It might have been another snooze-fest but Arsenal have beaten West Ham and progressed to the League Cup semi-final.

The Gunners rarely make it past the quarter-finals of the League Cup so this is new…

Arsenal started the clash well. Although it was always likely that the Gunners would dominate possession, we’ve not been doing much with it lately so it was good to see a bit of zip to our play during the opening exchanges. Not that it lasted long.

Mathieu Debuchy looked lively down the right-hand side and was linking up well with Theo Walcott on the overlap. However, Theo’s passes in the final third were a bit dead. Olivier Giroud was called offside twice within the first 10 minutes.

Joe Willock, who was playing in the middle, was also keen to impress, hunting down every single ball and scarcely giving West Ham a chance to breathe.

Calum Chambers also looked solid and dealt with any early danger. Not that there was much.

Giroud was giving the Hammers a hard time in the box and their defence struggled to deal with his physical presence early on. Debuchy rolled in a lovely cross but the striker didn’t have enough room to shoot properly.

Theo then had the chance to set up the Frenchman again but the 28-year-old’s cross was terrible, completely missing the box and gliding out for a goal kick. I’m pretty sure we all felt Giroud’s frustration in that moment as he just watched Theo ball sail over his head and off the pitch.

Other than this, the tie wasn’t exactly a thrill a minute.

After a feisty five minutes, Arsenal reverted back to their usual clueless, stagnant passing from midfield, up one flank, then back to midfield, up the other flank, back to defence and repeat. We actually looked confused about what we were supposed to be doing.

Mohamed Elneny tried to make a run from deep at one stage and was actually having to point to his own feet to get people to come forward for the ball.

It was so dire that even Francis Coquelin made a run through the middle. Of course, his long pass over the top to Theo bounced away from the forward, who appears to have lost quite a bit of pace.

In the 38th minute, Sead Kolasinac had a go after cutting inside and shooting just over the bar. At least it was something!

Minutes later, the Bosnian floated a superb cross into Theo in acres of space. All the forward had to do was direct it into the net either side of Joe Hart. He even had enough time and space to chest the ball down and line up his shot… but he headed it wide.

Finally, it was Danny Welbeck who managed to bundle the ball into West Ham’s net before half-time. It was scrappy but a goal none the less. Debuchy got the assist.

West Ham got off to a slightly livelier start in the second half after David Moyes’ half-time talk.

Meanwhile, Arsenal had Elneny taking free-kicks.

Debuchy was once again good in attack but wasn’t too quick to get back to defend, which can be problematic for a defender…

Rob Holding was lucky not to give away a free-kick on the edge of West Ham’s area after fouling Javier Hernandez. The traveling support got a bit noisier.

Debuchy then tried to release Theo with a lob on the move but the forward wasn’t quick enough to get on the end of it. Until this point, the 28-year-old had been invisible for the second half.

Holding’s foul on Hernandez turned out to be a blessing in two ways. Firstly, West Ham fans were livid that they hadn’t been given a free-kick and secondly it kicked things up a notch. Finally, there was a bit of life about the game with Kolasinac, Welbeck and Willock all passing fluidly in an attempt to get forward. However, as usual, in the final third we lost it.

Aaron Cresswell was given a free-kick outside of Arsenal’s box but his effort was way too high.

Andy Carroll was the first sub of the game in the 65th minute. He immediately tried to kill Coquelin by barging into him when the Frenchman jumped for the ball but he was denied a yellow card because he’d just come on, which seems a tad silly…

In the 71st minute, Arsenal had a penalty claim when Hart raced out of his goal to deny Welbeck the ball. However, it was just outside the area and not a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Unfortunately, during one of the Gunners most exciting attacks of the game, Giroud pulled up with a hamstring injury and was subbed off for Reiss Nelson almost immediately.

Nelson made a difference, adding some more zip to our attack and getting involved as soon as he stepped onto the pitch.

Shortly after the change, David Ospina threw himself to the floor, as he tends to do at least one-per-game.

Arsenal continued to stage attacks but lacked quality in the final third and were unable to increase their scoreline. Still job done.

The goal wasn’t pretty, nor was the performance, but we’ve not made the semi-finals of the League Cup since 2011. We might as well enjoy it while we can…

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Daily Cannon