An amazing second-half salvo gave Arsenal a resounding 5-1 victory over fellow Londoners West Ham at the Emirates Stadium.
Jack Collison's wicked drive put the visitors ahead in the first half for all of four minutes before Lukas Podolski levelled with an equally-impressive effort.
And before the second half was too old, Arsene Wenger's men went goal-mad as Olivier Giroud (twice), Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott all scored in a brutal 10-minute period, during which Podolski added three assists in less than five minutes to his man-of-the-match performance.
The result gives Arsenal supporters reason to believe in their team, but adds further misery to the away woes of Sam Allardyce's men.
Despite resting several key players in the face of struggling away form already this season, the Irons were up for the trip to one of their city rivals.
The match kept a brisk and physical early flow, and the hosts had the first serious chance when Jack Wilshere weighted a perfect through pass for Walcott, whose first touch was almost as brilliant as Winston Reid’s last-gasp challenge to deny him a shot at goal.
The New Zealander’s intervention proved crucial four minutes later as the visitors took a surprise lead – the Gunners failed to clear two consecutive set pieces and the second was smashed into the back of the net by Collison.
Thankfully for the home fans, another left-footed piledriver brought them back on level terms just four minutes later, as Wilshere teed up Podolski for an even more impressive drive for 1-1.
Joey O’Brien and Aaron Ramsey each cleared goal-bound efforts off the line before a pulsating first half ended, but while the action would remain at intense levels after the break it was all at one end of the pitch.
Arsenal almost immediately went ahead for the first time when Walcott’s corner towards the near post seemed to be a wasteful one, but was rather aiming for the run of Giroud, who met it perfectly and half-volleyed into the roof of the net two minutes into the half.
Five minutes later and the hosts pulled away with a vintage Arsenal goal combining all three of their big summer signings and ending with Podolski selflessly teeing up a close range Cazorla finish when he could easily have gone for a second.
Less than 60 seconds later, three became four as the Gunners tore West Ham to shreds on the break and Podolski weighted a perfect early low cross for Walcott to tuck past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
And with less than 57 minutes on the clock, Podolski was again found in miles of space on the left, allowing the German international to pick out Giroud this time for the Frenchman’s second.
Things went from bad to worse for the East London club when young prospect Daniel Potts - on the field for little more than 10 minutes – was knocked unconscious by an innocuous challenge with Bacary Sagna which led to a stretcher, oxygen mask and a trip to the local hospital.
With all three subs used, West Ham saw out the game’s conclusion – including 12 minutes of added time – with just 10 men, and Walcott, Cazorla and Per Mertesacker all came close to further widening the score.
On a positive note, news came out shortly before the full-time whistle that Potts had regained consciousness in the ambulance.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Lukas Podolski - Arsenal: Brought the Gunners back from behind with a superb goal before setting up another three within a five-minute period.
Arsenal: Szczesny 7, Sagna 6 , Mertesacker 7, Vermaelen 7, Gibbs 7, Ramsey 7, Wilshere 8, Cazorla 9, Walcott 9, Podolski 9, Giroud 8. Subs: Santos 6, Koscielny 6, Oxlade-Chamberlain 6.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen 6, Demel 5, Reid 6, Tomkins 6, O'Brien 5, Noble 6, Collison 7, Taylor 5, Nolan 5, Vaz Te 4, C. Cole 6. Subs: Potts n/a, Diarra 6, Diame n/a.
- Sports & Recreation
- Lukas Podolski
- Lukas Podolski
- Theo Walcott
- Olivier Giroud
- Santi Cazorla