TOP GUN: Lukas Podolski fires home
WHATEVER ARSENAL had in their half time cup of tea certainly worked as the home side hammered West Ham 5-1 at Emirates Stadium.
Ten crazy minutes in the second period saw the Gunners blow away their rivals at the start of the second half. Sadly, the win was marred by a serious head injury to Daniel Potts. The West Ham defender was involved in an accidental clash with Bacary Sagna and slumped to the ground immediately.
After lengthy treatment on the field, which added 12 minutes of extra time, Potts was stretchered off and immediately taken to hospital.
An entertaining first half was regular fries for the home fans. Their side created - and missed - gilt edged opportunities to put West Ham to the sword early. The pacy Theo Walcott spurned a couple of good situations after creating openings with his pace.
Arsene Wenger’s men had an early scare of their own, and it had nothing to do with conceding a goal. Midfielder Jack Wilshere hit the turf after a heavy ankle-threatening challenge by Jack Collison.
Fortunately for Wilshere he was able to continue but Collison was to truly hurt the Gunners on 18 minutes.
After a West Ham corner and a poor defensive header by Olivier Giroud, Collison rifled in a rasping left foot drive that found the back of net in the 18th minute.
It was then a case of anything that Collison could do, Lukas Podolski could do better. And he did on just four minutes later. The German, nicknamed The Hammer, duly fired home a 25 yard rocket to put the home side level.
Podolski had a chance to give Arsenal the lead moments later, but after a flowing move he fluffed his lines when no more than six yards out.
At the other end Thomas Vermaelen kept out a goal bound effort by Carlton Cole. The Arsenal skipper was hurt in the process when felled by the hard-working Aaron Ramsey who was also doing his best to keep the ball out of his net.
The teams went into their respective dressing rooms at half-time level with no indication of the Arsenal blitz to come.
Two minutes after the restart Giroud fired home neatly after a Walcott corner.
After a tidy one-two with Podolski, Santi Cazorla flicked home Arsenal’s third in the 54th minute. West Ham’s pain was not to end there, however, with the home side after blood.
Walcott, just sixty seconds later, fired home his tenth Premier League goal of the campaign, to further justify his new £100,000-per-week contract. The move was a tribute to the skill and movement of Wilshere and Podolski who were in rampant form at this stage.
France international Giroud added to the carnage in the 57th minute when he displayed a deft touch to complete the rout.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insisted pre-match that his current side care as much for the club as the famous names he has previously managed at the London outfit.
The Gunners lost 2-1 at Chelsea on Sunday after a poor first-half display and are now four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League.
When asked if his team cared as much as Arsenal legends Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry, Wenger said: "Of course.
"They care as much, if not more." Tonight they proved it, however temporarily.