Carabao Cup
West Ham United 3-1 Arsenal 

Wednesday, 1st November 2023
by Chris Wilkerson

West Ham ended their run of poor form with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Arsenal in the Carabao Cup this Wednesday evening.

The London Stadium rocked all night, eager to see their team fight back against recent negativity and go into battle with their title-chasing London rivals.


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With only a few changes made by the manager, West Ham put out a strong team. Only Fabianski, Mavropanos and Benrahma could really be considered changes from the first-team regulars, whilst Arsenal came with a strong side themselves.

An early Ben White goal in the first half was followed by strikes from Kudus and the striker Jarrod Bowen to see The Hammers comfortably cast aside Mikel Arteta's team. A stoppage-time consolation from Odegaard was met with quiet mocking rather than consternation, and the whistle blew to end the game almost immediately after.

The Hammers looked to right their wobbling form with a strong display. It's impossible to know whether regulars like Paqueta and Alvarez would have played had they not been suspended for this weekend's game with Brentford, but the pair were slotted into a hybrid 4-3-3/4-1-1, the Brazilian playing centrally as Benrahma came in on the left wing and Kudus took Bowen's berth on the right.

Alvarez also seemed to drop more into a holding role himself, and it balanced the side much better, as well as getting the team's most creative player back on the ball in central areas.

West Ham flew out of the blocks and should have had a massive early chance as Paqueta carried the ball with Bowen and Kudus running ahead of him against two defenders. Unfortunately, the Brazilian completely over hit his pass to put Bowen through.

It was a fast opening, but West Ham comfortably settled into their defensive shape more often from there, letting Arsenal keep the ball in front of them, although many will have been encouraged by the energy that Bowen, Kudus and Paqueta in particular brought to defending from the front.

Energy and desire were on show all over. If this game highlighted anything, it's that this team will work hard and do the running their manager requires. There was no better example than Sa??d Benrahma chasing Reiss Nelson from the Arsenal box to his own, slowing a counter and then ending it with a good challenge. If those in reserve have failed to press their case lately, the Algerian did not look in the mood to let his manager down again.

Lukasz Fabianski proved his agility remains with a good save from a Havertz header in the first 10 minutes. The German has disappointed so far in his Arsenal career, but if his fans want to suggest he was part of a weakened lineup, it's worth remembering his ??65m fee is comfortably above West Ham's record transfer fee.


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But while Arsenal were playing slowly around midfield, West Ham were set and ready to pounce. Disciplined does not have to mean unambitious, and so it proved as West Ham were forward-thinking with the ball.

That being said, even without James Ward-Prowse, West Ham always have set pieces to rely on.

After Alvarez arrowed a pass over the Arsenal defence that Gabriel could only just flick away from Kudus, the ball rolled out for a corner. Bowen curled it in, fizzing it in at the near post around head height.

The crowd in front of Ramsdale blocked his path, but it didn't matter, as Ben White (not an Eminem Halloween costume) threw his head back at it as it shot to his left, towards his own goal. All the right back could do was send it crashing into the back of his own net. 16 minutes gone and not only did West Ham have a lead, they had a reward for their early endeavours, and a shot of much-needed confidence.

It may have come as some shock to Arsenal, who had controlled the game at a leisurely pace, lacking the intensity West Ham were injecting into their work.

Their quality was bound to bring them chances, but fresh off a weekend hat-trick, Eddie Nketiah lacked a clinical finishing touch.

He had the best chances for the away side, one free header from a corner to the near post that was difficult, but could have been guided on target.

10 minutes later, the striker should have shown more composure after Zinchenko had drifted into the box from his inverted left full back position. The Ukrainian clipped a ball to Nketiah in the middle, but this time the forward snapped at his chance, getting under the ball and levering it over.


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The Hammers were disciplined and strong, but with confidence. One moment, Mavropanos was carrying the ball from box to box and winning a corner, the next the pack had forced Arsenal in retreat when trying to pass around their own area from a goal kick. Whatever superior quality Arsenal may have on the ball, they were being outplayed in workrate, determination and desire.

There was a header from Havertz that should have produced at least a save, instead drifting listlessly wide, but Arsenal had failed to turn the screw and really turn possession into pressure as the home side went in 1-0 ahead at half-time, even without having a shot on target.

Many West Ham fans will have expected an onslaught to come in the second half, but The Hammers flew out of the traps.

They could have doubled their lead within 20 seconds after Paqueta outmuscled Jorginho inside the West Ham half, and drove forward with Bowen scampering away ahead of him. Cutting in from the right, Paqueta darted centrally and then slotted it behind the defence, into the path of Bowen.

The forward went for the dink, but Ramsdale read it well as he rushed out to meet him, staying up and pushing it wide.

Five minutes later, they did get that second goal.

If you've been looking for the benefits of having a classy footballer like Aguerd in the defence, this goal was perfect. The Moroccan stepped forward at halfway and looked up before firing a long diagonal ball to Kudus.

The Ghanaian controlled it on the right side of the box, his first touch kicking it a couple strides away from him, perfectly set for him to step at it and fire an effort at goal. He did exactly that, his touch - which replays showed had a little bit of luck along with it - pushed it into the perfect spot, and he fired across goal and low into the far corner, beating Ramsdale comprehensively.


