Hammers rout edges Gunners near top four

Julian Harris
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WEST HAM boss Sam Allardyce last night denied star midfielder Mohamed Diame is on his way to Arsenal, after watching his team thrashed by the Gunners.

Jack Collison gave the Hammers an early lead but Lukas Podolski soon equalised, and four goals in 11 frenetic second-half minutes from Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott boosted Arsenal’s Champions League hopes.

Diame, who has been linked to a move from east to north London, came on as a second-half substitute – but Allardyce denied his omission was due to anything other than a recent a hamstring injury.

“At the moment we’ve had no bids from the type of clubs that have been speculated – not an Arsenal, not whoever else, not a Newcastle,” he said. “He’s our player at the minute and hopefully on 1 February [after the transfer window shuts] he’ll still be our player.”

West Ham took the lead on 17 minutes when Collison pelted in a half volley from 18 yards. But three minutes later Podolski equalised with an even more fierce shot.

Straight after the break a low Walcott corner was turned in by Giroud, and before an hour was up Cazorla had flicked in a backheel and two superb passing moves were finished by Walcott and Giroud.

Arsenal’s joy at the result – which moves them a point behind Everton, and four points off the Premier League’s top four – was marred by injury to West Ham’s Dan Potts, who was hospitalised with concussion.