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React! Arsenal 3-West Ham 1; All Is Awesome

For three and a half scary minutes, West Ham was up a goal on Arsenal, but Lukas Podolski made things right with an equalizer, and then Olivier Giroud put the Gunners up for good.

Giroud scores! (Was there any doubt?)
Giroud scores! (Was there any doubt?)
Paul Gilham

About damn time.

After a woeful four-game winless Premier League stretch that saw Arsenal dip to fifth place (which is not a trophy), Arsenal got back on the winning side of things with a 3-1 victory over cross-town rivals West Ham. Lukas Podolski deserves your thanks for this one.

Arsenal got off to a nervy start, with Mohamed Diame making some deep and dangerous runs into the box in the game's early moments. Arsenal had its own hints of making danger during the first half, but Olivier Giroud blew some chances, including on a one-on-one situation that he wrongfooted badly. (Cue the call for a new striker.)

40 minutes in, Matt Jarvis found his way into goal on a derpfest initiated by Antonio Nocerino's shot from close range, and worry started to set in. But less than four minutes later, Lukas Podolski did what Giroud wasn't able to do -- took in a pass, set himself up with a first touch, and then hammered home with the second touch. Clinical. Pretty. Equalizy.

Then, in minute 55, on a corner kick that was cleared directly to Thomas Vermaelen, Verm sent a laser pass into the box, where a waiting Olivier Giroud (!) made a deft and decisive play on the ball in (!!), and scored (!!!).

Through the rest of the second half, Arsenal played like the Arsenal we love (as opposed to the Arsenal we've endured of late), with Santi Cazorla making a 64th minute run that finished with a rocket shot that went just wide of being a goal-of-the-year candidate. Thirteen minutes later, Giroud played a ball from the left wing to a waiting Aaron Ramsey at the 18, who headed an assist to Podolski, who got his brace on his first touch from Ramsey's through ball.

What it all means: Arsenal's technically in 4th again, a point up on Everton, who play Crystal Palace tomorrow to once and for all take care of that whole game in hand thing that's been annoying me whenever I look at the table. And then, it's a four-game race to the final Champions League spot.