Arsenal had their nervy moments in Tuesday's 3-1 win over the Hammers, but ultimately secured a comfortable victory through Podolski (2) and Giroud.
Oliver Giroud is an infuriating player
The Frenchman looked like he was having another of his frustrating games, struggling to get hold of the ball early on and being bullied by the West Ham back line. A glorious first half chance saw him nonchalantly flick the ball towards goal when he should have buried it. Yet, in a moment of sublime skill that saw Arsenal take the lead, Giroud killed a 50 yard ball under intense pressure and then powered home through Adrian's legs. It was a special goal, "Bergkamp-esque" Paul Merson said afterwards. And the thing is, it just goes to show the talent the French International DOES have. If only he could do it more often.
Thomas Vermaelen has proved that Wenger should pull out all the stops to keep him
In recent weeks club captain Vermaelen has impressed whether he has been deputising at centre back or at full back. Still just 28, the Belgian is rightly unhappy he is not first choice. But having grown more accustomed to playing left back over the last few fixtures, he is now arguably ahead of Nacho Monreal in terms of his performances, and Wenger should do whatever it takes to keep a defender as talented, and as versatile as him at the club.
Lukas Podolski should be shown more confidence
The German has had a difficult season this year, struggling to seize a role in the club and continuing to be avoided when it comes to a centre forward role. He had always made it clear that he doesn't see himself as a left winger, and it is quite surprising that Wenger has turned to rookie Yaya Sanogo over a man who is the fifth highest goalscorer for the German national team. Against West Ham, Podolski flourished once he got in the penalty box, scoring two and leaving spectators why he has only completed 90 minutes twice all season.
Arsenal have had their fair share of midfield injuries to contend with this season, not least to summer signing Mesut Ozil and flying winger Theo Walcott, but the absence that likely impacted them the most was Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman was flying before Christmas, rivalling Luis Suarez as the division's most impressive player and dragging the Gunners to the top of the league. However, a thigh strain on Boxing Day ruled him out for over three months, and Wenger's men have missed his drive and goal threat from midfield. The two games since his return have shown that Arsenal might still have been up there challenging if Ramsey had avoided such a prolonged spell on the sidelines.
Arsenal are still likely to get the last Champions League spot
Much of the talk before the game was about whether Arsenal are in genuine danger of missing out on that final Champions League place. Everton's superb seven game run has seen them surge into a position where, to put it simply, if they win their last five games they'll finish above Arsenal. But a quick look at the remaining fixtures for the two sides shows this is no easy task. The Gunners have a whole host of winnable matches while Everton must tackle Manchester United and Manchester City at home, and Southampton away. If Everton are to win twelve games in a row (nearly a third of the entire season) to seal that spot, they deserve it, but between the two Manchester clubs, there will almost certainly be some dropped points.