This defeat highlighted Declan Rice’s significance to Arsenal. Mikel Arteta chose to assess some of his team’s players and ended up accusing them of neglecting the basics against highly motivated opponents. This must have been unsettling for Jorginho, Reiss Nelson, Jakub Kiwior, Fábio Vieira, Leandro Trossard, and Kai Havertz to hear. Arteta discussed Arsenal’s lack of competitiveness while West Ham, led by Jarrod Bowen and Mohammed Kudus’ impressive attack, advanced to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals. Rice, who spent most of his first return to the London Stadium on the bench, was greatly missed.
The midfield lacked structure with Jorginho playing as the anchor instead of the player who cost £105m. Arsenal did not put up much of a fight and could not argue with the result, although Arteta believed West Ham’s first goal should have been disallowed. West Ham’s manager David Moyes, who secured his first win over Arsenal, could be satisfied with a job well done. Edson Álvarez, one of the players brought in to replace Rice, dominated the midfield. Bowen was impressive in the forward position and Kudus scored an impressive goal. Konstantinos Mavropanos stood out against his former team, displaying strength and authority alongside Nayef Aguerd in central defence.
“I believe we are evolving into a strong team in cup competitions,” stated Moyes, as his team gears up to face Liverpool in the quarter-finals. “However, our ultimate goal is to also excel in the league. Our only victory so far has been against Arsenal, but that does not guarantee us any trophies. The draws in cup matches hold significant weight.”
Moyes was reserved, which was surprising considering West Ham’s biggest win against Arsenal since 1987. On the other hand, Arteta openly expressed his disappointment. He stated that the team must use their defeat as motivation for their upcoming Premier League match against Newcastle. Changes are expected, with Rice, William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Ødegaard, and Bukayo Saka returning to the lineup. Takehiro Tomiyasu will most likely replace Oleksandr Zinchenko at left-back after struggling in the previous game, especially when defending against Kudus who scored West Ham’s second goal early in the second half.
The situation was chaotic. Zinchenko may excel at ball control, but rival wingers are aware of his vulnerabilities and Arsenal faced consequences until Arteta substituted the Ukrainian in the 57th minute. They had not made much progress, with Havertz underwhelming once again, and one noteworthy occurrence was a shaky performance from Aaron Ramsdale. Given the opportunity to prove himself as the starting goalkeeper over David Raya, Ramsdale did not impress when West Ham scored their first goal through Ben White’s own goal.
The match quickly followed a familiar routine, with West Ham focusing on defense and absorbing pressure. This was a typical approach from Moyes when facing stronger teams, and Arsenal, who had six substitutions after their victory over Sheffield United, seemed to lack their usual speed. Havertz attempted a header in the eighth minute, but it was easily saved by Lukasz Fabianski. West Ham remained patient, waiting for chances to launch counterattacks.
West Ham’s limited number of touches in the Arsenal box before half-time was not a significant factor. They were able to score in the 16th minute, thanks to Bowen’s corner kick from the right side. Ramsdale, the Arsenal goalkeeper, complained that he was obstructed by Soucek tugging on his shirt, but no one else on the team took control of the situation. The ball ended up being deflected off White’s head and Ramsdale’s late attempt at a flying punch did not seem effective.
The reaction from Arsenal was not very strong. Eddie Nketiah missed a header from a corner, while West Ham became more self-assured. They had a near miss at the beginning of the second half, when Lucas Paquetá passed to Bowen and Ramsdale made a clever save to stop the forward.
West Ham was starting to get comfortable with the situation. They realized that Arsenal was weak against high balls and they scored another goal when Aguerd played a long diagonal pass over Zinchenko in the 50th minute.
The left defender made a mistake in predicting the path of the ball, leaving him stuck when it landed at Kudus’ feet. From there, it was all about Kudus’ skill. He controlled the ball with his first touch, allowing him to change direction and his second touch was even more impressive: a left-footed shot from an angle that flew past Ramsdale and into the far corner.
Rice entered the field to a mixture of both negative and positive reactions, while West Ham maintained a strong and dominant presence. Arsenal failed to put up a fight when Vladimir Coufal made a move from the right-back position after an hour of play. Coufal’s cross was met with a weak clearance from White, allowing Bowen to score with a deflected shot past Ramsdale.
Arteta made changes to the lineup by bringing in Martinelli, Ødegaard, and Saka. Despite this, Arsenal could not recover from Havertz’s poor performance. Ødegaard’s late goal was not enough to make a difference.