Walcott fires Arsenal top of EPL with West Ham win
Theo Walcott scored twice as Arsenal returned to the top of the
English Premier League by fighting back to win 3-1 at West Ham on
Arsenal fell behind when goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny spilled
Kevin Nolan’s shot and Carlton Cole pounced to score a minute into
the second half.
West Ham goalkeeper Adrian was also culpable for Arsenal’s
equalizer, with Walcott cutting in from the right and striking
between his legs in the 68th.
Walcott headed Arsenal in front three minutes later, and Lukas
Podolski netted in the 79th to ensure a three-game winless run in
the league ended.
”From our disappointing results in the last few games it’s nice
to get a good positive away win,” Walcott told BT Sport. ”It’s
great to be top but it’s going to be a very tough league this year,
everyone is very tight, a lot of people are taking a lot of points
off each other so we’ve just got to make sure we look after
Arsenal displaced Liverpool from top spot, with the Reds
dropping to fourth after losing 2-1 at Manchester City. Arsenal is
two points ahead of Chelsea, which beat Swansea 1-0 on Boxing Day
when every team was in action.
The only blot on the win was the 23-year-old Aaron Ramsey being
forced off with an apparent thigh strain.
”The Christmas period is certainly over for him. It was his
birthday today,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. ”I don’t
know how long it will be. We will have to see tomorrow morning. He
knew straight away, but we have to see.”
This was not a victory without other worrying moments for
It began a spell of pressure that belied West Ham’s insipid
first-half display, but it was brought to an abrupt end when
Walcott’s shot somehow evaded Adrian in the 68th.
Walcott cut in from the right and unleashed a hopeful strike
that slipped through Adrian’s grasp.
Three minutes later the match was turned on its head.
Podolski, brought on after Ramsey took a knock, swung in a fine
cross from the left and Walcott ghosted in to power home a header
from close range.
It was quite the impact by Podolski in his first appearance
since a hamstring injury in August.
There would also be a goal for the Germany forward as Giroud
held up the ball for Podolski to bury a strike into the bottom
corner to put the game out of sight.
The result saw Sam Allardyce’s West Ham slip into the bottom
”We had three golden chances after we scored – Matt Jarvis in
the box, one-on-one, Joey O’Brien’s free header in the six-yard box
and Carlton Cole’s side-foot tap,” Allardyce said. ”We paid the
price because what Arsenal do then is take more and more chances
when they are losing.
”It was either going to be us getting that second goal and then
we would have made sure we tightened it up or they’d score.”