Arsenal faced West Ham at the Emirates Stadium and romped to a comfortable 3-0 win to move within one point of second placed Manchester City.
While Sam Allardycea s West Ham has traditionally posed a difficult outing for Arsenal at home, the results have always been in favour of the Gunners. And so it has proved to be the same once again, although it was a lot more comfortable for Arsene Wengera s men this time around. Although it took the end of each half for Arsenal to get the goals they needed to secure the game, they were not in any trouble the entire match. Here are a few things we learnt from the game.
Olivier Girouda s West Ham love story
Olivier Giroud has now scored 5 goals in his last 5 Premier League games against West Ham, making them one of his favourite teams to play against. More importantly, Giroud was on top form throughout the game, holding up the play for the rest of the midfield to get in on the attack as well as executing some well timed flicks to create opportunities for his teammates. Giroud may not be a world class striker, but he is definitely a very good one, and hea s especially effective against teams that dona t have a very good defence, as seen against West Ham. Arsenal can certainly use him against games against lower opposition even if he isna t that effective against the bigger clubs.
Walcotta s inefficiency
Theo Walcott is once again stalling on contract negotiations, with even Arsene Wenger sarcastically saying that first contact has been made with his team. The last time, Walcott held out on signing the contract for a promise of a central striker role. This time though, Arsenal are in a much better position, and Walcott need to show with his performances that he is still very valuable. However, if the game against West Ham is any evidence, he still needs to be more efficient, missing a slew of chances to put Arsenal ahead in the game. While his pace is unquestionable, his control and finishing is still suspect. Unless he improves both, he will not find himself in pole position to get what he wants from a new contract.
Sam Allardyce in trouble
When West Ham played Chelsea and lost 1-0, the Hammers were in the thick of the top 4 battle. If nothing else, it was expected that they would get the Europa League spot even if they do not finish in the top 4. However, the season has slowly unraveled with West Ham having trouble winning games for the last few matches. They have definitely dropped out of the top 4 race, and are not even in contention for Europa League, with their current position of 10th in the table. This bad run of form could very well prove to be calamitous for Sam Allardyce and there is a big chance that he may be sacked by the end of the season, unless they turn around their form.
Arsenal clicking into gear
As is almost always the case every season, when they are not in the title hunt, Arsenal move up a gear when it comes to the end of the season. Once again, they are putting in the results so that their top 4 status is safe, and in fact may even have a shout at overtaking Manchester City and finishing second. Talks of a league title are too ambitious, especially with Chelsea having a death grip at the top of the table. Even if Chelsea were to drop points, you would expect Arsenal to do the same, with the Gunners having some sort of allergy to being top of the table. But otherwise, you can bet safe money that Arsenal would once again finish in the top 4, irrespective of who else drops out.
Wenger shuffles his resources
One of the accusations that Arsene Wenger constantly has had to face is that he does not make full use of his squad, and plays the same team over and over again, which results in tiredness, fitness and injury problems for the entire team. But the manager seems to have learnt the lessons, giving Santi Cazorla a much needed rest and playing Calum Chambers at Right Back. He also took our Alexis Sanchez earlier than usual, all changes with the game against Monaco in mind.