Lucas Perez got a brace as Arsenal ran out 4-0 winners over Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup. Granit Xhaka made it 1-0 with another belting long shot and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made it safe with the fourth in stoppage time.
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Match: Nottingham Forest v Arsenal
Stadium: City Ground
Kick Off (GMT): Tues 20 Sep 19:45
The first half started slowly and got slower. It was an uninspiring first 45 minutes, all things considered. Forest came close early on when Nicklas Bendtner teed up former Fulham man Patjim Kasami who dragged his shot wide. Bendtner himself came close later in the half when he powered a shot wide of the far post. Akpom forced a save from the goalkeeper at the other end before the deadlock was broken by none other than Granit Xhaka. The Swiss midfielder must’ve been watching his goal from the weekend before this match because he picked the ball up slammed it into the top corner from 35 yards – again. This one needed a deflection but the strike itself was very impressive.
The second half started just as slowly but the game changed just before the hour. Chuba Akpom was played in and former Michael Mancienne cut in front of the youngster and brought him down in the box. Lucas Perez stepped up and slotted away his first Arsenal goal. The Spaniard got his second ten minutes later. Perez capitalised on a defensive mix up from Forest, nicked the ball and rounded the goalkeeper before bundling it home. The Gunners controlled the match well in the final ten minutes and added a fourth in stoppage time. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain rounded off an excellent move to cap an impressive win.
Here’s how we’ve rated the Arsenal players:
Goalkeeper: Damian Martinez – 6.5
A fairly quiet match from Damian Martinez. His distribution was good, handling was better and he saved everything which was expected of him. A solid outing from the youngster.
Right Back: Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 7.5
An impressive performance from Ainsley Maitland-Niles. He attacked well, pressed highly, and was combative enough in defence to make sure very little got past him. He was caught out of position a couple of times but showed a lot of potential.
Substitute – Krystian Bielik (86′) N/A
Centre Back: Gabriel Paulista – 7
A solid first game back for the Brazilian. He kept it tight and shepherded the young players either side of him.
Centre Back: Rob Holding – 6.5
The youngster bounced back well from the early mix-up which nearly resulted in a Patjim Kasami goal. Rob Holding continues to perform well for a player so inexperienced in first team football.
Left Back: Kieran Gibbs – 6.5
Arsenal’s captain for the evening put in a steady shift down the left flank. Gibbs attacked well and kept the crosses to a minimum. He must be close to displacing Nacho Monreal for Premier League matches.
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