Giroud on target again as Arsenal overcome West Ham for fifth straight league win
16:55 14 March 2015
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Arsenal 3 West Ham Utd 0
Olivier Giroud continued his scoring streak as Arsenal saw off their London rivals at the Emirates to claim a fifth straight Premier League victory.
Giroud fired home his sixth goal in seven games to break the deadlock just before half-time, but the Gunners needed two late strikes from Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini to wrap up the points.
Arsenal might have gone ahead after just five minutes when Giroud backheeled Mesut Ozil’s pass into the path of Theo Walcott, but the England international hesitated and gave James Collins time to get in his challenge.
The Gunners continued to press throughout the first half, but they were kept at bay by a string of excellent saves from Adrian.
The Spaniard dived to push away an angled header from Alexis Sanchez before turning Ramsey’s effort over the bar and then denying Walcott in a one-on-one.
At the other end, Arsenal afforded Matt Jarvis too much space on the break and the winger got clear to cut a ball back for Kevin Nolan, whose volley was parried by David Ospina.
However, most of the action took place around the visitors’ penalty area and Giroud fired a shot on the turn into the side netting, while Sanchez and Ozil were both foiled by Adrian.
But the West Ham goalkeeper was finally beaten on the stroke of half-time, when a flowing one-touch move culminated in Ramsey’s pass for Giroud, who drilled a left-foot drive in off the far post.
The Hammers responded well at the start of the second half, but were let down by poor crossing and, aside from a Jarvis volley that sailed high over the bar, they created few clear chances.
Arsene Wenger shuffled the pack, sending on Danny Welbeck with 25 minutes remaining, and he soon picked out the unmarked Ozil, who inexplicably opted to cross rather than taking a pop at goal.
The move eventually ended with Ramsey scuffing his finish wide and Arsenal struggled to kill the game off as Giroud misdirected his header from Ozil’s cross soon afterwards.
The second goal proved elusive until nine minutes from time, when Giroud’s dummy enabled Ramsey to collect the ball from a throw-in and play a one-two with the Frenchman before stabbing past Adrian.
And the two-goal cushion increased almost immediately as Flamini – who had only been on the field for a minute – arrived at the far post to convert Santi Cazorla’s cross.
Arsenal might have inflicted even greater punishment on their visitors with the final move of the game as Giroud found the head of Danny Welbeck, but Adrian came to his side’s rescue with another diving stop.
Arsenal: Ospina; Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin; Walcott (Cazorla 72), Ozil (Flamini 83), Ramsey, Sanchez (Welbeck 65); Giroud.
West Ham Utd: Adrian; O’Brien, Collins, Kouyate, Cresswell; Song; Downing, Noble (Nene 81), Nolan, Jarvis (Amalfitano 75); Sakho.