Arsenal 1 West Ham United 0
Welbeck 42

Arsenal secured safe passage to the Carabao Cup semi-final with a 1-0 win over West Ham United at the Emirates stadium on Tuesday night. Danny Welbeck scored three minutes before the break, after Mathieu Debuchy headed back from the right. Arsene Wenger made eleven changes from the side which beat Newcastle United by the same scoreline, however this was anything but a game for the purist. The Hammers fielded a much changed side who were unable to muster a single effort on David Ospina’s goal. The Gunners made their only effort tell, with Theo Walcott also seeing a header were off target. One bit of bad news for Arsene Wenger, Olivier Giroud came off with a hamstring injury and looks to be out of contention for Friday’s Premier League hosting of Liverpool.

Following the win, Wenger said “I felt we played with quality, spirit and pace in the first half. Overall over the 90 minutes we looked very solid defensively. We were not tested at the back too much, tested but not in danger. In the second half we lost a little bit the pace we played with in the first half and were less creative, and then couldn’t finish the game off. It was down to not making a mistake. Overall I think it’s a positive night for us apart from the fact that we lost Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin, who looks less problematic. Giroud looks to be out for Friday night.”

Arsenal are used to visiting teams defending deep and then aiming to counter attack and that is what transpired at the Emirates which made for not very attractive fare. Wenger acknowledged as such.

“I think it was intense but they defended very well and didn’t want to give us any space. In the first half we were patient and kept the ball well on the ground. We created some dangerous situations. In the second half it was much more difficult for us because we lost some of the pace in our game.”

Wenger has never won this cup, and with Manchester City and either Manchester United, Bristol City or Chelsea or Bournemouth also aiming for a March Wembley visit, will have his work cut out to add the missing trophy to his tenure in N5. Immediate concerns were the fixtures and the player use on a a very busy festive period and beyond.

“When you look at our fixtures in January and February, you cannot imagine we will always play with the same players in every game. Will I change from Premier League game to Premier League or only in the Carabao Cup? I don’t know yet – I have to look at the fixtures to see what I do.

“It is very demanding, especially because we already have a tough schedule behind us. We have to sit down and analyse very well what we can do. What is very worrying in my job is when you start to lose players, like Giroud tonight. After, you cannot afford to lose another one. I have to look how I can manage the schedule.”