Arsenal eventually strolled to a comfortable 3-0 victory over West Ham, tightening their grip on a top four spot in the process.
Buoyed by Monday evening's FA Cup victory away to Manchester United, Arsenal were aiming to move further ahead of the Old Trafford side. However, the Gunners were forced to endure a frustrating first 45 minutes, with visiting goalkeeper Adrian denying them several times in the first half. Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott were among those kept out by the Spanish stopper.
But then, a textbook moment of stunning Arsenal interplay saw Olivier Giroud give Arsene Wenger's side the lead in the second minute of first half injury-time. Giroud neatly exchanged passes with Ramsey, before cutting inside and rifling a powerful shot past Adrian and in off the post.
West Ham offered more by way of attacking threat in the second half, although ironically they actually managed fewer shots on target (0 to the first half's 1), yet with Arsenal unable to extend their lead, tension began to grow among the Emirates Stadium crowd.
That tension abated when Giroud and Ramsey reversed roles, with the Frenchman this time returning the ball to the Welsh midfielder, who drilled home Arsenal's second. Then, just two minutes later, Mathieu Flamini made it three by polishing off a fine move less than a minute after entering the action.
- Arsenal have found the back of the net in their last 29 competitive home games in all competitions. The last visiting team to keep a clean sheet at the Emirates were Bayern Munich in last season's Champions League (February 2014).
- Giroud has bagged 5 goals in his last 5 Premier League appearances against West Ham.
- Arsenal enjoyed 68% possession over the course of the match.
- Aaron Ramsey was involved in (either scored or assisted) an Arsenal goal for the first time in 2015 in any competition.
- Olivier Giroud now has 6 goals and 3 assists in his last 8 Premier League for the Gunners.
- Surprisingly, West Ham's Alex Song made more successful dribbles than any other player on the pitch (6). Arsenal's top dribbler was Alexis Sanchez, with 2.
- Mathieu Flamini’s goal was the fourth fastest by a sub in the Premier League this season (56 seconds).
- Arsenal have seen the highest number of different goalscorers in the Premier League this season (15).
- Despite West Ham's heavy defeat, Irons centre-back James Collins made a whopping 16 clearances. Cheikhou Kouyate was second (11).
- Sam Allardyce has never coached a winning team away at Arsenal in the Premier League, losing 8 and drawing 3 of his 11.
- Arsenal have won 8 consecutive home league games for the first time ever at the Emirates and the first time overall since November 2005 (13).
Fan's eye view
Today was all about Olivier Giroud. His emphatic finish in the closing seconds of the first half saw the Gunners' early dominance rewarded.
West Ham spent the week warm-weather training in Dubai and their extra freshness was apparent at the beginning of the second half. They tried to force Arsenal to play very narrowly, but it's telling that all of Arsenal's goals emanated from the space between the Irons' full-backs and centre-halves.
Three times Giroud carved West Ham open from this vantage point, combining brilliantly with Ramsey and then Cazorla for the second and third goals. Excellent result for Arsenal who keep the pressure on their rivals for a top-four position.
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