West Ham: Where was all the grit and determination for a Cup quarter-final?
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The Hammers failed to live up to their superb fans’ efforts as they slump out of the cup
Remember the old days? A cup quarter-final, a London derby under the lights and an army of West Ham fans screaming for their team.
There were few more exciting nights and though the Hammers didn’t always win them, they would give it their all, attack and compete for the 90 minutes and the atmosphere would be electric.
Fast forward to 2017 and 7,000 West Ham fans were still in place at The Emirates singing their hearts out with their usual wit.
But that was all that was left from the old days. West Ham have been inspired in their last four games, but this was a soulless, unimaginative and downright tedious performance against Arsenal, it simply let down the fans who had come to see them.
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To fail to register a shot on target in a cup quarter-final is embarrassing, especially against an Arsenal second string.
Manager David Moyes seemed fairly happy with the way his team had played, though, and said: “We tried to do all the right things and play with determination and shape, but what we lacked was quality.”
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There seemed to be quality on the pitch with the likes of Javier Hernandez, Arthur Masuaku and Andre Ayew. But Hernandez is a box player who didn’t get in there, while playing Aaron Cresswell at right-back just didn’t work.
For a team that hadn’t conceded in three games, it was a horrible goal that decided this tie as Danny Welbeck bundled the ball over the line from close range.
“It was really poor,” said Moyes. “We should’ve done better with the first ball in and I’m hoping one of the centre-backs clears it when the header comes across.
“We have been defending well recently so I wasn’t expecting it, that’s for sure. We didn’t play well enough, but we were never out of the game.”
True, but if your only effort is a Cresswell free kick that went wide, your chances are limited.
“When you get to this stage of a competition when you’re West Ham, you would like to field your strongest team,” said Moyes.
In the old days when you got into a big cup tie, it was a given. West Ham were two steps from a final, facing a weakened Gunners. It was a huge chance missed.
West Ham: Hart 6, Cresswell 6, Reid 6, Ogbonna 7*, Collins 6, Masuaku 7, Obiang 6, Rice 7, Quina 6, Ayew 6, Hernandez 5. Subs: Sakho 6, Carroll 5, Arnautovic. Unused: Adrian, Zabaleta, Haksabanovic, Makasi.