The Gunners emerged as victors in the quarterfinal match of the Carabao cup against West Ham, as they now have advanced into the semis as they anticipate who their opponent in the semi-final would be.
Bear in mind that this is a competition Arsenal manager; Arsene Wenger is yet to win as a manager with the champions league inclusive.
The Gunners manager made an array of changes to the starting XI that faced Newcastle in the one-nil victory over the weekend at the Emirates. David Ospina, Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Sead Kolasinac, Francis Coquelin, Mohammed Elneny, Joe Willock, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud, were his preferred starting XI for this match.
This was an Arsenal side that had stability but lacked creativity as there were no pushovers in every department of the team; with everyone looking to make a point, particularly our CB partnership in Chambers and Holding as they were able to deal with the threats of a strong West Ham side.
Standout performers in this game for the Arsenal were Debuchy, Joe Willock, Chambers, Holding, Coquelin and Kolasinac and it was clear to see why they were standout performers. Debuchy was a menace to the opposition, because of delightful crosses into the opposition box and his contribution in the attacking department – himself and Kolasinac.
The 38th minute of the match was perhaps the clearest chance of the entire match, which Theo Walcott failed to capitalise upon. A breakout run from Kolasinac, who had Giroud and Walcott running into open positions as he whipped in a swelter cross that missed everyone but Walcott; with the Englishman misdirecting his free header off target.
Minutes later, the only goal of the match came in the 41st minute for the Arsenal in an un-Arsenal manner but a goal is a goal so I’d take it. Francis Coquelin was superb in his ball distribution as he was able to pick out Mathieu Debuchy with a long ball in the opposition box, with Debuchy heading the ball to Welbeck who initially missed his header but did well in scrambling the ball into the net of Joe Hart.
The second half lacked real cutting edge between both teams, as neither teams was able to create to create a spark in the final third of an attack. One thing that didn’t go as planned was Giroud and Coquelin picking up injuries as we enter the busy period of the Premier League.
Giroud was unfortunate to pick up a hamstring injury as the Gunners were breaking on a counter-attack before the Frenchman halted and went to ground. Giroud should be missed as he offers a different dynamics in our playing style, which we would miss for another 3-6 weeks.
All focus now is on Friday as we host Liverpool at the Emirates, hoping we avenge the humiliating defeat we suffered at their hands earlier in the season.