of the night. Podolski took the ball and found Ramsey. His pass out to Giroud on the left wing was fed back in towards Ramsey which he nodded into the path of the advancing Podolski to fire into the roof of West Ham net for a well worked third goal.

The win gets the Gunners into fourth place for now, but more that that, builds on Wenger’s side’s Premiership momentum after reaching the FA Cup final.