Premier League Match Report: Gunners soar after Giroud finds his feet

West Ham United 1 Arsenal 3: Misfiring Frenchman finally shows signs of true value with blistering finish to spark comeback

Upton Park

Arsenal's supremacy over West Ham goes back a good way in terms of results and League position and a ninth successive game against them without defeat carried the North London side back above their East End rivals after a vibrant derby.

With Andy Carroll proving a handful on his return, Sam Allardyce's side were briefly in front, only to be pegged back by Olivier Giroud and then overwhelmed in the last quarter of an hour. Giroud, having his best game for the club, set up substitute Theo Walcott for a fine finish, and with eight minutes left the ever excellent Santi Cazorla ensured West Ham's first home defeat since promotion.

As Arsène Wenger pointed out, Arsenal have recovered well from last weekend's home defeat by Chelsea to record successive 3-1 wins, first against Olympiakos and now here. "We started with a lot of questions raised around the team this season," Wenger said. "Overall it was a very important test for us and it was a convincing performance." Wenger – the object of tasteless abuse from West Ham fans during the match – admitted it was "impossible" to control Carroll for 90 minutes, although for the first 20 the big striker, starting for the first time in a month, was as busy heading away corners as feeding off what few scraps there were at the other end. He even had to block one fierce drive by Giroud from one of Arsenal's seven first-half corners, so it was all the greater a shock when West Ham took the lead.

The goal followed good work by George McCartney down the left, although there seemed no great danger until Mohamed Diamé suddenly turned inside Aaron Ramsey and swept a delicious shot across Vito Mannone into the far corner of the net. Booked, absurdly for an over-exuberant celebration, Diamé was treading a thin line and should technically have been dismissed when he clattered into Mikel Arteta with under half an hour played.

It would have been too much had West Ham doubled their lead, which they almost did when Carroll's firm header from a corner flew straight at a grateful Mannone. Instead, justice was done five minutes before half-time. Shortly after failing to direct his header from Per Mertesacker's flick on target, Giroud produced the sort of finish for which Arsenal paid some £10 million in the summer. The Frenchman began the move himself by sweeping a pass out to Lukas Podolski down the left, and then lunged forward to meet the cross with the equaliser.

The home side might have been ahead at the interval as a result of the revived partnership between great friends Carroll and Kevin Nolan. A long free-kick was nodded down effectively by the big striker and as the ball sat up his former Newcastle team-mate (and briefly landlord) could not quite set himself properly to guide it the right side of the post.

In the second half West Ham's early momentum was halted by a rash of substitutions. Arsenal lost their left-back Kieran Gibbs, who Wenger described as "very doubtful" for England's forthcoming World Cup games with a thigh injury. Andre Santos replaced him, but there was no evident injury to Gervinho, who had been playing down the right despite his recent scoring run of goals from centre-forward. Walcott came on for him. Next Ricardo Vaz Te suffered a dislocated shoulder after Mannone dived at his feet and be out until Christmas.

West Ham continued to look for Carroll at every opportunity and were almost rewarded when he climbed above the goalkeeper to reach McCartney's long cross, holding his head as the ball drifted wide. It was a key moment, as was the instant when Diamé lost possession and Giroud sent Walcott through for what he later called an answer to his critics. Cazorla has no critics, only admirers, and he rewarded them with a glorious third goal.

West Ham (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Demel (Tomkins, 73), Reid, Collins, McCartney; Noble, Nolan, Diamé (Cole, 82), Jarvis; Vaz Te (Taylor, 64), Carroll.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Mannone; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs (Santos, 56); Arteta, Ramsey; Gervinho (Walcott, 61), Cazorla, Podolski (Koscielny, 85); Giroud.

Referee: Phil Dowd

Man of the match: Giroud (Arsenal)

Match rating: 7/10

Suggested Topics
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridgeface-off in the final
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture