West Ham v Arsenal
Barclays Premier League
Kick off: December 26, 2013 3:00 PM BST
A disappointing first half due to a lack of clinical finishing. But with a few tactical tweaks, a strong second half performance saw us come back from a goal down to win 3-1. Here are the player ratings:
Wojciech Szczesny | 6.0: He didn’t have a lot to do, but when he did he didn’t do it well. He struggled to hold onto the ball, instead palming it back into dangerous areas on several occasions; once leading to a goal. His saving grace was a good save from a dangerous free kick, and his cross claiming throughout the match.
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Bacary Sagna | 7.5: Despite being beaten far too easily by Jarvis on a number of occasions, Sagna had a fantastic first half. He put a couple of great crosses in and was constantly threatening. He was far more quiet in the second half, was defensively solid though.
Thomas Vermaelen | 7.25: Struggled with the strength and physicality of Carlton Cole, but made some important headers and tackles.
Per Mertesacker | 7.25: Should have won more headers than he did against Cole I felt, but aside from a couple of positional errors he held the line well.
Kieran Gibbs | 8.0: Gibbs was absolutely superb today, doing a decent job defensively but causing absolute havoc in the West Ham half. He earned several corners and put in a huge number of quality crosses. At least two should have been put away by men in the box. Very solid game from the young English left back.
Aaron Ramsey | 7.0: Another sub par performance by Ramsey in comparison to the rest of his season’s games. He looked tired mentally more than physically, misplacing simple passes and being dispossessed on occasions. He did pop up with some fantastic passes though and Walcott should have converted a peach of a pass in the first half. Went off with a nasty looking injury in the second half.
Mikel Arteta | 7.0: Made some sloppy mistakes in the first half, and allowed too much space in front of the back four throughout the match. I felt he should have been putting pressure on Nolan before his long ranged shot which led to the goal. Played a little better in the second half.
Mesut Özil | 7.5: Still not looking at his sharpest, but had a decent game from a creative point of view. Played a lot of good balls and deserved an assist. Shot a rebound directly at the keeper which he really should have put away. Subbed late on in the second half.
Santi Cazorla | 8.5: Probably his best performance this season, certainly looked up for the game. He had several moments where he took far too long on the ball, and was dispossessed or saw the chance to shoot disappear. But he was a constant threat, both creating chances for others, and crafting chances for himself. Looked a lot better once he was moved inside and Podolski came on.
Theo Walcott | 8.5: Didn’t have a huge impact in the first half, squandering a good chance he should have put away. But he popped up with two vital goals in the second half, and sometimes when things aren’t going your way you need a player to pop up with goals from nowhere.
Olivier Giroud | 6.5: Another poor game finishing wise from the Frenchman. He didn’t look like he ever really believed he was going to score, and sometimes didn’t make the effort to go for balls he should have. He did provide a fantastic target man’s assist for Podolski late on.
Lukas Podolski | 9.0: (MotM) Even though he was only a second half substitute, I’ve given him Man of the Match due to the impact and effect he had coming on. He completely changed our shape and provided a different type of threat. He looked full of energy and desire, provided the assist for Walcott’s second goal, and bagged a goal of his own with a fantastic finish. His introduction allowed Cazorla to move infield where he was far more instrumental, and the link up between Gibbs and Podolski was as ever, fantastic!
Mathieu Flamini | 7.0: Solidified our defence, with Ramsey going off injured Arteta was left to do the holding mid job alone and Flamini just ensured we kept our lead.
Nicklas Bendtner | 7.5: Really looked up for the game when he came on despite only getting a short time on the pitch. His movement was good and he was close to getting himself a goal. If Giroud doesn’t shape up a bit, then his starting position could come under question.