By William McMenemy.
Our second London derby in a week saw us travel to land of the cheeky chappy cockney boys yesterday. West Ham, who I have a little soft spot for, were the opponents and all the signs were there for a potential upset. Thankfully, that was not the case.
We had a great start. Giroud worked Jaaskelainen early on and we were probing their goal for the first 20 minutes. Then in typical Arsenal style we go a goal down thanks to a mini worldie from Diame. Questions need to be asked of Jenkinson and Ramsey here. How one pretty unremarkable player has managed to leave you both for dead without even a challenge on him is criminal but take nothing away from the finish, it was superb.
I think the goal knocked us a bit as we did nothing for 20 minutes. We laboured, we was sloppy and it looked like another one of those days. Then Giroud showed us what he can do, a crisp pass out wide to Podolski and then a near post run to guide home Podolski’s cross pulled us level. It was the type of goal you love to see from a striker. The desire to get into the area and convert the opportunity was admirable and it got rewarded.
I’m warming to Giroud. He has presence up front, he’s a fine focal point in our attack and he more ideas then Chamakh. Giroud doesn't simply pass it back to the player he just received it from and he showed this for our second goal yesterday. Walcott had come on for Gervinho, who was poor, and Giroud slipped him in with a ball that Cazorla would have been proud of. Theo then did what Theo can do best and finished with aplomb and another message to Wenger.
He’s got 4 goals this season, all in the second half of a game against stretched defences. Is that enough to warrant a start up front? In my opinion, no. He can’t do what Giroud does in my opinion and I wouldn't want to risk our league position to try it out. This is where he should have been loaned out at 21 to see if he could cut it but Wenger missed that boat. Walcott is still too limited to play up front on his own for us. A change in formation could help him however (I’ll touch on this in a moment).
Our last goal was a piece of beauty from our little magician Cazorla. He really is a fine player. Wenger was swooning about him against in the interview after the game. Imagine if we did get him last season with Van Ratface in the form he was in. I love Cazorla.
Towards the end of the game, we did something I've not seen us do ever. We switched to 5-3-2 (or 3-5-2 whatever way you look at it). It was an interesting experiment because it allowed us to play 2 up front and I think in this formation, Theo could thrive. Having someone up there with him would help him and the team. We’ll probably never see it again but I wouldn't mind us trying it once. It could be something very out of the ordinary from Wenger.
International ‘break’ now, woop. See you in 2 weeks.