This game was an opportunity to get the ball rolling again after a difficult week and that’s exactly what the players did as we cruised to a 3-0 win over bottom-of-the-table West Ham United.
Robin van Persie scored two, including his first from open play this season as well as another well-taken penalty, while Theo Walcott capped a fine performance by grabbing a goal of his own.
West Ham barely threatened at the other end and were gifted their only clear chance to score from an underhit back-pass by Johan Djourou while the score was still 1-0. But the danger was dealt with as Wojciech Szczesny saved well from Carlton Cole and the follow-up was fired over the crossbar.
The difference in intensity from the midweek trip to Ipswich was extremely noticeable early on, as was the difference in quality in the final third. Van Persie and Walcott enjoyed terrific days out — both involved in each and every goal — while Samir Nasri also had a good game on the left despite less tangible rewards.
The presence of the duo of Alex Song and Jack Wilshere in midfield gave Cesc Fabregas more freedom to work with the front three an unlike his uncharacteristically poor technical performance against Ipswich in midweek, the Spaniard caused West Ham all sorts of problems. The home side didn’t help themselves though: they afforded our boys too much space in the final third and were punished for their lack of organisation.
Song was impressive in the middle, bossing his area with authority and removing a lot of the pressure from Djourou and Laurent Koscielny behind him. I’m still not sure about the beard but he seems to have put a minor mid-season dip in form behind him and has been back to his consistent best in recent games.
Credit too has to go to Szczesny in goals. Called in late as a result of Lukasz Fabianski’s shoulder problem, the younger Pole put in another solid performance between the sticks and will be happy with the clean sheet. He didn’t have too much to do but everything he did well: stretching himself to save from Cole and organising the penalty area well.
Walcott also looks to be closer to the player that romped through the opening stages of the season since returning from injury and looked unplayable at times today. He gave Wayne Bridge a torrid time on his debut, exploiting the space that was provided to him to set up the first and score the second before winning the penalty for the third.
As far as Premier League wins go this was about as routine as it can get. Thankfully, after the week we’ve had, it was just what the doctor ordered.
Now we just have to decide who to cheer on in the game at White Hart Lane later today…
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