Final Score: Arsenal 1-0 West Ham United
Danny Welbeck scored the only goal of the game as Arsenal edged West Ham to advance to the EFL Cup semi-finals. The striker bundled home the only goal late in the first half to decide a contest that was otherwise devoid of opportunities.
It proved to be enough to book Arsene Wenger’s side their first League Cup semi-final place in six years as West Ham offered very little in the way of goal-threat.
Captain of the night, Theo Walcott wasted a golden opportunity, heading a Sead Kolasinac cross wide when he was picked out free in front of goal in the first-half. Although Walcott’s blushes were soon spared as Welbeck forced home from close-range after Mathieu Debuchy had headed Francis Coquelin’s perfect pass across goal to find the England international.
A fit-again Javier Hernandez joined goalkeeper Joe Hart in the Hammers’ starting XI but neither he nor any of his team-mates could conjure a single shot on target in the entire game.
The visitors’ first genuine attempt on goal saw Aaron Cresswell send a free-kick wide of David Ospina’s post after the break. And despite introducing strikers Andy Carroll and Diafro Sakho, David Moyes’s side failed to trouble Arsenal’s defence and crashed out of the competition.
The happy night for Arsene Wenger was spoiled somewhat when Oliver Giroud picked up an apparent hamstring injury late in proceedings and was replaced by Reiss Nelson.
Arsenal Player Ratings
David Ospina- 6/10
Had nothing to do. Collected a few stray balls with good confidence and wasn’t forced into a single save.
Mathieu Debuchy- 7/10
Debuchy got forward fell and put in a couple of decent crosses in the box. The Frenchman set up Welbeck’s goal with a clever header back across the box. It won’t be a surprise if he gets a start in the Premier League soon.
Rob Holding- 7/10
Holding was really good with his tackling and showcased his strength and intelligence. Barring one worrying cross-field pass in the first-half, he was composed. A decent outing.
Calum Chambers- 8/10
Truly impressive in the evening with his composure on the ball and calmness while defending. Dealt well with what little threat West Ham offered, even when the physically imposing Carroll was introduced after the break.
Sead Kolasinac- 7/10
Kolasinac was most of the time seen playing the left winger role as Arsenal dominated the game. Put in some mouthwatering crosses and was defensively sound too. Should have had an assist if Walcott hadn’t missed the sitter.
Mohamed Elneny- 8/10
A diligent worker on the pitch. Puts in his 100% every time, works harder, closes down quickly and makes clever passes. His decision-making in pressure situations is good, which puts him in a different bracket when compared to other Arsenal midfielders. High time he replaces Granit Xhaka in the Premier League?
Francis Coquelin- 6/10
Looked to add solidity to the midfield and successfully did so as West Ham players failed to knit any attacks. The Frenchman played a lovely ball to Debuchy in the build-up to Welbeck’s first-half goal.
Joe Willock- 6/10
Willock had a decent game. He did lose possession at times but that’s understandable from the youngster. Yet, showed signs of promise with his passing and strength over the ball. With the opposition toothless, his cautious approach was what that was needed.
Theo Walcott- 3/10
A night to forget for Walcott, who lead the team against the Hammers. Was flagged offside way too many times and never really created any chances for his teammates to feast on. How did he miss the open header is still a mystery. Awful!
Danny Welbeck- 7/10
That’s what you get when Welbeck starts or is in the team – the tireless running and closing down the defenders when they have the ball. Other than the scrappy goal, which eventually did turn out to be the winner, the former Manchester United prodigy was okay, nothing spectacular.
Oliver Giroud- 5/10
In what turned out to be a happy evening for the Gunners, it was marred with Giroud limping off after what looked like a nasty hamstring pull. Toiled hard for the team, did some good hold-up play but once again failed to receive the services from his teammates.
Reiss Nelson- 4/10
Introduced for Giroud but didn’t provide much of a threat, losing the ball few times.
Ben Sheaf- N/A
Came on for the final few minutes but had no real time to make an impact.
Josh Da Silva- N/A
Like Sheaf, he had no time to impact the game after coming on for Coquelin, who was taken off injured too.