West Ham out of the Carabao Cup with a whimper as Arsenal sneak into semis
PUBLISHED: 21:54 19 December 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
The Hammers failed to get a single shot on target as they crashed out in the last eight
Carabao Cup Quarter-Final
Arsenal 1 West Ham United 0
The Hammers were shot out of the Carabao Cup by the Gunners on a dreary, disappointing night at the Emirates Stadium.
With a semi-final place at stake, David Moyes men failed to even muster a single shot on target yet alone a corner as Danny Welbeck’s scrambled effort just before the break proved enough to fire Arsenal into the last four.
Having already drawn with Arséne Wenger’s men in the Premier League just six days ago, Moyes boys had stretched their unbeaten run to three matches with their biggest win of the season at Stoke City on Saturday, but after making half a dozen changes, they were a mere shadow of the team that had secured that precious 3-0 win over the Potters.
Buoyed by the victory that had lifted them to 15th spot in the table – 11 places and 16 points behind Arsenal – and having seen off Cheltenham Town, Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur in the previous rounds, the two-time finalists had arrived at the Emirates Stadium looking for a second-successive north London scalp.
Joe Hart came in for Adrián, while the suspended Manuel Lanzini missed out after being given a pre-match, two-game ban by the dive police following his theatrical, penalty-winning tumble at the Britannia Stadium.
That meant call-ups for Domingos Quina, Declan Rice, Winston Reid, André Ayew and Javier Hernández, too, as Mark Noble (hamstring) and Michail Antonio stood down alongside substitutes Pablo Zabaleta and Marco Arnautović.
Twice winners, Arsenal had already accounted for both Doncaster Rovers and Norwich City in the earlier stages of the competition and Wenger had the luxury of making 11 wholesale changes from the team that had beaten Newcastle United in the Premier League at the weekend.
And despite fielding a totally fresh team, those new faces quickly gelled, forcing West Ham on the back foot and winning a trio of early corners, but with this quarter-final tie being played out in the middle third, neither keeper was called into action during an opening half-hour devoid of any tangible threat.
On 38 minutes, though, Sead Kolašinac finally unleashed the first shot of the evening but his 18-yarder flew high over the far angle and, moments later, the Bosnian whipped in a left-wing cross that the diving Theo Walcott wastefully headed wide to the frustration of everyone red and white.
But three minutes before the break the deadlock was finally broken, when Francis Coquelin picked out the over-lapping Mathieu Debuchy and the Frenchman nodded the cross-field pass into the danger-zone, where Welbeck ghosted in between the statuesque James Collins and Reid to bundle the ball past Hart from just a couple of yards.
From the Hammers perspective, it was a poor, poor goal to concede in the defensive heartland of their own six-yard box and they departed at the interval without having troubled redundant Arsenal keeper, David Ospina.
Just after the restart, Reid was far more forceful, when he robbed the breaking Welbeck, while at the other end, Pedro Obiang’s defence-splitting pass sent Hernández on his way but he was bundled over by Calum Chambers without reward, much to the fury of the Mexican.
Midway through the second period, Arthur Masuaku was halted by Debuchy and, with Aaron Cresswell drilling the consequent free-kick wide, Moyes made a double-substitution in a bid to pose some threat at the Arsenal end.
‘We’ve had a shot,” came the ironic chants from the vociferous, long-suffering, Hammers fans packed behind Ospina’s goal as Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho stepped from the bench in place of the retiring Cresswell and Hernández.
While the duo’s arrival injected some new found urgency into the Hammers, Hart was still forced to sprint from his line to take out Welbeck on the edge of his area at the expense of a yellow card but Mohamed Elneny’s free-kick came to nothing.
Arnautović replaced Quina for the final stages but on a night when their supporters deserved so much more, West Ham departed as quietly as they had arrived to leave the Arsenal ball going into the semi-final draw.
GUNNERS: Ospina, Debuchy, Kolašinac, Holding, Chambers, Coquelin (Da Silva 89), Elneny, Willock (Sheaf 85) Walcott, Giroud (Nelson 77) Welbeck. Unused subs: Macey, Reine-Adelaide, Akpom, Nketiah.
HAMMERS: Hart, Ogbonna, Reid, Collins, Masuaku, Cresswell (Carroll 65), Obiang, Rice, Quina (Arnautović 84), Ayew, Hernández (Sakho 65). Unused subs: Adrián, Zabaleta, Hakšabanović, Makasi.
Booked: Hart (72)
Referee: Kevin Friend