Olivier Giroud netted his first Barclays Premier League goal as Arsenal came from behind to beat West Ham United 3-1 at Upton Park.
After losing their unbeaten start to the new season in a 2-1 home defeat against leaders Chelsea last weekend, Arsene Wenger’s team recovered from conceding an early goal to Mohamed Diame.
Giroud, a summer signing from Montpellier, netted from close range just ahead of half-time, with substitute Theo Walcott slotting home another on the break before Santi Cazorla struck a 25-yard effort.
Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs, though, limped off in the second half, which could be a concern for England, although West Ham striker Andy Carroll did complete the full 90 minutes on his recovery from a hamstring problem.
Before kick-off, there was a well-observed minute’s applause for former West Ham defender John Bond, who passed away recently.
Arsenal started brightly as Giroud sent in a low shot from 20 yards which forced Jussi Jaaskelainen into action, before Cazorla had a goalbound shot blocked.
West Ham looked to utilise Carroll’s presence whenever possible, but saw their opponents dominate possession as Arsenal continued to press.
First, Carl Jenkinson’s cross was hacked behind and then Carroll knocked Cazorla’s fierce drive over his own crossbar.
West Ham, though, snatched the lead against the run of play in the 21st minute. The ball was worked down the left channel and Diame cut inside Aaron Ramsey to fire an angled drive into the top corner. West Ham were now on the front foot, with Carroll’s close-range header straight at Vito Mannone.
Arsenal had a chance to equalise when Giroud just failed to connect with Per Mertesacker’s flicked header through the six-yard box.
The France striker, though, did bag his Premier League goal four minutes before half-time. After winning the ball in midfield, Giroud stabbed it out to Lukas Podolski on the left. The German darted to the byline before cutting the ball back across goal, where Giroud arrived at pace to slot home.
West Ham, though, could easily have gone back in front just before the break when Kevin Nolan knocked the ball wide from close range after a free-kick into the Arsenal penalty area.
After the restart, West Ham started on the front foot, forcing a succession of corners. Matt Jarvis’s shot-on-the-turn flew over as the hosts pressed again.
Wenger looked to inject some fresh life into the visitors’ attack when he sent on Walcott for Gervinho.
Walcott almost helped set up a goal when Cazorla’s shot hit Ramsey and bobbled in West Ham penalty area, his clever backheel was cut into the side-netting by Giroud from a very tight angle.
West Ham went close moments later as Carroll knocked a deep cross wide after getting above Mannone.
The game was wide open now as both sides created chances, Cazorla firing off target after a jinking run before Mertesacker’s last-gasp tackle denied Nolan. At the other end, Podolski’s low drive was spilled behind by Jaaskelainen.
Arsenal broke away to take the lead with 13 minutes remaining. Giroud fed Walcott, who timed his run to beat the offside trap, dart into the penalty area and beat the goalkeeper with a low shot inside the near post.
West Ham quickly spurned a chance to draw level when Nolan blasted over from 10 yards.
It was game over when, in the 83rd minute, Cazorla finally got his goal, lashing a left-foot effort into the top-right corner from 25 yards.
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|25 Nov 2012||v Tottenham (A)|