Welcome to my Arsenal blog for the 2015/16 season; here you can check out my thoughts on the current goings on at the club.
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Arsenal return to winning ways in the league

Following the euphoria of reaching the FA Cup final at the weekend, the Arsenal players were thrown straight back into action. Tuesday night saw us take on West Ham in the League, another must win clash in our bid to reach the top four. Win was exactly what we did though. That was despite going behind as Podolski scored a brace whilst Giroud also popped up with a goal. If we're going to reach the top four then we'll surely have to win every game left we have in the league this season. However, it's all in Everton's hands at the moment. The 3-1 victory over the Hammers lifted us back into the top four of the Premier League which was crucial after slipping into fifth at the weekend.
Lukas Podolski scored twice as Arsenal regained fourth place
In terms of the line-up Wenger was forced into making more changes. Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal were both injured, again, so Vermaelen deputised at left back whilst Laurent Koscielny returned at center back. Tomas Rosicky was also back in the squad along with Szczesny and Giroud who replaced Fabianski and Sanogo respectively.

The fact that we went 1-0 down to a header from Matt Jarvis summed up our current league form. However, what we realised from the FA Cup semi-final was that this team do in fact have some fight in them. They displayed exactly the same fight to get themselves back into this game and pull off in the end, what was a fairly comfortable victory. When West Ham scored I thought it was going to be another one of those nights but like we had done at the start of the year, we managed to come out the other side with all three points.

Each of our goals were of high quality. Lukas Podolski scored twice as he played a rare 90 minutes. The first goal was brilliantly set up by Cazorla with a reverse pass before the German fired home at the far post. His second meanwhile was emphatic as Ramsey's cushioned header found him before he hammered the ball literally into the roof of the net. Giroud's goal meanwhile was a touch of genius. He had spurned a great chance in the first half which made his strike to put us in the lead, even more remarkable. Vermaelen lumped a ball forward and the Frenchman plucked the ball out of the air before finding the net via his weaker foot. Giroud had received a lot of stick for his performance in the first half, but his goal certainly shut the critics up for a short period of time.

Kim Kallstrom started his first game in an Arsenal shirt and put in a fairly encouraging performance. He was perhaps a little slow to get out to Nocerino for the goal and there were a few misplaced passes here and there but he showed he was willing to take risks. He showed against Swansea that he has a fantastic passing range whilst he also scored in the shoot-out at the weekend. As expected he hasn't played a huge part yet but without him we would perhaps have risked Ramsey. 

It was meanwhile great to see Laurent Koscielny back in action. He's up there as one of the best defenders in the Premier League this season and his partnership with Mertesacker looked as sturdy as ever. Vermaelen was also solid at left back. As for Santi Cazorla, he played his best game in ages, a performance which earned him the man of the match award.

Up next is Hull City in a dress rehearsal for the FA Cup final this weekend on Easter Day. Another must win game!

The teams lineups:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Arteta, Kallstrom, Cazorla(88), Rosicky(72), Podolski, Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson(88), Bellerin, Ramsey(72), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Akpom, Sanogo. 

West Ham: Adrian, Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Armero, Nocerino, Noble, Downing(78), Diame, Jarvis(78), Carroll(84).
Subs: Jaaskelainen, McCartney, Johnson, Cole(78), Taylor, Vaz Te(78), Cole(84). 

My man of the match: Santi Cazorla. 

Referee: Kevin Friend.
Attendance: 59,977.  

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