Does Hammers thrashing mean the Wenger plan is working?

By Avenell Dave

I spoke yesterday about whether or not Arsene Wenger's new masterplan of building a team around British core with more established stars.

It was fitting that all three of our big summer signings scored last night.

Lukas Podolski gave me good reason to shut up after I questioned his ability to fit into the team - and I was happy to do so.

He can be devastating in attack but, even last night, he left Kieran Gibbs exposed and better teams have and will take advantage of his lack of workrate.

While no one is in doubt of the quality of Santi Cazorla, who had another fine gam, I was delighted to see Olivier Giroud get on the scoresheet and I'm sure he as as disappointed as I was that he wasn't given the chance to complete his hat-trick.

We lost something when he went off - and although the injury to Potts effectively ended the game as a contest, we would almost certainly have scored more goals had the Frenchman continued to lead the line.

I watched his performance closely last night and while some of his flicks did not come off, he seems to me to be a very intelligent player and a record of 11 goals and nine assists at this stage of the season is a pretty decent return.

Theo Walcott had a fine game as well, and it was good to see Bacary Sagna get back to the sort of form we are accustomed to.

Some of the football we played last night, even in the first half, was scintillating and brought back memories of Arsenal at our best.

But let's not get too carried away. It's four points out of a possible 12 so far this month and while last night's thrashing was more than welcome, West Ham backed off us and gave us the space to dictate the play.

Smarter sides know how to put us under pressure and force us into the erros we have seen all too often this season.

Fat Sam fielded Diame as a sub and even in that brief cameo, he showed skill and power that showed he would be an asset to us, particularly at £3.5m.

You can only beat who is in front of you and we were superb last night.

I'm confident that we can be a match for anyone.

But we have lost four massive games so far this season and we cannot hope to dine at the very top table unless we start competing with our so-called rivals on a consistent basis.

Let's hope Wenger wasn;t being flippant when he said he had to cut his press conference short in order to get on with business. Signings still need to be made in order to strengthen the squad, improve team morale and provide a filip to the fans who, let's face it, need a morale boost as well.

As an aside, it is interesting to see that the club has slipped in the recent rankings of European clubs.

Realistically, we can expect to be behind the likes of Real, Barca, Bayern and even M*nure but it was telling that much of our revenue comes from ticket sales rather than commercial deals.

I'm happy to give Tom Fox, Ivan Gazidis and his team time to broker the volume of deals that will mean we rely less on tickts and match-day income and more on external incomes.

Gazidis has said in numerous interviews and speeches that it is a huge project and that he knows Arsenal have a lot of ground to make up.

We know we have the kudos to attract more sponsors. 

The challenge now is to remain competitive so that the negative aura that afflicts the club every time we slip up no longer provokes talk of continual crisis. If we're not in the Champions League or winning trophies, sponsors are going to be less interested in being associated with us or of paying what we want.

The only way to solve that is through player investment.