Arsenal Do Just Enough To Make League Cup Semi-Final

By Kevin Whitcher

Online Ed: Second string mirror last Wednesday’s performance against West Ham

Last Wednesday evening was a night that one would like to forget as quickly as possible, such was the poverty of Arsenal’s performance. However, a reminder came yesterday in the form of the same opposition, but a different competition. This time, Arsenal were at home, their third successive home draw in this competition after beating Doncaster and Norwich. Not that David Moyes’ West Ham side played any differently – their focus was totally on keeping a clean sheet.

Not one of Arsenal’s more popular games…

Granted, the personnel were largely different, a mix and match side, and in turn Arsene Wenger played his Europa League / League Cup side. Interesting though, to see Sead Kolasinac is not second choice at left back, behind the right footed Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The latter has faced West Ham and Newcastle in the Premier League so far. Fair to say he has not exactly been tested. We’ll see on Friday whether this is likely to be a long-term arrangement, but Wenger has come close to ruining promising careers by playing youngsters out of position at full-back. Let’s hope that is not the case with Maitland-Niles. There is every chance he may be up against Mohammed Salah.

Elsewhere, Joe Willock was drafted into a midfield with Elneny and Coquelin behind him. It was a decent back four – Holding and Chambers can be a good partnership if given enough protection, as they were last night (unlike the match in which they played against Liverpool on the opening day of last season). Up front we had the trio of Welbeck – Giroud – captain Theo.

Cometh the man, cometh the moment. With the Hammers proving difficult to break down an excellent cross from Kolasinac found captain Marvel, the espresso machine kid, totally alone in the box, the ball just waiting to be headed past Joe Hart. A gilt edged chance. You know the rest. Theo made good strong contact with the header, but it sailed well wide. Twas ever thus.

No matter, Danny Welbeck managed to muscle his way past the close attention of the West Ham defence and keeper to win a ball in the air and give himself a tap-in. The deadlock broken. Suddenly a football match broke out as the visitors made a game of it, in chase of parity.

The second half was notable for Olivier Giroud pulling up with a hamstring, and not much else. Arsenal didn’t manage to increase their lead, finding it difficult to create openings, but coped comfortably with the attempts to equalise. The creativity in the final third is becoming an issue in a growing number of games though. The crowd was in the low 30,000s at a guess, 7,000 of those from West Ham. The club gave an attendance of 44,000 – that would be because the game is on the 7,000 club level seats – so you can immediately knock a few thousand off there as club level was pretty sparsely populated. And there were probably a good few who bought seats but thought better of using them.

Reality is dawning at the club now. These games – with £10 and £20 seats, used to sell out. Now, the lower tier is mostly full at £10 a pop but the vast swathes of emptiness in the upper tier was not a good look. The semi-final will be in all likelihood against a bigger team, and should see a bigger crowd. The League Cup is the one domestic trophy the manager has never one. I doubt it matters much to him, but hell, it’s a day out at Wembley. The draw has been kind to Arsenal so far. Chelsea should beat Bournemouth and Man Utd should beat Bristol City. Wenger’s team beat Man City and Chelsea to win the FA Cup last season, but… the semi is over two legs. Not one of Arsene’s strengths.

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20th December 2017 12:53:46


Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

Moscowgooner  13:25pm 20th Dec 2017

I thought the crowd was capped by Police restrictions anyway? That at least was reported in the Press today. The same apparently for WHU versus THFC at Wembley which attracted 10,000 fewer. Our best hope for the semi would be Chelsea - but I guess a League Cup win guarantees our friend another two year extension in due course eh? - Post No. 111254

The Man From UNCLE  13:31pm 20th Dec 2017

Man Utd in the semis - it's a given. Walcott, a disgrace to the colours. - Post No. 111255

Yes its Ron  14:00pm 20th Dec 2017

HI Kev - theres a malaise in football generally right now i feel and in the league cup specifically. Those empty seats are a welcome sight if they represent the indifference to many about the club right now. Who there cares though? - Post No. 111256

CORNISH GOONER  15:45pm 20th Dec 2017

You have to hand it to Arthur - top marks in the post match interview for answering a question that bored journos couldn't be arsed to ask! He does that constantly & has certainly been a spin master supreme (The Maybot should take note). A bit of a one trick pony these days, however, as we have heard him gushing this stuff for years now I think Ron is right about public disaffection with football in general - but I reckon AFC as a "big" club will feel it more unless they produce real change. But as more stories are leaked to the press I reckon there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than I had dared hope. Wiley old Ivan? - Post No. 111257

peter wain  15:50pm 20th Dec 2017

we looked what we are a poor squad bereft of any creativity in midfield. Wenger out now - Post No. 111258

