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West Ham 1-3 Arsenal: instant reaction

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There were two matches in one. We'll call the first match today, that lasted "Before Podolski" and the second match "After Podolski"

Shaun Botterill

When Aaron Ramsey was subbed off for Lukas Podolski due to an injury, making his first league appearance in just over four months, Arsenal were lost.  Down 1-0 thanks to a Wojciech Szczesny gaffe mere moments after the second half kickoff, chasing shadows and generally looking like a CLUB IN CRISIS, it felt like the beginning of the Dark Times, ready to eat everyone's soul in the afternoon charcoal sky.

Then Lukas Podolski smiled, rainbows appeared and the world became a better place.

Podolski immediately found space behind West Ham's notorious claret and blue colored, forever-parked bus, assisted on Theo Walcott's second goal of the day and decided to cap off his return to the pitch by scoring because why the hell not.  In the 35-plus minutes he was on, Podolski drifted in and out from the left, successfully locating every single pass he attempted (18/18, and they weren't all short passes to teammates close by his side) that played a huge key to opening up West Ham and has surely now given Arsene Wenger some squad selection relief when working through these next three matches in the coming eight days.

3-1 to the Arsenal.  No word yet on the extent on Ramsey's injury, but otherwise, three points earned at the end of the day and hopefully the upswing we need to make it through this fixture hell.

How's your blood pressure?