The Gunners completely dominated possession at the London Stadium, but their efforts were in vain as they failed to find the back of the net until the 96th minute. By that time, it was too late as West Ham had already secured a comfortable 3-0 lead and were already looking forward to the quarter-finals. This defeat marks only Arsenal’s second loss of the season across all competitions.
In an attempt to turn the tide, manager Mikel Arteta made some substitutions in the 66th and 80th minutes, bringing on regular first-team players Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Martin Odegaard. When asked about these changes and whether they were meant to send a message to the starting players, Arteta dismissed the notion, stating, “There are no messages to send. Whatever messages we send, we send them with words. We believed that the team we put out was the best to compete today. However, we need to see much more from the team in order to earn the right to win in a place like this.”
Reflecting on the disappointing result, Arteta expressed his disappointment and took responsibility for the team’s performance. He admitted, “It wasn’t good enough, we didn’t compete well enough. I tried to warn them for 48 hours about what was coming and how important this game was. We needed to compete before earning the right to play, and unfortunately, we didn’t do that. Overall, we were far from the level we need to show.”
Arteta also confirmed that Emile Smith Rowe was absent from the squad due to a knee injury. Smith Rowe had started in Arsenal’s 5-0 Premier League victory over Sheffield United but was unable to feature against West Ham. Arteta expressed concern about the injury, stating, “We have an issue with him. He felt something in his knee and started experiencing pain after the game. We are assessing it, but it’s definitely a big worry for us.”
Looking ahead, Arsenal will be traveling to face Newcastle on Saturday before hosting Sevilla in the Champions League, with the match set to be broadcast live on TNT Sports.