Redshirtwhitesleeves  17:08pm 20th Dec 2017

Does Wenger really need to persist with Walcott after all these years? Everyone knew years ago that he was, is and always will be utter s*** and a disgrace to the shirt. Everyone except the old buffoon himself. Most Arsenal fans would much rather see Rhys Nelson actually play in his proper position as opposed to full back. No wonder we are all so bored and the stadium is half empty. In the correct hands we would be a vibrant, exciting club to follow. It seems to me the whole club, owner, directors, manager, players and the fans dont even have a pulse anymore. Arsenal FC is in a coma and won't wake up until this regime has gone - Post No. 111259

Yes its Ron  17:36pm 20th Dec 2017

Just the knowledge that Walcott was no longer on the pay roll would provide a massive boost to fan morale im sure. The rebuild starts with his departure so to speak. As you say redshirts, utter garbage since the say he joined. Go on Everton and Allardyce, go for it, take a punt on the wally, you know you want too and you know yr desperate enough and we d all love something to snigger about as we have done since yr barmy neighbours bought the other waste of space, Ox man. - Post No. 111260

mbg  17:41pm 20th Dec 2017

Another bore fest another scrape through, wengers forte now, I wonder how many fans got excited about it ? You can just imagine how excited and moist they'll get if we were to go on and win/scrape it, (like the others) with another trophy for their messiah, I wonder which one they'd get excited about most. wenger out. - Post No. 111261

Paulward  21:24pm 20th Dec 2017

Awful game,and as you rightly point out Kevin, vast swathes of empty seats are becoming common place and cannot go unnoticed by the bean counters. Unmistakabley there is a genuine feeling of drift around AFC at the moment, apathy closing in with every passing week. What we need is leadership, explanations and excuses are no longer enough.Wenger should be told he is leaving in the summer, and our club can look forward again. - Post No. 111263

TOOAW  21:39pm 20th Dec 2017

What a very, very, poor, negative report Kevin. If this site existed back in the mid 80's when we were ****e, would a semi final in the Micky Mouse cup had been given such a negative response. Hatred for the manager is ok hatred for the Arsenal is getting increasingly more apparent on this dropping site. Come on kevin. You are getting into the mentality of the club down the road. My opinion may not matter on here but it needs to be addressed. (Fall on deaf ears though) - Post No. 111264

GoonerRon  1:20am 21st Dec 2017

Glad we won, glad Holding and Chambers got 90 mins playing together and thought Willock was quietly impressive. Other than that it was a drab affair, hopefully one that doesn’t put Everton off trying to buy Walcott. Chelsea next, I think that’s almost a 50/50 over two legs. - Post No. 111268

markymark  6:56am 21st Dec 2017

Gooner Ron - not forgetting of course we are dreadful over 2 legs. That is one thing I’d love in a new Manager the capacity to work a game plan over s double header. - Post No. 111270

markymark  7:59am 21st Dec 2017

Toad - you seem to be having a few problems with your use of language again. Having continually failed to understand the term Fickle you are now saying the OP is poor. Why is it poor? Construct your argument , discuss reasoning. A negative article can be very well written and a positive article can lack structure . Therefore poor does not equate to negative . Alternative of course is the whacky propaganda of your mate Tony Attwood and screwball Walter. - Post No. 111271

The Man From UNCLE  9:00am 21st Dec 2017

OK I was wrong. So it's Chelsea. TOF's luck with cup draws continues - we can blag it on pens - Post No. 111272

equalizer  10:59am 21st Dec 2017

@markymark, Tony Attwood is the Director of an organisation called Hamilton House. Its a marketing and sales organisation that produces positive spin and writes blogs for companies and for private individuals. I hope that explains the whole concept of Untold for you. I'd be pretty sure it will cease to exist when Wenger is gone. Anyway Attwood is into his 70's now, so it's anyones guess which of them will be gone first - Post No. 111273

