By Randy Osae
An inspired contribution from the bench by Emmanuel Adebayor helped Arsenal to a convincing 2-0 triumph at a fiery Upton Park.
Skipper William Gallas returned from injury, while Nicklas Bendtner replaced a rested Emmanuel Adebayor to partner Robin van Persie in attack.
Very early on, Theo Walcott tested Green with a shot from a tight angle and soon after, a searching ball from Fabregas to Van Persie saw the Dutchman tugging in the box with the defender and that created ignored penalty claims.
Then a Craig Bellamy effort from long-range called Almunia into action for a little touch to send it for a corner. Bendtner tried to do the same but his low shot drifted wide. Theo Walcott then carved the closest chances of the half when he stroke thunderously to brush off the bar after an outstanding run to beat West Ham’s defenders. He then shot from close-range with his left foot and was destined for a goal until Robert Green parried it away swiftly.
But West ham were sharp on the break and could have lead when Craig Bellamy – set-up by a clinical pass from Scott Parker – out paced Clichy and Gallas but Almunia incredibly stopped the net-bound ball with his foot.
Nicklas Bendtner then forced a save from Robert Green after cutting back from the left and shooting on target with his right foot. The first half had been goalless but definitely not eventless.
The second-half’s proceedings were much like that of the first 45 minutes. West Ham came out more to pose questions for Arsenal’s back.The London derby resumed it’s competitiveness and both sides were desperate. A series of unsuccessful Arsenal tries in attack intrigued Wenger to replace flank youngsters Nasri and Walcott with lanky men Emmanuel Adebayor and Abou Diaby.
As those amends took time to effect, Robin van Persie was agonizingly denied by non other but the post. The Dutchman’s well curved free kick looked set to finally beat Robert Green but it struck the right post.
But Arsenal ensured it wouldn’t be another day of misfortune when Emmanuel Adebayor’s shot was turned into the net by Faubert for an own goal with fifteen minutes left. Arsenal’s short-traveling fans fueled noises of relief.
West Ham were still determined to avoid a third straight league defeat and the home crowd roared in demand for a penalty when a highly anticipated corner kick took ages to be cleared away from Arsenal’s territory by a confused pile of men.
And when Arsenal eventually got the ball away from the danger area, Nicklas Bendtner picked out Adebayor intelligently on the break and the Togolese forward coolly rounded Robert Green to stab the ball into the back of the net.
With the game virtually done, Carlton Cole was sent off for a clumsy challenge on Alex Song while Bacary Sagna was allowed to play a few seconds after replacing Van Persie. The Gunners had demonstrated their title credentials very clear on the day Chelsea’s long unbeaten league record at Stamford Bridge was ended by Liverpool.