Arsenal v West Ham
Barclays Premier League
Kick off: April 15, 2014 7.45 PM BST
It was a sluggish first half from Arsenal, with a definite lack of creativity for extended periods. We were looking tired in midfield, and West Ham were being given far too much freedom.
Diame in particular was causing problems early on, left completely unmarked on a number of occasions. He was making runs in and around the box, and Mertesacker had to step in to make a timely block to prevent it troubling the keeper. Diame had a golden opportunity early on for West Ham, Carroll picking him out (accidentally) in the box, the Hammers man skying it over the bar from close range.
Arsenal were looking to counter, but apart from Rosicky there was a distinct lack of pace in the side. The one time the Czech did have support from Cazorla, his cross field ball was cut out before it could reach the Spaniard; he should have released it earlier.
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Giroud came close on a couple of occasions, first narrowly missing a cross fired in by Podolski. Then spurning a fantastic one-on-one chance with Adrian, attempting a clever dink that was never really on. Easily saved by the West Ham keeper.
West Ham could have had a penalty shout when Sagna left a leg in on Jarvis foolishly, but the winger didn’t go down under the contact, the referee waving play on.
Giroud’s link up play was looking better than his finishing, completing a number of one-twos with his team mates. He almost set up both Rosicky and Cazorla, the Czech unable to take it in his stride, and the Spaniard seeing the ball cut out before it reached him.
Arsenal’s lackadaisical performance was punished a few minutes before half time, Nocerino given far too much space to run into down Arsenal’s left. Kallstrom was late tracking the run, and he was able to put a ball into the box. It was blocked by Szczesny initially, but fell straight back to him. He put a deflected ball back into the box, and it bounced up nicely for Jarvis to head in from close range.
Thankfully Arsenal answered straight back, Santi Cazorla picking out Lukas Podolski with a defence splitting pass. The German forward turned quickly, lashing a shot across goal from a difficult angle. It was a fantastic finish, right into the far corner, Adrian with no chance. 1-1.
Arsenal were saved some blushes with their last minute equaliser, but really need to come out stronger in the second half.
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Vermaelen(c)
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