TonyEvans  12:20pm 21st Dec 2017

Seemingly the Ox is coming on in leaps and bounds under Klopp. I wonder if being played in his favoured position and being given some proper coaching may have something to do with it! Meanwhile over at Wenger Towers Peter Pan Walcott continues to masquerade as a Premiership footballer, under a manager that has completely lost the plot. - Post No. 111275

mbg  15:17pm 21st Dec 2017

The semi final a bigger crowd Ed ? I wouldn't bet on that, but I would bet on another bore scrape through if we do manage to pull a team as bad as ourselves or a team who couldn't be bothered, think of the excitement, would that be another record for TOF ? or would he have to win it. wenger out now. - Post No. 111276

mbg  15:54pm 21st Dec 2017

Toady, no it certainly does not need to be addressed, because it will be when this weasel of a manager fooks off, it's because of him this has all come about, if any one does hate Arsenal it's down to and because of him. And anyway I can't see (or know)anyone who hates Arsenal, that's just you talking shyte again and another way of trying to justify support for your messiah. Like I've already said in another retort the problem for you and your ilk is you can't differentiate between the two, you all think your messiah is Arsenal so an attack on him is an attack on Arsenal and everything associated with it, that is not the case at all, or never was, because un like you and your wengerites other fans can differentiate, and do all the time, and that's something you all hate, and as I've said in another retort, when you and others can get beyond that you'll soon realise there is a difference, but I won't hold my breath. Hate wenger love Arsenal, wenger and his love birds out. - Post No. 111277

TOOAW  17:32pm 21st Dec 2017

Sorry Paddy but I have to disagree. Show me a post in which you have praised, congratulated, positively posted about Arsenal FC. Never ever have you. It's all boring ,never ending drivel. - Post No. 111278

Roy  18:35pm 21st Dec 2017

I see God is out of work after leaving Ajax. Surely there must be a position for him somewhere on the staff ? Do your job, Ivan. Oh, of course I forgot, TOF would put the block on it anyway, wouldn't he ? - Post No. 111280

mbg  19:23pm 21st Dec 2017

Tony Evans, fair play to the ox it just goes to show what/who is the problem at this club, (as if we didn't know)it took him a while to settle in there to the delight of certain wengerite luvvies, but who could blame him after being under the power of wenger and his failed coaching and philosophies for so long. Peter Pan, good one, or in this case Wally pan still trying to be twinkle toes, fly and spread his magic dust, and make dreams come through, and just like his old fraud of a manager still failing miserably. wenger out. - Post No. 111281

Arseneknewbest  19:35pm 21st Dec 2017

I see Dennis has just been sacked by Ajax. Message to Stan-K - sack wengo now and sign this guy up. With cl and possibly ropey football looking unlikely in the short to medium term the whole flying phobia is an irrelevance. Toooooooaw - you're a racist cnut and you need to get off these pages before you're banned. When you start the lazy racism that's when everyone knows you know you've lost the argument. - Post No. 111282

Arseneknewbest  19:47pm 21st Dec 2017

Sorry Roy - you scooped me there by exactly an hour. If we were a club that genuinely believed in change of course we'd all be a little excited by news of Bergo's departure. But we all know that the man with a sinecure for life will still be calling the shots long after we've either been committed or are brown bread. Depressing no longer covers it. - Post No. 111283

John F  19:55pm 21st Dec 2017

I remember Wenger defending the high price of tickets at Arsenal by claiming that the quality on the pitch justified the cost.Endless sideways passing played by average players is not what I would call qaulity on the pitch.Arsenal and other clubs priced out loyal supporters to attract people who view football as a hobby rather then a passion and they are reaping the rewards of empty seats.Tv money is of course king but with very few top quality players on show in the prem and City running away with it,that bubble could soon burst. - Post No. 111284

markymark  20:05pm 21st Dec 2017

Toad - the issue is son, apart from your lazy racism (c’mon you were Colesore as well ) you write crap about Arsene being Arsenal. Err no he’s not he’s just an increasingly mediocre old man. Now the only issue about the Arteta taking over is I reckon they’ll give useless Wengo to the end of his contract. Still you and Alt Right Badarse will continue praying for 10 more years. Let’s just hope - Post No. 111285

mbg  22:20pm 21st Dec 2017

Roy, Arseneknewbest, lads there's not a fooking hope in hell that wenger will have a real God, a real legend an ex player, everyone looks up to respects and loves, who would undermine him by their presence alone, even in the directors box, anywhere about the place in any capacity, he's to insecure for that such is the arrogant c***s ego, and that's sad from a sado, yet another sackable offence, one of many. We want wenger out. - Post No. 111287

TOOAW  22:43pm 21st Dec 2017

AK. It's good that you feel I'm a racist 'CNUT' according to yourself. Now clearly you only read the words that you wish to read. I clearly get under your skin because 'sir. sir. Please ban this monster that is TOOAW?.. please sir. I do not like his behaviour' . It's an open church so they tell me. First it's Mikel, then Dennis then big Tone, then Paki Bonner et all. Just for the record.... it's Arsene and Arsene only who decides when it's time to call it a day. Remember that fella. - Post No. 111288

