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West Ham 1, Arsenal 3
ARSENAL recovered from going a goal down at West Ham to move into the top five following a pulsating derby at Upton Park.
The Hammers took a 20th minute lead against the run of play when Mohamed Diame riffled an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
But the Gunners levelled with Oliver Giroud’s close-range finish five minutes before the break, and sealed the win in the last 20 minutes as sub Theo Walcott and man-of-the-match Santi Cazorla helped themselves to goals against their tiring hosts.
Arsenal made a bright start and the recalled Giroud forced Jussi Jaaskelainen to push his early grass cutter around the post.
Returning striker Andy Carroll was more effective in the Hammers defence for the opening 20 minutes, most notably when he headed Giroud’s vicious strike over the bar from an uncleared corner.
But after being on the back foot in the opening exchanges, West Ham took the lead - and in spectacular fashion.
Diame had plenty to do when he picked up the ball in the right channel, but he beat Aaron Ramsey easily and then bent an unstoppable shot into the top corner from an acute angle.
It galvanised the hosts and soon Carroll was back to doing what he enjoys - laying off headers and flicks to his team-mates and testing visiting keeper Vito Mannone with a header from Mark Noble’s corner.
The Gunners went close 10 minutes before the break, but Giroud just failed to get enough purchase on Per Mertesacker’s flick on from Kieran Gibbs’ cross.
But they did draw level five minutes later when Lukas Podolski’s delicious cross teased its way past Guy Demel and then Jams Collins before Giroud stabbed it home expertly from close range.
The Hammers went very close to retaking the lead on the stroke of half time when Carroll nodded Mark Noble’s free-kick into the path of Kevin Nolan with a clear sight of goal. But the ball was just behind West Ham’s top scorer and he stabbed it just wide.
There was a worrying-looking injury from Ricardo Vaz Te on the hour mark following an innocuous clash with Mannone. The lively winger tumbled with minimal contact from the keeper, but was forced to leave the field in some distress with what was later confirmed as a dislocated shoulder. He is expected to be out for between six and 12 weeks.
Walcott entered the fray as a 61st minute substitute and within seconds he back-heeled a ball into the path of Giroud, but the Frenchman could only slide an effort into the side netting from a tight angle.
Then Carroll went very close as he out leapt Mannone to put his head on a left wing cross from George McCartney, but the ball whistled just past the post to spare the keeper’s blushes.
Nolan looked as surprised as anyone when he was ruled onside from a Carroll header forward, but the skipper’s clear run at goal was snuffed out by Mertesacker.
Arsenal had what looked like very good claims for a penalty turned down when Ramsey tumbled under a scruffy challenge from Matt Taylor, and seconds later Podolski forced Jaaskelailnen into a smart stop.
Arsenal went in front with 13 minutes to go when Walcott got the benefit of a very tight offside call from Giroud’s pass before calmly side-footing the ball past the advanced Jaaskelainen and just inside the post.
Regulars to the Boleyn Ground would have bet good money on Nolan dragging them level seconds later, though, but the usually lethal midfielder lifted his shot over the bar.
And they were made to pay for that miss soon after as the impressive Cazorla hit an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 20 yards.
Taylor stung the hands of Mannone with a minute to go, but that was as close as the Hammers went late on.
West Ham (4-5-1): Jaaskelainen; McCartney, Reid, Collins, Demel (Tomkins 78); Vaz Te (Taylor 61), Noble, Nolan, Diame (Cole 81), Jarvis; Carroll.
Arsenal (4-3-3): Mannone; Jenkinson, Reid, Collins, Demel (Tomkins 78); Ramsey, Arteta, Cazorla; Podolski (Koscienlny 86), Giroud, Gervinho (Walcott 61).
Echo MOM: Santi Cazorla (Arsenal).