Is it just me or has Sam Allardyce lost some weight? Still looks like a giant walrus to me though. He's also been rather generous in his pre match smack talking too. You have to feel for the guy because he tries to come across as this well spoken guy that knows a lot about football, tactics and all that jazz, but we all know he's only interested in what the players' mum's are bringing for the half-time snack.
I honestly don't mind West Ham, but they have never really seemed like a Premiership club to me, yet have somehow managed to bounce back and forth over the years. It seems like a perfect match I suppose, as old Sammy doesn't come across as a Premiership manager either. They did do us a favor by beating Sp*rs on the last day of the season back in 2006, resulting in our 4th place finish. That's as far as the affection goes, however.
We certainly didn't do ourselves any favors for most of the first half against them Tuesday night, allowing them plenty of room down the flanks, especially down their left which was surprising considering Sagna is usually pretty solid down there. They managed to scramble one in a couple of minutes before halftime, and you could say it was the kick in the arse our boys needed. Within 3 minutes Podolski got one back for us, saving himself and his team mates from a bollocking from the boss at half time.
We definitely looked more lively in the second half, with Giroud bringing down a long pass beautifully on his left at the six yard box before calmly slotting it into the net with his right. Watch the replay and you'll see how special that first touch was. Hopefully a sign that he's looking to finish the season strong. Podo Baggins got his brace with a classic Podolski left footed rocket into the roof of the net. He gets a lot of criticism for his effort on the pitch, but when he gets a glimpse of goal he's virtually unstoppable. A tough call for the boss, I'm sure, as his defensive work can be detrimental to the teams' performance, but you can't fault his offensive ability.
Vermaelen looked better too, which is nice to see. I've always liked the Verminator, and while it's never nice to see an Arsenal players form fall so dramatically, his drop from the first team last season was particularly brutal because of his heart and effort he put in for the club. I hope this late season run of games will see him get picked for Belgium this summer, he deserves it. If nothing else it will get him some more valuable playing time and hopefully improve his confidence in time for pre season training with Arsenal. There is talk of him leaving this summer, but I genuinely hope he stays. I still prefer the Mertesacker/Koscielny partnership at the back, but the chances of both of them staying healthy for 50+ games are slim, so to have a solid, motivated backup of his quality is priceless. Quite whether he wants to be a backup is another thing.
Another stand out performer, for me, was Ramsey. Granted he only played a handful of minutes, but as soon as his studs hit the turf you could see the difference on the field - chasing every ball, constant movement to get himself open and exciting creativity on the ball. Yes, he was fresh off the bench, but he always plays like that. He played that way for 110 minutes against Wigan, and it's fantastic to see that his latest injury didn't destroy the boys momentum he gained at the beginning of the season.
So, with Everton still to play Crystal Palace Wednesday, we slid back into 4th place... for now. Chamakh to score a hatrick? Let's hope so.