Arseneknewbest  23:08pm 21st Dec 2017

Ok then tooaw. Tell us all where you're from, why you're a racist, where your political allegiances lie - not too hard to fathom that out already, and anything that makes you significantly or slightly different from the mainstream and leave the rest to us. C'mon mate it's a broad church and I cannot wait to let some hate speech loose on you. Sexual pecadillos, funny or no hair, a tendency to dribble or drag one's knuckles. Give us all you got big boy...I promise I won't go easy on you. Ssssssssssh? Aaaaaaaaaaagh! - Post No. 111289

TOOAW  23:16pm 21st Dec 2017

AK. Hook line sinker fella. Aggression is the sign of weakness and your last post has exposed your true colours. Do your homework and you will see my background. And there I was thinking that ignorance is for the team down the road. Wenger must stay. - Post No. 111290

markymark  23:57pm 21st Dec 2017

Toad here’s some homework: ToOaW = Toad = BBA = Leek the Squeak = Old puss filled Colesore = er Mandy Dodd? Please tell me you’re not dressed up in fishnets when you write your Pro Wiggy and Wengo, Mandy love notes. Ps: Badarse was also Brian - Post No. 111291

mbg  1:16am 22nd Dec 2017

markymark, definitely not Irish either, (not that we'd want him and you have to be bad for that to be the case) or the half wit would know it was Packie Bonner, (short for Patrick, no relation to St) LOL, and it's the first time I've ever heard him been called or referred to as that. But you know what they say it was the way they were brought up, i blame the parents. wenger out now. - Post No. 111292

markymark  6:36am 22nd Dec 2017

Equaliser - interesting stuff! - Post No. 111293

TOOAW  7:21am 22nd Dec 2017

These WOBs seem to get a bit tetchy at times. Ah well. So be it. It's all for the love of AFC I suppose. - Post No. 111294

Arseneknewbest  7:48am 22nd Dec 2017

Tooooaw Predictably you've not answered a direct question. Why? Because you're a name calling bottler who runs a mile when challenged. Racist scum like you have no place at Arsenal. And calling you out for it does not magically mean I've somehow lost the argument. On the contrary it exposes you for the amoeba that you are. - Post No. 111295

markymark  8:20am 22nd Dec 2017

Toad - a quick question. When you mention these WOB’s , does it not occur to you that you are effectively addressing the whole of the Gooner readership, or at least a very large majority? The PODCAST will give you further guidance . I’m literally stumped if I now know an Arsenal Supporter who actually loves him. It’s not even an age thing. Conversations at my place of work with fellow Arsenal supporters leads to one thing , he’s gotta go. I’m sure there are lots of people who say he should pick his time but what are they really saying? He should go - Post No. 111296

mbg  17:10pm 22nd Dec 2017

Here lies wenger The Old Fraud, he always done just enough, erected by his beloved, and more than happy family, in wenger we still trust. - Post No. 111297

TOOAW  21:42pm 22nd Dec 2017

There you have it. Comments from see no, speak no and hear no. Well done fellas - Post No. 111298

Cyril  1:02am 23rd Dec 2017

No clue! Sad, no wonder Sanchez wants to leave. MN is not a left fullback. It’s a really bad level. Sanchez link up with MN is like oil and water. It’s desperate. I’m really sad. I love this club so much. How can you not play Kolasinac. Sanchez you have a free pass, go and work with better people. I didn’t go tonight because his formation was wrong. I knew what was coming. We should have been 4 down by halftime. The midfield was packed with players like looking for Hollywood balls. Wenger, please go. You can take that step!! - Post No. 111299

markymark  6:34am 23rd Dec 2017

Toad - you dolt - Post No. 111300

Badarse  8:33am 23rd Dec 2017

Time drawing near for the 2017 Virtual Online Gooner Awards. mbg act like an astronomer and watch this space. - Post No. 111301

mbg  13:23pm 23rd Dec 2017

Cyril, your right mate, we all do/did and it was a big part of our lives, that's why some of us on here are maybe so out spoken at times because that has now been taken away from us certainly to a certain extent anyway by an arrogant, egoistic, self righteous failed manager and his long long failed pet projects and philosophies. wenger out now. - Post No. 111302

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

21st January 2018

Life Without Sanchez Gets Off To A Promising Start

Online Ed: Arsenal enjoy a comfortable afternoon against Palace