West Ham 1 Arsenal 3: Win underlines title credentials, declares Wenger
West Ham 1 Arsenal 3: Arsene Wenger feels his side have proved themselves as title contenders with battling win
Arsene Wenger insisted that Arsenal have proved their status as genuine Premier League title contenders after watching his side come from behind to beat West Ham United.
Following a goalless first half at Upton Park, striker Carlton Cole gave the home side the lead when he fired in after Wojciech Szczesny spilled a shot in the 46th minute.
We had a difficult period just now but honestly that was mainly down to the schedule we had
But Wenger’s men fought back and Theo Walcott equalised when his left-footed shot sneaked past Adrian, before the England international headed home substitute Lukas Podolski’s cross.
And Germany international Podolski, who impressed as he made his first appearance since August after recovering from a hamstring injury, then secured the points with a well-taken finish in the 79th minute.
“If we had not won we would have had to answer many questions today,” said Wenger, whose side moved top of the table after the win.
“That was a kind of game that many people would have questioned us about had we not won today – and even more if we had lost.
“Yes [Arsenal have proved they are title contenders]. We have another good game now on Sunday at Newcastle who are in full confidence as well so that will be another test.
“The team wants to do well and the character is great. The concentration is top. I believe we had a difficult period just now but honestly that was mainly down to the schedule we had. I think that the schedule was absolutely horrendous but we can show that in the future.”
Wenger’s side were dealt a blow, however, when Aaron Ramsey was forced off in the second half with what appeared to be a torn thigh muscle.
And the Frenchman confirmed that the injury looks likely to keep the Wales midfielder out for a number of weeks.
“It looks [serious]. It looks like a thigh strain,” he added.
“I don’t know how serious the thigh strain is but the Christmas period certainly is over for him. It was his birthday today. I don’t know how long [he’ll be out for]. We will see tomorrow morning.”