Arsenal 3-1 West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
Lukas Podolski's double helped overturn a Hammers lead as Arsenal triumphed 3-1 over the east Londoners at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.
Matt Jarvis' 40th minute header edged West Ham in front over a nervy Arsenal side, who had fallen behind Everton in the race for fourth spot at the weekend.
But Podolski's leveller on the stroke of half-time breathed new life into their challenge and the visitors were not able to respond in the second half.
First Olivier Giroud gave them the lead for the first time, before Podolski - with his fourth goal in as many appearances against West Ham - wrapped it up late on.
The Hammers were without their skipper Kevin Nolan, absent after picking up a hamstring injury in last week's defeat to Arsenal. He was replaced in midfield by Antonio Nocerino, while Jarvis came in for Matt Taylor.
West Ham made a confident start, as Arsenal struggled to find an early rhythm, and with seven minutes on the clock Jarvis' cross found its way to Nocerino at the far post, whose goalbound shot needed a block from Thomas Vermaelen.
Arsenal responded on 14 minutes when Tomas Rosicky found a pocket of space in midfield and knocked the ball through to Podolski. The German crossed dangerously and Giroud only just failed to make contact in the middle.
West Ham were looking the more dangerous though and Mo Diame swiped a left-footed effort over the top after a corner was played back into the area on 18 minutes.
Jarvis was finding space on the left flank and looked to exploit it when his pace, but Arsenal began to settle around the half-hour mark as their one-touch football around the box threatened to unlock the Hammers.
With 30 minutes on the clock, Santi Cazola slipped Giroud in, but with only Adrian to beat, the Frenchman opted to try and flick the ball over his dive and the Hammers keeper was able to save.
Ironically, it was just as the Gunners were finding their feet that Jarvis struck to give the Hammers the lead. Nocerino made a strong run down the right flank and drew a save from Wojciech Szczesny with his shot at the near post. The Italian kept the ball alive and it popped up for Jarvis to bravely stick his head in and nod into the empty net.
The advantage was to last just four minutes as the Hammers were punished for a poor clearance from Stewart Downing. Cazorla picked the ball up and passed to Podolski, who controlled with his first touch and fired into the far corner with his second.
The Hammers forced the first opening of the second period when Guy Demel carried the ball out of defence and passed to Downing, who advanced to the edge of the box and dragged a left-footed effort wide.
Before long though, Arsenal were in front as the visitors failed to deal with a lofted diagonal ball from deep, and Giroud got in between Winston Reid and Andy Carroll to bring the ball down and shoot between Adrian's legs.
Just past the hour the Gunners were inches away from a third when they won the ball off the Hammers and broke with pace. Cazorla received possession on the right flank and moved inside before unleashing a shot from 20 yards which whistled just past the post.
West Ham could not trouble the hosts after the interval in the same manner as they did before, and Podolski's second of the game 12 minutes from time made sure of the points.
Home sub Aaron Ramsey created the goal with a cleverly cushioned header which fell perfectly into Podolski's path to smash high into the net beyond Adrian.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Arteta, Kallstrom; Cazorla (Jenkinson 88), Rosicky (Ramsey 72), Podolski; Giroud
Subs: Fabianski, Oxlade-Chambelain, Sanogo, Akpom, Bellerin
Goals: Podolski 44, Giroud 55, Podolski 78
Booked: Rosicky, Kallstrom
West Ham United: Adrian; Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Armero; Nocerino, Noble, Diame; Downing (J.Cole 78), Carroll (C.Cole 84) , Jarvis (Vaz Te 78)
Subs: Jaaskelainen, McCartney, Taylor, Johnson
Goal: Jarvis 40
Booked: Nocerino, Diame
Referee: Kevin Friend