By Walter Broeckx
The Arsenal team at the start: Ospina, Debuchy, Chambers, Holding, Kolasinac, Coquelin, Elneny, Willok, Walcott, Giroud, Welbeck.
On the beach: lots of youngsters.
Arsenal with most of the ball in the opening minutes but no real goal chances created. Giroud running a bit too deep a few times and caught offside. Arsenal winning a few corners. It looked as if Giroud was being held with one but no replay. But still 0-0 after 15 minutes.
West Ham defending in numbers and Arsenal finding it difficult to get through the blue wall. Arsenal turning back a few times when going forward quickly was a better option and thus giving West Ham each time the chance to regroup. Not what you should do against a defensive minded team. Ospina picking up his first ball of the match after 29 minutes, a headed back pass. Still 0-0 after 30 minutes.
West Ham players going down when they hear an Arsenal player close. The ref falls for it. And again. Kolasinac with a shot with his right foot but well over the crossbar. And then Kolasinac send away on the left flank and his cross finds Walcott unmarked in the middle but he goes for the diving header and heads the ball off the target. He might have tried the volley but hey, it’s easy from behind my keyboard. Arsenal then play the ball with a cross in the direction of the advanced Debuchy who heads it back in front of the goal and Welbeck who was invisible till now first on the ball and pushes it over the line from 2 meters out. GOAL! 1-0 To The Arsenal after 42 minutes.
Arsenal trying to add a second one and pushing West Ham even more back but always a foot, head or leg in the way. Willock with a curling effort but it didn’t curl enough and went well wide and over. West Ham for the first time with what you could describe a dangerous looking attack but Chambers and Holding holding the fort. Arsenal go in at half time with a fully deserved 1-0.
Welbeck almost gets through the defence but the last defender stopped the attack. Arsenal continue to go forward and West Ham keeps on defending. Holding with an important defensive action against Chicarito who went down outside the penalty area but the ref gave no foul. It looked a foul to me but well outside the penalty area. Maybe the ref reviewed a few dives from the Mexican forward during the interval? Still 1-0 after 60 minutes.
Debuchy with a foul a few meters outside the Arsenal penalty area on a rare occasion West Ham counters but it goes well wide. Arsenal defenders better watch their heads from now on as Carroll enters the field. Elbow alert is on. Coquelin the first victim after a few seconds when Carroll goes in to him when he is hanging in the air and falls badly on his back. The ref seems to find it funny and is sharing a joke with Carroll. Coquelin needs some treatment but can continue. Welbeck is sent away and brought down by Hart… just outside the penalty area. Hart gets a yellow card and Arsenal only a free kick. It looked correct. The low free kick from Elneny is cleared for a corner. Debuchy gets a high boot on his shoulder but no card. West Ham clearly trying to find Carroll with the high long ball. Big task for Holding and Chambers now. We are playing 75 minutes and still 1-0.
Giroud goes down holding his hamstring when he sprinted forward. He has to come off and Nelson comes on after 76 minutes. Will we mis his defensive contribution in the rest of the match? Willock with a great run going inside the West Ham penalty area but his shot is blocked and then both Walcott and Elneny cant find the angle to get a shot in. Theo now in a central role up front. Ospina with a good claim on a cross in front of Carroll. The keeper goes down holding his back. Probably another innocent swing of the elbow from the West Ham striker. Arnautovic comes on for West Ham. Debuchy mind yourself…
Ben Sheaf comes on for Arsenal in the place of Willock after 83 minutes. The youngster had a very decent match. Arsenal try to set Waclott away but can’t find the right angle to get him on the ball. A quick attack but Hart comes outside his penalty area to prevent Nelson to be one on one. Arsenal trying to use the ball well and hold it in the team with the youngsters Sheaf and Nelson. Coquelin now down holding his groin. Da Silva comes in his place after 89 minutes.
The ref gives 4 minutes of extra time. Elneny working his socks off chasing down West Ham defenders so they don’t have time to try to find Carroll. The ref blows an end to the match. West Ham could hardly get a shot on goal over the whole match and Arsenal II was the only team who attacked in this match and we fully deserve to go through to the semi final.
Final Score : Arsenal – West Ham United 1-0.
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