Oliver Giroud netted a double, Lukas Podolski scored and set up three more as rampant Arsenal closed the gap on the Champions League positions by thumping West Ham United 5-1 in their rearranged Premier League match on Wednesday.
Arsenal, finding a spark and much-needed self belief after successive league defeats by title-chasing Manchester City and Chelsea, ran riot with four goals in 12 mad minutes after the break having fallen behind in the first half to Jack Collison’s goal.
Podolski, recalled after illness, quickly levelled with a superb strike from 25 metres. Giroud’s volley made it 2-1 soon after the restart before German international Podolski, causing mayhem on the left flank, set up Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Giroud to leave shellshocked West Ham 5-1 down before the hour.
West Ham were forced to play with 10 men for the final 18 minutes after substitute Daniel Potts was carried off on a stretcher.
Potts was treated for 12 minutes on the pitch before being taken to hospital suffering with concussion after clashing heads with Bacary Sagna.
Arsenal stay sixth but are now one point behind Everton and four behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur after 23 games.
“We played at a very high pace, great movement and quality in our final balls and in our combination play,” manager Arsene Wenger said of the second-half deluge.
“This team has a fantastic mentality. That’s what we want to show until the end of the season now.”Reuters