This being a Cup-tie the Arsenal got to take a lot more fans to this match than is the norm and they all made themselves heard loud and clear.
The first half saw Arsenal play the better football but as is often the case we were somewhat lacking in penetration with neither Wishere nor Merida being able to impose themselves on the game. Vela started up front with Edurado wide left, roles which were to be reversed later in the game. Diamanti hit a shot for a throw-in, always an embarrassing thing to do. Merida had a shot saved. Ramsey with a shot deflected for a corner. Vela with a shot blocked. Eduardo had a shot saved at full length by Green.
Clattenburg the ref for this match was mediocre. He failed to allow a clear advantage in favour of West Ham, he twice obstructed Arsenal players and failed to spot any number of fouls, especially rather obvious shoves in the back. A foul on Wilshere just outside the corner of the box but Ed's effort to the near post was neither a good pass nor decent shot. Stanislas with a decent free kick just over. The ref body checked Song. Song carded for a clear foul which saw Diamanti's free kick very well saved by Fabianski who is clearly pushing for a regular first team slot, I think his time may have come now. Green tipped away a cross towards Vermaelen who might have done better with his shot. Ramsey was working very hard and playing some great stuff off either foot, he's not quite the finished article just yet but he's certainly getting close.
Vela through but saw his shot saved. Vela back-heels to Jack who could have done better. Great Hammers break, but slowed down by Nouble. Daprela axes Jack from behind for a yellow card. Silvestre tries to play offside and fails miserably as Diamanti goes on to score in the 46th minute. Poor play in defence had given the Hammers a somewhat fortuitous lead at the break. Not that West Ham hadn't given it a go, but it was our poor play rather than their good play that allowed them to score. This left us with a major uphill struggle in the second half.
Nouble shot wide. Vela tripped as West Ham come out as if the game was a Cup-tie, maybe we should be trying that. Behrami everywhere like a rash. Nouble went on a solo after Song lost control. Stanislas shot but Fabianski pulled out another fine save. Vela doing well down the left flank. 'We love you Arsenal we do'. Ramsey took a knock, Eduardo with a good cross, shortly followed by a blocked shot. Good cross from Merida. Poor shot by Ramsey from range. At this stage the Hammers looked like they might score a second. Fabianski takes a high ball in from a free kick against Ramsey. West Ham broke but were stopped on the edge of our box again.
And then the game changed dramatically on 65 minutes when Arsene wheeled out Diaby and Nasri to replace Merida and Wilshere. Nasri started well and Diaby, now full of confidence, had a shot blocked. Sagna won our umpteenth corner, many of which had been fired in too short by Fran. A Diaby shot saved from close in and Green saved again from Song as one of his own players clattered him. Diamanti hanging onto Vela, Green took the free kick from Diaby high. Nasri fired over a poor shot but Arsenal were now well on top and starting to sparkle. Nasri to Song, to Vela who found Ramsey close in, he swivelled and drove it past Green with his left peg in front of the travelling Gooners. 1-1. It was pretty well all Arsenal now.
Jimenez kicked Diaby in the neck, which is no mean feat given the man's height. But there was no card for dangerous play. Diaby was still off the field when Vela fired in a perfect cross from the left. Eduardo managed to beat Upson in the air to head a looping header into the top corner. Green might have done better but it was 1-2 on eighty-two minutes. Michael the beret in the crowd was seen holding up a huge F A Cup and the fans behind the goal were going ape.
Song just over. 'We're the famous Arsenal and we're going to Wem-ber-lee'. Ramsey to Vela who saw his shot cleared off the goal line. And we were now in total control as the Hammers faded. Fabianski fired one upfield and showed just what a really two-footed keeper he is, most unusual. Five minutes added time. Vela shoved in the back with the ref three yards away looking on, no free kick. John Hartson gave the man-of-the match to his fellow Welshman Aaron Ramsey and it was a reasonable call. Final whistle and we were in the 4th round draw a few minutes later. We're up against another Premiership team away, this time at Stoke.
I had the misfortune to watch the game courtesy of ITV with. Jim Beglin (spelt w-a-n-k-e-r) spouting off, mainly through his arse. According to him West Ham were hard done by, to which I can only say look at the stats: shots 19-8 to Arsenal, shots on target 13-4, corners 14-3. Which hardly spells out an even game does it? The commentator along side the clown Beglin was for a while wetting himself at the thought of Arsenal going out in the 3rd Round, mainly because Wenger never ever has. Maybe he never will.
It's been said before and will no doubt be said again, but we will miss Alex Song. Big time. Nice game, shame about our kit.