Premier League - Podolski double keeps Arsenal's top-four hopes alive

Premier League, Emirates - Arsenal 3 (Podolski 44, 78, Giroud 55) West Ham 1 (Jarvis 40)

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Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game (PA Photos)

Lukas Podolski scored twice as Arsenal came from behind to beat West Ham 3-1 and keep the pressure on Everton in the race for the fourth Champions League place.

Arsenal should have led through Olivier Giroud after half an hour, but the below par Frenchman lacked any conviction as he failed to trouble Adrian with a weak flick with the outside of his boot.

Giroud's miss was punished by West Ham, who opened the scoring with a scrappy goal by Matt Jarvis, who headed in after Arsenal failed to deal with Antonio Nocerino's run and cross.

The Hammers led for only four minutes as Podolski levelled with an instinctive finish into the bottom corner from the impressive Santi Cazorla's through-ball, after a lazy clearance by Stewart Downing.

Giroud made amends for his earlier miss with a superbly taken goal, reminiscent of Gunners favourite Dennis Bergkamp in his pomp, that put Arsenal ahead 10 minutes after the break. Bringing down Thomas Vermaelen's cross with a silky first touch, the striker drilled under Adrian with an explosive right-footed finish.

Arsenal avoided a nervy finish when substitute Aaron Ramsey created the third with a perfectly-cushioned header for Podolski, who drilled into the roof of the net.

KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH - KALLSTROM STARTS! The Swede makes his much anticipated first start for the Gunners, three months after signing for the club.

30' - GIROUD MISS! The Frenchman misses a sitter. Cazorla sides the ball through for him but, rather than going for power, he flicks it straight at Adrian.

40' - GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 West Ham. Jarvis heads in from close range as Arsenal fail to deal with Nocerino's run and cross.

44' - GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 West Ham. Podolski levels with a quick equaliser, arrowing in after Cazorla seizes on Downing's poor clearance.

55' - GOAL! Arsenal 2-1 West Ham. Giroud gives Arsenal the lead with a brilliant touch to control Vermaelen's cross, and then finishes well under Adrian.

78' - GOAL! Arsenal 3-1 West Ham. Podolski gets his second and wraps up the win with a rasping finish from Ramsey's knock-down.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS

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KEY STATS

Podolski has now scored four times in his last three Premier League appearances against West Ham.

The Gunners have won more points in London derbies than any other side this season in the Premier League (25).

Lukas Podolski completed just his fourth PL match for Arsenal, despite making 49 league appearances for them now.

West Ham have lost despite taking the lead in their last four league meetings with Arsenal.

Podolski gets two goals in a single PL match for the first time in 13 matches, since he got two against Fulham on 24 August 2013.

TALKING POINT

Will Arsenal get fourth? Given how long they set the pace in the Premier League, few expected them to have a fight on their hands for fourth. Everton have the advantage, but also the pressure. Given the Toffees' tough run-in, Arsenal surely have the edge.

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MAN OF THE MATCH

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) - Has received some criticism from Arsenal fans lately, but proved himself with an effervescent performance. Created the equaliser and could have been on the score sheet himself.

PLAYER RATINGS

ARSENAL: Szczesny 6, Sagna 6, Mertesacker 7, Koscielny 7, Vermaelen 7, Arteta 6, Rosicky 7, Kallstrom 7, Cazorla 9, Podolski 8, Giroud 7. Subs: Ramsey 7, Jenkinson N/A.

WEST HAM: Adrian 7, Reid 7, Tomkins 6, Jarvis 7, Armero 6, Carroll 6, Noble 6, Demel 6, Diame 7, Downing 5, Nocerino 7. Subs: Vaz Te N/A, J Cole N/A, C Cole N/A.

MATCH IN A TWEET

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