Let’s trawl back over some of the primary causes of discussion from yesterday evening’s dire Carabao Cup defeat to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium as David Moyes’ Hammers lost for the first time in four matches.
Hart Slated For Welbeck Winner Involvement
Returning in goal for Adrian San-Miguel in North London was, inevitably, England keeper Joe Hart, who has most recently lost his Premier League starting place to the Spaniard.
The former Manchester City man originally lost his No1 spot after a string of questionable performances, most notably against the likes of Watford and Everton, last night questions were asked once more.
One argument, Hart only conceded one goal against an attack that possesses stars such as Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud, although, in a game that only brought with it one shot on target for either team, this counted for very little.
On the other hand, when the Gunners managed to record that effort, the game’s only goal, there could be no doubting the role that Hart had played in it and it would lead to another soul-destroying Media battering.
O the stroke of half-time, Mathieu Debuchy lifted a ball in front the right for Welbeck to meet, Winston Reid challenged him, however, the ball fell perfectly for the England striker around three yards from the goal-line.
His tame effort somehow managed to squeeze underneath the man between the sticks, with Hart appearing to dive over the ball when he seemingly should have been able to prevent it from bulging the back of the net.
Aside from that, despite having very little to deal with, he was perhaps fortunate to get off lightly in the second period when Welbeck burst through and he fouled him on the edge of the box, narrowly avoiding a penalty-kick and a red card.
Many are claiming that yesterday’s performance is another slip down the ladder for Hart in a World Cup year and that while his playing opportunities are ever diminishing, so are his chances of remaining England’s No1.
But, one thing is almost certain, Adrian, who has kept three clean sheets in the last four League games, three consecutively, will have the Jersey once more for Saturday’s PL clash with Newcastle United in Stratford.
Negative Formation Yields Negative Results For Moyes
While over 7,000 members of the Claret & Blue Army were treated to very little attacking intent from their side, there was no doubt that Moyes had set out his team to defend for the most part.
Outfield, as many as six naturally defensive players were fielded, including winger Arthur Masuaku who was featuring at left wing-back and forgetting defensive midfielder Pedro Obiang just in front of the back four.
As a result, most of the visitors’ attacking movements came on the counter-attack and without the likes of suspended Manuel Lanzini, Marko Arnautovic and Michail Antonio, this tactic didn’t work as well as it has done in recent weeks.
Instead, the threat going forward came from Portuguese youngster Domingos Quina, who struggled to match up to the Arsenal defenders physically, and an off the pace duo of Javier Hernandez and Andre Ayew further forward.
Unfortunately, this meant that Moyes’ men could only get one shot off, it wasn’t on target and came in the form of an Aaron Cresswell free-kick that whistled past David Ospina’s left-hand post, but never really troubled him too much.
Despite the introductions of Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho, no clear opportunities could be created, and the affair would peter out comfortably for the hosts.
However, one would feel that an attacking impetus will return at the weekend for the visit of the Magpies and the drab showing in North London was simply a blip in the Moyes revolution.
Hammers Bow Out Of Carabao Cup
Having defeated Cheltenham Town, Bolton Wanderers and perhaps most impressively of all, Tottenham Hotspur in previous Rounds to make it to the Quarter-Finals.
Wenger’s Gunners proved a step too far, a stumbling block in the Hammers’ quest to pick up a first Major Honour since 1980, but exiting the League Cup at this stage is something that members of the Claret & Blue Army have got used to in recent years.
In last year’s Competition, Manchester United were the opponents to knock the East Londoners, then Managed by Slaven Bilic, out with a resounding 4-1 triumph at Old Trafford.
Last night’s outcome is made to look even more respectable when pitted against the end result of their 2013/2014 Cup run, which was halted with a humiliating 9-0 aggregate defeat to the Citizens.
West Ham have never won a League Cup, losing out in the 1981 Final to Liverpool, and reaching the Semis on a number of occasions, twice in the last six years to be precise.
However, the wait for a Trophy in this Competition will now go on for another year, with the FA Cup left as a shot at glory, Shrewsbury town await in Round Three at the start of January.
Fans Fume At Dire All-Around Affair
It didn’t matter whether you aligned the home end or the away end of the Emirates Stadium, it’s fair to say that you didn’t enjoy what was meant to be a pulsating London Derby yesterday.
The aforementioned only shot on goal being the only real highlight of the match, the home side dominated possession and mostly kept the ball in midfield, last week’s 0-0 draw at the London Stadium the more entertaining of the two affairs.
Comments such as “I would rather be watching paint dry” and “can the Referee just blow his final whistle”? From both sets of supporters were seen to be doing their usual rounds on Social Media.
And when Kevin Friend finally did blow for time there was a feeling of relief from most parties involved and their much-changed teams, it was certainly a night for experimentation in Holloway, something that would only really work for the Gunners in the end, despite making 11 alterations from the start.
So, now that we have covered everything there was to talk about from a night that won’t live long in the memory of too many people at the Emirates, will there be more positive or entertaining points to draw on come Saturday night? When Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle have visited East London.