Arsenal were on top throughout a relatively tame first half. The biggest moment was a penalty shout for the Gunners when Arthur Masuaku clumsily barged into Theo Walcott in the box. In a continuing theme throughout the match, referee Martin Atkinson was uninterested.
Arsenal started the second half well on the front foot, bombarding the West Ham goal. They finally got their breakthrough in the 58th minute as Mesut Özil’s shot ended up past Darren Randolph. The keeper was somewhat surprised by the German’s shot when he’s expected to pass and that thought was aided by a, potentially offside, run by Alexis Sanchez.
Once the first goal went in, the floodgates were opened.
The Gunners doubled their lead ten minutes after their opener through a classic Wengerball move. Özil passed to Alexis at the edge of the box, received the back heel 1-2, and found Theo Walcott in the middle of the box. Theo finished well with his side foot into the bottom left hand corner of the goal.
Olivier Giroud put the cherry on top of a great performance by cutting inside from the right onto his left boot and curling a beauty past Randolph in the 83rd minute. It was the Frenchman’s 95th goal in an Arsenal kit.
The dominance was such that Arsenal fans likely won’t be sending hate mail to Atkinson for his refusal to award Walcott a penalty or Nacho Monreal two blatant penalties in the second half.
It was an all-around dominant performance for Arsenal and one they sorely needed. Not only was the result what the club needed, the performance itself was great also. Everyone on the pitch played very well, but the standout performers were the unfairly-maligned Granit Xhaka and Özil. The center back partnership of Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel looked very strong and kept the West Ham attack in check. Even Damien Martinez looked comfortable in goal, though he had little to do throughout the night.
It was the Gunners first league win since February 11th. The victory puts Arsenal 5th in the table, ahead of Manchester United on goal differential. They are 4 points behind 4th place Manchester City with a match in hand and 6 points behind 3rd place Liverpool with 2 matches in hand.
Arsenal next plays Monday, April 10th at relegation battlers Crystal Palace.