Arsenal won 3-0 against a poor West Ham side, who were short of firepower, as the hosts prepare for a great escape in Monaco in their Champions League last-16 second leg. This is the Gunners’ fifth league game in a row.

The hosts dominated the first-half and could have gone ahead a lot earlier in the match had it not been for the brilliance of West Ham’s goalkeeper Adrian, who made a catalogue of fine saves. The opportunities for Arsenal came as early as the fifth minute, when Walcott should have scored, as he had a strong penalty appeal that was waved away by referee Chris Foy. Walcott, who was in for the injured Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right, showed rustiness with his opportunities in only his third Premier league start this season. 

Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey were also finding it impossible to get past Adrian, who was proving to be a force between the posts, but his net was finally breached on the stroke of half-time by the red-hot French international, Olivier Giroud, who put the Gunners in front, with his stunning left-footed strike off the post after good interplay.

The second-half was a close affair, but Matt Jarvis and Kevin Nolan were not able to make their chances pay for the Hammers, as they were looking likely to score an equaliser at 1-0. The late introduction of Santi Cazorla, with twenty minutes remaining, was the catalyst for Arsenal; Cazorla was influential in the Welshman Aaron Ramsey’s, goal in the 81st minute, which he curled from 12 yards. Three minutes later Mathieu Flamini, a late substitute, scored a third for the Gunners with a close range finish, to add gloss to a comfortable performance for the home side.

This was an important win for Arsenal, who are now third in the Premier League, just a point behind Manchester City. Arsene Wenger will be pleased that his side kept a clean sheet, as West ham did create a number of chances in the game but were missing the likes of Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll up front to put them away.

Arsenal have their most important week of the season coming up on Tuesday, as they will be returning to Arsene Wenger’s former club Monaco, to try to overturn a two-goal deficit in their Champions League last-16 second leg.

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