After 45 minutes here, West Ham had enjoyed just 30 per cent of the ball, not mustered a single shot on or off target and, as a result, had an unsurprising expected goals tally of exactly none. And yet they led Arsenal by a goal to nil, Ben White having headed a wicked Jarrod Bowen corner into his own net.
The jokes were already writing themselves, of a David Moyesian masterclass in which his side, having so struggled when expected to dominate Everton at the weekend, reverted to their underdog best to furrow a path into quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.
In the end, though, Moyes got that and more, a dynamic forward line’s second-half display earning a showpiece 3-1 victory and producing a blueprint which, after three successive defeats that saw his side created barely a chance, must surely be Plan A moving forward.
With Michail Antonio rested, Bowen started at centre-forward for the second time this term, while Lucas Paqueta returned to a central berth with Mohammed Kudus out wide, that pair having operated in reverse roles against the Toffees to little effect.
Within seconds of the restart, Paqueta had become the umpteenth home player to expose Jorginho’s lack of pace, romping away from the Italian and inside the suspect Oleksandr Zinchenko to slip Bowen in behind. Aaron Ramsdale did well to keep out the forward’s chip, but the Irons’ first opening of the night was a sign of things to come.
By the hour-mark, they were three-up and cruising, first the superb Kudus controlling Nayef Aguerd’s raking pass to shuffle onto his left foot and fire low past Ramsdale, then Bowen’s firm strike of a bouncing ball rewarded with a troubling deflection off Jakub Kiwior.
Bowen now has seven goals this season at better than one in every two games and with Antonio so clearly out of form and neither Danny Ings nor Divin Mubama seemingly trusted, Moyes must surely keep the 26-year-old as his spearhead when his team travel to Brentford on Saturday.
Playing Bowen upfront also gives Moyes a way to get his three most incisive players - the Englishman, Paqueta and Kudus - on the park at once without sacrificing the solidity that a midfield trio of Edson Alvarez, James Ward-Prowse and Tomas Soucek delivered at the start of the season.
Soucek was left out against Everton and midfield pair of James Ward-Prowse and Edson Alvarez caught out by the Toffees’ running power.
An insipid 1-0 defeat in that contest had brought fear that the Hammers’ bright start to the season might be fizzling out fast. An attacking rejig here, though, delivered a new spark and through to the last-eight of a competition now looking wide-open, West Ham are on the trophy hunt once more.