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Arsenal 3-1 West Ham: Gunners Record Commanding Victory Away from Home

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Arsenal 3-1 West Ham: Gunners Record Commanding Victory Away from Home
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Olivier Giroud's Arsenal career sparked into life as he featured heavily in the Gunners' 3-1 comeback victory over neighbours West Ham.  An equalising goal and an assist to aid in putting his side ahead assured that his performance would take many a headline, and two goals in the space of eight minutes—first from Theo Walcott, second from Santi Cazorla—confirmed Arsenal's triumph and collection of all three points.

Giroud's first goal for Arsenal came courtesy of a pinpoint cross from Lukas Podolski on the left side, and it was a deft touch reminiscent of so many of the goals that earned him top goalscoring honours in Ligue 1 for Montpellier last season.  A decisive moment in the match, and surely a memorable moment of Giroud's blossoming Arsenal career.

Walcott's goal—a low, driven finish inside Jussi Jaskelainen's post from a precise Giroud through-ball—took parity from the Hammers and established the Gunners' lead, furthering the case for Walcott's perhaps overdue run at centre-forward.

But it was Cazorla's goal—an absolute peach, a gorgeous 25-yard left-footed strike—which really caught the imagination.  Given just too much space by the opposition, his finish left Jaaskelainen dumbstruck and Arsenal clinching a convincing win at Upton Park.

The two keys to Arsenal's victory today were simple.

First, possession of the ball was vital, and in plentiful supply.  Enjoying almost three quarters of the possession in the first half, West Ham hardly had a look in aside from Mohamed Diame's excellent strike from close range, as Arsenal were rampant, showcasing their fluid style of football with poise and perspicacity.

West Ham were able to maintain possession with greater success early in the second half, recording as much as 70 percent possession in the first 15 minutes from the restart.  Yet nevertheless, Arsenal rebounded and eventually had 60 percent across the entire 90 minutes, demonstrating an adept ability to control the play across the whole team.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Look up Cazorla's strike on YouTube; it's well worth a watch.

The second key was that of Arsenal's capability to put the game away with a real ruthless streak, something that was noticeably missing for many of Arsenal's games last campaign.  

Whilst the Hammers were habitually dogged and determined going forward and an ever-present threat to Arsenal's hopes of victory, the Gunners refused to let their cross-city rivals in, and their own stoic defensive display really reflected that.  

Across the back four, every man contributed, but Carl Jenkinson and Per Mertesacker in particular were impressive.  Vito Mannone too was in fine feather, and aside from a very well-struck effort from Diame to allow West Ham ahead, the Italian was formidable between the sticks, re-affirming his intent to win the No. 1 spot permanently from the absent Wojciech Szczesny.

Not solely defensively were Arsenal strong, but rather across the whole team they refused to allow West Ham back into the contest, and their two goals in quick succession ensured the Hammers' efforts were in vain.

This cogent performance is archetypal of teams who can go on to win trophies.  And while Chelsea and Manchester City were equally potent today, recording convincing victories, few can deny that Arsenal's triumph is as hard-fought and well-earned as their rivals.

All things considered, quite an impressive day at the office.

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