This was essentially a meeting between two shadow sides and its turning point was a slapstick own goal by Christian Fuchs but it provided further evidence, nonetheless, that Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are growing into a serious unit. Following his success in the FA Cup and the Community Shield, the Spaniard oversaw progress in the Carabao Cup with a performance of what is becoming familiar rigour and hunger, and a dollop of good fortune. Eddie Nketiah’s late goal put the icing on the cake for the visitors.
Although David Moyes and two West Ham players had tested positive for the coronavirus since facing Arsenal on Saturday, the Gunners indicated before this game they were confident in the solidity of their own bubble even if West Ham’s had been blown. The seven changes that Arteta made to his lineup had nothing to do with Covid concerns. Rather they reflected the Carabao Cup’s place in the club’s priorities and the need to keep sharpness high among players pressing for regular starts in the Premier League, such as Nketiah and Bukayo Saka.