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Pleasure for Podolski as Gunners collect three precious points

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 15, 2014

Lukas Podolski

Arsenal's Lukas Podolski (second from left) scores his side's third goal of Tuesday's game against West Ham. Picture: PA

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Lukas Podolski was delighted as FA Cup finalists Arsenal moved back into the top four of the Premier League for the next 24 hours at least following a 3-1 comeback victory over West Ham at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.

Against the run of play, West Ham took the lead five minutes before the break as Matt Jarvis headed home from close range, but Podolski equalised four minutes later after picking up Santi Cazorla’s cross in the penalty box.

Giroud put the Gunners ahead 10 minutes after the break as he collected Thomas Vermaelen’s fine ball in the box and sent it through Adrian’s legs to make it 2-1 and Podolski made the points safe with just over 10 minutes to go.

Podolski told Sky Sports: “After the FA Cup it was important that we switch on to the Premier League, we must fight for the fourth place. We want to play next year in the Champions League – it is very important and we must watch from game to game.

“Today was the first step which was very important, now let’s focus on our next game.”

Arsene Wenger’s side, who reached the FA Cup final after a penalty shoot-out win over holders Wigan Athletic last Saturday, moved one point above fifth-placed Everton, who take on Crystal Palace on Wednesday night as the battle for the last UEFA Champions League spot intensifies.

Man of the match Cazorla knows how important their next match is, as they look to finish in the top four.

Arsenal next take on Hull City away on Sunday before facing Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City, and Cazorla said: “The most important thing tonight was the win, we need to win all the games.”

On the link up with Podolski for the opener, he added: “It’s easy when I have an understanding with Lukas, always in training every day. The most important thing was the win and now we freshen up for Sunday.”

For West Ham, who had not played since the home defeat to Liverpool on April 6, it meant their second loss in a row and Sam Allardyce's side are not yet safe from relegation.

Six wins from their last 11 games has seen the Hammers climb away from trouble but they are currently seven points above the drop zone with four matches remaining.

Allardyce said: “We’d done so much up until then [when Arsenal scored the equaliser]. To get the goal, I think we deserved it.

“But probably the one thing that disappointed me was that we didn’t create more from our opportunities in the first half.

“We finally got a very good goal and I think that the key was to hold on to that until half-time and then say to the lads, ‘going out there now there’s more pressure going to come on Arsenal, the home fans half-expect them to beat us today’.

“That would have been more pressure on them, but we released the pressure on them by making two errors for both the goals and allowed them to get in front.”

The Hammers' boss was pleased with his side’s performance, but admitted they need points on the board from their final four matches.

He added: “Overall, it was a good performance but it makes no difference in the end; you’re here to play and get results, you’re not here to play well and lose.

“I’ve got a lot – we’ve got a lot – to do between now and the end of the season in terms of making sure we try and get as many points as we can and as many victories as we can on the board.”

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