Updated: Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 21:48 | Comments
Olivier Giroud’s sublime finish and a double from Lukas Podolski gave Arsenal a 3-1 win over West Ham at the Emirates to move back up into the top four of the Premier League.
After a slow start following their nerve-shredding FA Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out win over Wigan at Wembley on Saturday, the Gunners went behind to a scrappy goal from Matt Jarvis on 40 minutes.
However, German forward Podolski quickly levelled before half-time, with Giroud’s superb take-down and close-range finish putting them in front on 55 minutes.
Another powerful strike from Podolski with 13 minutes left secured all three points, which saw Arsene Wenger’s side leapfrog Everton, who host Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.
West Ham, who had not played since the home defeat to Liverpool on April 6, started well as Mohamed Diame fired a good chance over from close range on 18 minutes.
Arsenal’s big chance arrived on the half-hour mark when Santi Cazorla latched on to a stray pass in midfield and then fed Giroud, who beat the offside trap, but his scuffed finish was saved at full stretch by Adrian.
It proved costly as West Ham went ahead when Jarvis headed in from close range after Antonio Nocerino’s shot was saved at the near post.
Arsenal, though, were level just before half-time as Podolski spun in the West Ham penalty area to drill a low shot into the bottom corner.
Giroud finally showed the perfect touch to put Arsenal ahead 10 minutes into the second half.
Thomas Vermaelen sent a high ball into the West Ham box, where Giroud held off both Winston Reid and Andy Carroll to take it down with one sublime left-foot touch before rolling his shot between the goalkeeper’s legs.
Arsenal made sure of a crucial victory in the battle for Champions League qualification when Podolski crashed home his second goal of the night with 12 minutes left after a knockdown from Aaron Ramsey.