West Ham 1 Arsenal 2

Arsenal moved above West Ham in to the Premier League top five after inflicting a first home defeat on the Hammers since August. Former Gunner Alex Song had a 20-yard volley ruled out for offside for the hosts which angered Sam Allardyce. Santi Cazorla put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot, following a foul by Winston Reid, before Danny Welbeck put Arsenal further in front. Cheikhou Kouyate’s header gave the hosts hope but West Ham were unable to avoid a second successive defeat that saw them slip to 6th pace. It was Arsenal’s ninth win in a row in all competitions against West Ham as they moved level on points with fourth-placed Southampton and just three points behind Manchester United in third.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, who opted to rest key players Song and Diafra Sakho for the 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on Boxing Day, disagreed strongly with the decision to disallow Song’s goal, claiming Sakho was not in the eyeline of the goalkeeper when he was adjudged to be offside. Former Arsenal man Song, on loan from Barcelona, almost made an instant impact with a low volley into the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards early on. Sakho was penalised for standing in an offside position in front of goal, though, despite not touching the ball. Cazorla punished Reid’s high leg in the box to roll home the resulting penalty for the opener. The lead was doubled minutes later as Welbeck was on hand to slide the ball in to the net from close range after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s low cross from the right. Stunned by the deficit, West Ham restored hope soon after the break with Kouyate bundling Sakho’s cross from the right in to the net via Mathieu Debuchy. But it was Arsenal who had the better chances, with Hammers keeper Adrian brilliantly denying Alexis Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain, before the visitors survived a late aerial bombardment.

Arsenal should have scored a couple more goals had they been more clinical, which they have to to counteract the goals that we are bound to leak with out shaky looking defense. Wenger resorted to putting 6 defenders on, bringing on subs Gibbs & Chambers for Welbeck & Chambo respectively in order to protect that slender lead. When that whistle blew you could almost hear the deafening SIGH of relief. What matters is the 3 points which brings our total to 33 after half the games have been played.

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