Sead Kolasinac stands out at Arsenal in Carabao Cup victory over West Ham
Sometimes cup football is an incredible, exciting, exhilarating, rambunctious, passionate, end-to-end maelstrom of mayhem. Sometimes it is not. Arsenal's 1-0 win over West Ham was very much the latter, though it should be pointed out that Arsene Wenger's second string did what the "first team" couldn't just last week: namely, score against David Moyes' side.
The goal came late in the first half, a typically scrappy Danny Welbeck effort, and though they never looked like extending that lead, the visitors were genuinely toothless all night long.
Arsenal dominated possession and territory, but as has been their wont in recent weeks, they failed to convert that into chances. However, on a night when West Ham looked about as a dangerous as a wet puppy, it didn't really matter.
The central defensive pairing of Rob Holding and Calum Chambers looked very assured, even taking into account West Ham's lack of potency. In midfield, youngster Joe Willock put in a good performance. Some of that is due to how poor the opposition were, but Arsenal must take some credit for keeping them down.
Arsenal lost Olivier Giroud with a hamstring strain and Francis Coquelin late in the game. At this time of the year, squad depth is crucial, so injuries are not welcome.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Wenger got a young, second-string team through to a semifinal, and his team basically controlled the game.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David Ospina, 6 -- He had almost nothing to do all night, and he did that nothing as well as anyone could expect.
DF Mathieu Debuchy, 7 -- Solid game from the veteran France international, who might well be called up during the festive period as cover for Hector Bellerin.
DF Calum Chambers, 7 -- He hasn't played much this season, but it was another decent 90 minutes to get under his belt.
DF Rob Holding, 7 -- The FA Cup final hero has barely made the bench for Premier League games in recent weeks, but he reminded his manager that he is still around. Both he and Chambers dealt with Andy Carroll really well when he came on.
DF Sead Kolasinac, 8 -- Probably Arsenal's best player on the night, he must be pushing for a recall for Friday night's clash with Liverpool.
MF Joe Willock, 7 -- For a young man who has only just turned 18, he played with a calmness and assurance that belied his years.
MF Francis Coquelin, 7 -- A solid performance from the French midfielder, his injury doesn't exactly rob Arsenal of a key player, but with Aaron Ramsey already missing, missing more experience in that part of the pitch is not ideal.
MF Mohamed Elneny, 7 -- He isn't the most adventurous player around, but kept things nice and steady.
FW Danny Welbeck, 6 -- His goal was Welbeck-ian in the extreme. He missed the header, and when the ball fell for him, he flapped a leg out and shinned it into the net. It wasn't the most convincing finish, but it was a match winner.
FW Theo Walcott, 5 -- Sometimes Walcott has games that make you wonder how the same player is capable of some of the positive stuff he does. This was one of those.
FW Olivier Giroud, 6 -- Got little service, didn't really threaten and then went off injured, robbing Arsene Wenger of his favourite substitute.
FW Reiss Nelson, NR -- The youngster showed some nice flashes when he came on.
MF Ben Sheaf, NR -- He replaced fellow youngster Willock and didn't look out of place at all.
MF Josh Dasilva, NR -- Replaced Coquelin with just a minute of normal time remaining.
Andrew Mangan is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @arseblog.