West Ham 1-3 Arsenal
A fine win that purged last weekâ€™s blues, proved a few points and left the ball bang in the middle of the interlull fairway ready for a crack at the green at Norwich in two weeks [Sort out this metaphor lunacy â€“ Ed].
It doesnâ€™t always compute that if you spend proper money you get a proper footballer (cast your eyes all over the Premier League for evidence to the contrary), but it certainly helps and there can be no disputing that our Â£16.5m outlay on Santi Cazorla is money well spent.
His goal, which well and truly sealed the three points of an up-one-end, down-the-other kind of game, was the sort of rip-snorter that flounders a goalie so much he doesnâ€™t even bother diving properly. â€œShall I extend my arms and pretend?â€ asks the man between the sticks. â€œNot much pointâ€, he concludes. Just delicious stuff and the kind of goal that would grace any match.
Yesterday was no doubt a cathartic moment for one of the other prongs of the new signing trident [Did you hear me? â€“ Ed]. Olivier Giroud has missed some gimmes â€“ Sunderland and Chelsea at home, off the top of my head â€“ and despite hard work and some good hold-up play, has not looked much like the kind of man who could get us 20 goals this season. So his expertly-taken goal yesterday will do him wonders (as the celebrations suggested). Started by him and finished beautifully.
When talking about selling van Persie the other day, Wenger confessed that it would always be hard to replace someone in the form of their career who scored 37 goals last season, but he had bought Podolski and Giroud and â€œThatâ€™s 40â€. So he replaced one player who got nearly forty with two players who together got 40. A gamble but clearly he was trying to replace goals for goals and so far, I donâ€™t think weâ€™re doing too badly. Van Persie has flown out the blocks and has seven goals; Giroud and Podolski have six and are both still settling in.
And what about the other scorer? Walcott came on in the 61st minute (about as risquÃ© as Wenger gets unless someone is injured) and his directness paid off â€“ Giroudâ€™s lovely pass set him off and his finish for the second was ice-cold. “I want to play for this club and hopefully something can happen very soon,” he said*. Lord knows what to make of that but as I have said many times, he has a lot to give and I hope he stays.
*The more I think about it the more this sounds like something he said a few weeks ago, not yesterday. Anyone see him say this yesterday?
Without looking utterly at ease â€“ we were a Mannone misjudgement and a Nolan skew-wide short of the game potentially having a different outcome â€“ Mertesacker and Vermaelen marshalled things well and we were good value for the three points. The goal we let in, while a lovely finish, left Ramsey a bit red-faced and Iâ€™m not quite sure what Per was trying to do by moving away from Diame but there you go. Easy to say when youâ€™ve not got Diame bearing down on you I suppose.
All in all a good day at the office and I leave you with another talking point from Capability Mike.
I bet you ten pounds that Sagna is sold at the end of the season
Jenkinsonâ€™s been good, hasnâ€™t he? Really good. Then again Sagna is magnificent. But how long can you keep a Jenkinson down? Yet another tricky but pleasant decision for Wenger to make.
London looks good sometimes doesn’t it? I took the photo above on the South Bank yesterday.