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It was enough to force Arteta to his bench, and it wouldn't take three guesses to work out who was the first man to step up off his seat. Declan Rice was called for, the former West Ham captain standing on the sidelines waiting, a slowly growing reaction as the crowd were made aware of his arrival.

Through a screen, mixed would be the best word to describe it. There were definitely boos, there were definitely cheers. Neither were vociferous and whilst touches of the ball were met with some booing, it was a rather lame welcome.

The crowd were soon distracted anyway. Three minutes after the ??100m came on, a ball bounced to the edge of the box and he wasn't there to mop up. Jarrod Bowen was.

It had started with Bowen, playing out wide to Coufal, who bombed down the wing. Bowen ambled towards the edge of the box, and that's exactly where White headed his clearance.

Bowen took it down quickly and fired off a shot at goal after a bounce. It was flying in within Ramsdale's range, until a deflection on the way to goal sent it rifling over the goalkeeper's shoulder, too close to him to react, and instead it smashed into the back of the net and West Ham were three goals to the good.

This time it was Saka and Martinelli sent on, but all the stars could not drag The Gunners back into the tie.

They created next to nothing until stoppage time, when substitute Odegaard received the ball as he stepped into the West Ham box, pushed in down the left-hand side of it and, from an angle, arrowed a low shot into the far corner, beating Fabianski when maybe he shouldn't have.

It mattered little. West Ham are in four competitions, Arsenal are in three. You boast whilst you can; it's Liverpool and Anfield next.


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Manager's Rating

David Moyes 9/10: If a demotivated team is his fault, a motivated one is to his credit. He went strong, his team battered Arsenal, and it was done with the bravery of playing a midfield three, playing Benrahma, Bowen and Kudus, and with confidence boosts to the likes of Aguerd, Mavropanos and Soucek. The perfect tonic.

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Player Ratings

Lukasz Fabianski
A couple good saves when tested, and a very good punch from a corner, but then questions on the late goal.


Vladimir Coufal
You know a full back has had a good game when you have to search your notes to work out who he was up against. Trossard was pocketed, Coufal was strong, and his forward running again forced a goal.


Emerson Palmieri
Nelson is a lesser player than their stars, but he does have electric pace. It was barely seen, and Emerson has had many a tougher game.


Konstantinos Mavropanos
Couple of rougher moments passing the ball, but strong enough and fast enough for this level.


Nayef Aguerd
More notable acts of defending, but also that booming, beautiful ball to set Kudus up.


Edson Alvarez
A return to form for him, which coincided with him spending more time between the centre backs. His use of the ball is smart, and it was his pass to Kudus that won the corner for the opener.


Tomas Soucek
A better defender and presence in midfield than Ward-Prowse. If it's a base of two, Soucek is the better choice. More of a three? Ward-Prowse will push for that place. The manager wants to include the Czech midfielder, and this game was evidence to why. Endless running, he's a presence all over, and gives that extra centre back.


Mohammed Kudus
He just needs to be in the team. He, Bowen and Paqueta just defended with such energy when let off the leash to go press, it was refreshing. He also carries a goal threat, but with the ability to play in deeper areas. West Ham need that eye for a goal, and the pace, as well as the combativeness.


Lucas Paqueta
The best player on the pitch, and he made it look like Arsenal had bought the wrong midfielder. Just much better in the middle, both individually and for the team. Creates, fights, smart and feisty, it just works. Led attacks, played cute balls, even brought out the tricks towards the end.


Jarrod Bowen
The Hammers definitely missed the presence of Antonio, but maybe they saw a way to play without the need for such a figurehead. He was a threat in behind, fights and battles, and he does come alive in goalscoring situations. There is something there, it's finding out whether it can work for this team.


Said Benrahma
Worked really hard, although still had his couple blank moments. Didn't make a massive influence in attack, but performed well as part of the unit.



Substitutes

James Ward-Prowse
(Replaced Benrahma 81) Helped steer the team to victory when the game was already all but won.


Thilo Kehrer
(Replaced Kudus 88) His introduction wasted a few valuable seconds.


Alphonse Areola
Did not play.


Aaron Cresswell
Did not play.


Angelo Ogbonna
Did not play.


Pablo Fornals
Did not play.


Maxwel Cornet
Did not play.


Danny Ings
Did not play.


Michail Antonio
Did not play.



Match Facts

West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Vladimir Coufal, Emerson Palmieri, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Nayef Aguerd, Edson Alvarez, Tomas Soucek, Mohammed Kudus, Lucas Paqueta, Jarrod Bowen, Said Benrahma.

Goals: Ben White OG 16 Mohammed Kudus 50 Jarrod Bowen 60              .

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Kiwior, Gabriel, Zinchenko (Tomiyasu 57), Jorginho (Rice 57), Fábio Viera, Havertz, Nelson (Martinelli 66), Trossard (66), Nketiah (Odegaard 80).

Subs not used: Hein, Saliba, Cédric Soares, Elneny.

Goals: Odegaard (90+7).

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: Simon Hooper.

Attendance: 62,154.

Man of the Match: Lucas Paqueta.