Arsene Wenger was impressed with the way his side shut out West Ham on Wednesday night, and pointed out defensive duo Rob Holding and Calum Chambers as the top performers.
The 1-0 win over West Ham in the Carabao Cup quarter-final was a game of few chances, with only the defensive performance of Arsenal being a particular highlight.
While Arsenal weren’t at their free-flowing best, they played the game in West Ham’s half and barely gave the visitors a sniff of their goal.
Much of that was down to the good work of Rob Holding and Calum Chambers. The two Englishman were starting together in a back four for the second time, and dealt well with West Ham’s attack.
Arsene Wenger has singled them out for praise, and was most impressed with their defensive capabilities and confidence on the ball.
“It’s very good when you have that quality at that age,” Wenger told Arsenal.com.
“When you give them this kind of opposition and it gives them credit and makes everybody think there is something there that you can work with to reinforce that quality.
“Chambers is very comfortable [at centre back], he is calm on the ball, he wants the ball and Rob as well. Both of them have done that very well, when you look the ball is played out from the back and they both have that quality.
“Overall I must say we played with excellent spirit, great quality as well, and maintained the pace in the game for 90 minutes, but I have a big respect for this team because they managed to get through this game without giving a chance to West Ham at all.”
Holding is looking for form again after a difficult start to the season, and he’s been ever present in the cups of late. Chambers is also hoping to find some form after a hip injury kept him out for the first couple of months.
While the two aren’t being considered for the Premier League first-team at the moment, defensive performances like this won’t do them any harm.