For Arsenal on Wednesday, the performance matters more than the outcome. The Gunners’ season was never going to be defined by the Carabao Cup, but a terrible 3-1 loss to West Ham creates issues that will persist after their fourth-round departure.

Arsenal Struggle

Mikel Arteta gave his players the assignment to exhibit the mentality needed to sustain a high level regardless of moving competitions before to this encounter. They categorically failed at the challenge, putting up what may have been their worst game of the season and raising questions about the contests they actually care about.

Arsenal

It demonstrates that in football, the day is what counts, Arteta added. It doesn’t matter what you did three days ago; what counts most is what will happen tomorrow.

We must make the most of this setback and this suffering in order to prepare for Saturday’s trip to Newcastle and victory.

There was some dispute around the first goal because, just before Ben White headed Jarrod Bowen’s corner into his own net in the 16th minute, goalie Aaron Ramsdale seemed to have his shirt tugged by Tomás Soucek.

Arsenal made their case, but their objections were dismissed since VAR was not deployed in the Carabao Cup until the semifinals.

There definitely won’t be a goal if VAR is used, stated Arteta. I understand that the authorities have a difficult time with the crowd’s size and viewpoint, but I don’t want to use that as an excuse.

We are still far better than we were before at vying for the ball. It goes without saying that that eliminates momentum, a crucial component of the game.”

Arsenal

Shortly after, Arsenal lost its fight. After the break, Ramsdale made a great stop to deny Bowen the chance to extend the advantage, but West Ham didn’t have to wait long as Mohamed Kudus increased their lead on minute 50 with a masterful control and finish.

Ten minutes later, Bowen scored a third that Ramsdale should have done better, despite a tiny deflection off Jakub Kiwior in the process. David Raya replaced Ramsdale in goal during the previous round on September 27, so he had to wait until then to get his chance to shine, but he didn’t do much to strengthen his cause here.

Raya is better at playing out from the back, in Arteta’s opinion. Of all the Arsenal players present, Ramsdale had the lowest pass completion percentage (74.1%), and West Ham managed three goals from their five shots over the whole game.

arsenal

After a strong early start, Kai Havertz played the most of the evening on the sidelines; Oleksandr Zinchenko was substituted after putting up another poor defensive showing; and Fabio Vieira underperformed after making many encouraging appearances.

But for Arsenal, this was not an evening about individuals. Arteta will have been enraged by this collective refusal to accept responsibility as it brought back memories of the early, dark days of his rule, when he had to fight to control the changing room.

Arteta refuted this later, but the substitution of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli with the team behind 3-0 felt like a stern warning to his underachievers. He further reinforced this ten minutes from the finish when he started Martin Odegaard, who had been rested the previous weekend due to a hip issue.

Even though Odegaard scored a clever consolation goal late into stoppage time, the chaos that had occurred beforehand was still evident.

Arteta statement

“I’m really disappointed,” Arteta said. “I am accountable for it. Now that the cup is empty, we decided to play a completely new kind of game. In particular, we intended to compete in a manner that was much different from what we’ve done—the manner we deliberated on for 48 hours.”

Declan Rice made his first appearance at London Stadium since leaving the Hammers for £105 million in the summer, prior to the appearances of Odegaard, Saka, and Martinelli. His return was met with a combination of cheers and jeers, and those who despised their previous captain took great pleasure in the insignificant contribution that Rice and his more illustrious teammates made.

Arsenal

We could be turning into a competitive team, David Moyes, the manager of West Ham, said.  I would like to be on a really competitive league team, if that is possible. If we can’t quite accomplish that, though, I’ll need to perform well in the cups.

Under Arteta, Arsenal has established themselves as a “really good league team”. However, in order to preserve and enhance that reputation, evenings such as these must be left behind quickely.

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