Arsenal came back from a shaky looking 60 minutes where they were lucky to not let in more than one goal and unlucky to not score atleast 2 goals, to win at West Ham United 3-1. Theo Walcott struck twice and Lukas Podolski netted a third as Arsenal came from behind to return top of the Premier League. Arsenal dominated the first half but their defense looked fragile and they fell behind as Carlton Cole tapped home after Wojciech Szczesny spilled a shot. The Hammers wasted chances to double the lead and Walcott equalised with an effort that Adrian should have saved. Podolski, who came on as a substitute for an injured Aaron Ramsey, crossed for Walcott to nod Arsenal ahead before lashing in to drop West Ham into the relegation zone. Results elsewhere saw them slip from 17th and a point outside the bottom three to 19th and two points inside it.
The hosts came closest in the early stages through a Mark Noble free-kick, but Arsenal soon began to build momentum. Perhaps the one player who most needed a goal was striker Olivier Giroud who came close so many times and had a couple of chances which on another day he would have put in easily, but today it just wasn’t going in for him. He however did set up the goal for Podolski. The Hammers have won only one of their last 11 league games and will be desperate to respond at home to West Brom on Saturday. Arsenal, by contrast, ended a run of four games in all competitions without victory and lead second-placed Manchester City by two points. City beat Liverpool, who were top of the table at the start of the day and would have leapfrogged Arsenal had they won the late kick-off. Instead Liverpool dropped to fourth in the standings.
Arsenal now have 39 points after 18 games played just one point above a strong looking Manchester City side. Chelsea are 3rd with 37 points and Liverpool have 36. It’s going to a very tight race.