Arsenal reached the EFL Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2010-11 thanks to a narrow 1-0 win over West Ham at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.
Danny Welbeck scrambled home the only goal late in the first half to decide a contest that was otherwise devoid of opportunities.
With at least one eye clearly on Friday’s visit from Liverpool, Arsene Wenger utilised the full depth of his squad and handed the captain’s armband to Theo Walcott.
The stand-in skipper fluffed a chance to break the match open when he headed a rare sight of goal wide, although his embarrassment was soon spared as Welbeck forced a loose ball past the recalled Joe Hart in the 42nd minute.
Welbeck with a typical Welbeck goal. 1-0 Arsenal pic.twitter.com/afEa7aJTaW
— Terje (@xArsenalTerje) December 19, 2017
A fit-again Javier Hernandez joined Hart in the Hammers’ starting XI, but neither he nor any of his team-mates could conjure a single shot on target – Welbeck’s was the only one in the contest.
And while the Gunners remain in contention for the one trophy in English football that has eluded Wenger, the Frenchman’s night was spoiled somewhat by Olivier Giroud sustaining an apparent hamstring injury late in proceedings.