Manager Arsene Wenger says Arsenal cannot afford further injuries over the busy Christmas period after striker Olivier Giroud suffered a hamstring problem in their Carabao Cup quarter-final win over West Ham. Wenger, who made 11 changes from the weekend triumph over Newcastle, saw his side struggle to break down the defensively resolute visitors in the first half. But England forward Danny Welbeck broke West Ham’s resistance just before the break, turning in Mathieu Debuchy’s header across goal as the hosts stayed on course for a first League Cup win since 1993.
The Gunners’ night was soured by the loss of Giroud to an injury that could rule him out for three weeks, while Francis Coquelin also limped out of the match late on. With Arsenal embarking on a run of 10 games in 36 days, Wenger admitted the loss of Giroud had come as a blow. West Ham boss David Moyes also named a much-changed side but they failed to click in attack, with the belated introductions of Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho and Marko Arnautovic unable to undo the home defence. Neither Joe Hart, restored to the West Ham side for the rested Adrian, nor Arsenal’s second-choice goalkeeper David Ospina were forced into much action in what was a disjointed contest.
Moyes’ side had been content to sit back and try to catch Arsenal on the counter during a low-quality first half, but even with the attacking changes they could not muster a single shot on target. Arsenal will face Chelsea in the semi-finals. The Blues host the first leg in the week commencing 8 January. The second leg is two weeks later. Manchester City and Bristol City meet in the other semi.