In a Carabao Cup showdown that exposed Arsenal’s overreliance on Declan Rice, West Ham delivered a resounding defeat, highlighting the Gunners’ deficiencies in midfield and defensive capabilities.
Mikel Arteta’s experiment with squad players backfired, leaving him frustrated with the lack of intensity displayed by his team against a motivated West Ham.
The absence of Declan Rice, who spent a majority of the match on the bench in his first return to the London Stadium, left Arsenal’s midfield without structure.
Jorginho, playing as the anchor, struggled to fill the void left by the £105 million man. West Ham capitalized on this, securing their spot in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals with exciting attacking displays from Jarrod Bowen and Mohammed Kudus.
While Arteta felt that West Ham’s opener should have been disallowed, David Moyes celebrated his first win over Arsenal as West Ham’s manager.
Edson Álvarez, brought in to replace Rice, dominated the midfield, Bowen excelled upfront, and Kudus scored a remarkable goal.
Konstantinos Mavropanos stood out in defense against his former club, displaying strength and authority alongside Nayef Aguerd.
Moyes modestly admitted, “Maybe we’re becoming quite a good cup team,” while Arteta expressed his disappointment and began to look ahead to Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Newcastle.
Several key players, including Rice, William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Ødegaard, and Bukayo Saka, are set to return, and changes are on the horizon.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, who struggled at left-back, is expected to make way for Takehiro Tomiyasu, as Arsenal aim to address their vulnerabilities.
The game was marked by a shaky performance from Aaron Ramsdale, who had the opportunity to stake a claim for the starting goalkeeper position but fell short.
Despite West Ham’s limited touches in the Arsenal box in the first half, they took the lead in the 16th minute through a Ben White own goal from a Bowen corner.
Arsenal struggled to respond, and West Ham maintained a compact defense while waiting for counterattacking opportunities.
West Ham extended their lead in the second half when Kudus capitalized on a misjudged pass by Zinchenko, showcasing impressive technique with a stunning left-footed shot.
Bowen added to Arsenal’s woes with another goal, sealing a convincing victory for the Hammers.
Arteta’s late substitutions of Martinelli, Ødegaard, and Saka failed to rescue Arsenal, and a late consolation goal from Ødegaard proved inconsequential in the face of West Ham’s dominance.
This defeat for Arsenal emphasized the significance of Declan Rice in their lineup and highlighted the need for improvements in midfield and defense as they look to bounce back in the Premier League.