The starting line up was one that many of us would have predicted, but quite a few of us would have liked to see Walcott in the front three, his pace is so vital in breaking down sides like West Ham who are guaranteed to come and park the team bus in front of the goal. The team was Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Denilson, Arshavin, Nasri, Chamakh.
The first half was a tad lacklustre, the tempo and pressing wasn't quite enough to really rattle West Ham, still we created by far the better of the chances, Green having to make smart saves from Cesc, Song and Squillaci. Arshavin didn't have a great half, Nasri wasn't in the game enough, we didn't seem to throw the kitchen sink at them early doors.
The second half saw a much improved performance, the pressing was better, the tempo faster, West Ham were panicking and making errors. The ref Jones had a special spell in which he showed his abundant lack of skill, he failed to book Parker for an appalling scissoring lunge on Denilson, he allowed numerous tackles from behind from West Ham, he allowed Behrami to shove Song with two hands in the box and he missed a blatant tug back from Costa on Arshavin in the penatly box.
Still we had plently of chances. Arshavin got in a few times, the final ball was too often something inbetween a cross and a shot. Nasri was looking more dangerous, he tested Green on more than one occasion and beat him with a fantastic thirty yarder that bounced back off the bar at some speed with the keeper floundering. Walcott came on and instantly had an impact, he again beat the lucky Green, only to see his shot bounce back into Green's arms off the inside of the post.
Time was running out. Cesc forced Green into another decent save with a low fizzer, it was very lucky for West Ham that Green's block narrowly avoided the marauding Bendtner who looked ready to tap home the rebound. Then when hope was fading, Clichy brilliantly cut inside from the left wing, dinked a great chipped cross in with his right foot, Song met it five yards out and Green was finally beaten. The desperate West Ham players were appealing for an offside, replays proved conclusively that it was miles onside and the linesman's decision was vindicated.
We played the game out without worry and West Ham had their just deserts. There was something particularly annoying about West Ham, the never ending moaning at the referee from the fouling Parker, the niggling deliberate fouls, it was very satisfying to see them walk away with nothing. Although the first half was a bit dull, we gave a very good account of ourselves in the second half, it could easily have been a far greater margin of victory with a bit more luck. It was good to see Gael Clichy put in a great assist and have a much stronger game today, Cesc was again instrumental in the win. Another vital three points won, well done lads.