Arsenal – West Ham 1-0 – Progress to semi-finals of the League Cup!
Lots of empty seats in the stadium this evening, particularly among the seats up at the back. It’s difficult to assess, but I reckon the attendance was around 40/42,000. Plenty of West Ham fans behind the goal at the Clock End, or whatever it’s called these days. The atmosphere, however, was quite good with lots of youngsters in the crowd.
First half was a bit so so. West Ham didn’t really threaten, it was really a case of Arsenal being efficient in front of goal and, despite the messy finish, the build-up was quite good and I was delighted to see Danny score, whatever way it went in.
Carroll was the pantomime villain, and when he came on he injected a bit of an edge both on and off the field, but in truth all he did was give away a succession of free kicks. He is quite a dumb footballer.
Arsenal maybe should have added a second goal in the 2nd 45 minutes. Walcott had a game to forget; nothing he tried came off and his finishing was forgettable. Giroud battled away against the rather industrial West Ham center-back, but then hobbled off with a nasty hamstring. If we see him back before Nottingham Forest, I’ll be amazed. Welbeck never stopped working and battling away, and, with Giroud injured, Danny will hopefully get a chance more centrally, where he is more effective from a goal scoring perspective.
Midfield was quite strong: both Elneny and Coquelin had good games, but for me Joe Willock showed his quality and had that knack of doing something encouraging. A turn here, a dummy there, a tackle, a run with the ball and a few errors, but I was very happy with what I saw from him and I think in 18 months he will be a big player for us.
Kolasinac was steady, Debuchy was very good and our center-backs Holding and Chambers dovetailed perfectly; they really do make an effective team and seem to enjoy playing with each other, I do hope that Wenger brings them on together.
Ospina, despite concerns about his handling of the high ball did a really tidy and safe job in goal.
Nelson came on and showed some impressive and thoughtful stuff. You can see that he’s an intelligent player who is thinking about what he’s doing, for such a young player he kept possession and helped run the clock down as the game petered out.
Sheaf was only on briefly but he showed a cool head and a sound technique. He always looked as if he had time on the ball; I was really impressed by his calmness in those hectic last few minutes of the game.
DaSilva came on right at the end.
Yes, it was a good learning exercise for our impressive youngsters, I enjoyed it.