Arsenal progressed to the fourth round of the EFL Cup thanks to a 4-0 win against Nottingham Forest. Granit Xhaka opened the scoring, fellow summer signing Lucas Perez added a brace and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain netted at the death as the Gunners mix-and-match side enjoyed a comfortable evening on their first visit to the City Ground in 17 years.
As expected Arsene Wenger made 11 changes from the team that started the win at Hull and raided the Academy to make up the numbers on the bench. Kieran Gibbs was given the honour of captaining the side.
The Gunners opened the scoring on 23 minutes courtesy of Granit Xhaka’s second thunderbolt in four days. The Swiss, who scored at Hull on Saturday, found the top corner with the aid of a slight deflection after taking aim from the best part of 30-yards. (1-0)
The Jeff nearly doubled the lead moments before half-time, his deft finish falling just wide of the Forest post after a lightning fast break involving Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the sharp Chuba Akpom.
The home side had been the brighter side in the opening stages but resorted to tough challenges as the visitors tightened the screw with slick combination play. Nicklas Bendtner was booked 15 minutes into his debut for a challenge on Xhaka while fellow ex-Gunner Henri Lansbury should have been cautioned for a foul on Gabriel. The Brazilian required treatment on his ankle.
Arsenal doubled their lead on the hour mark when Lucas Perez scored from the penalty spot. The Spaniard’s first goal as a Gunner came after Chuba Akpom had been felled by Michael Mancienne. (2-0)
Perez helped himself to his second goal of the evening on 70 minutes. After latching onto an Akpom through ball the Spaniard showed real strength to bundle the ball home under pressure. (3-0)
In the final ten minutes Akpom, The Jeff and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were replaced by Chris Willock, Gedion Zelalem and Krystian Bielik respectively and the travelling support sportingly gave old boy Bendtner a standing ovation when he too was substituted.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added further gloss with a tidy finish in injury-time. (4-0)
All in all, a fun night for the boys in grey and yellow.
Starting XI: Martinez, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Gabriel, Gibbs, Elneny, Xhaka, The Jeff, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Akpom, Lucas
Subs: Macey, Bielik, Sheaf, Mavididi, Willock, Zelalem, Dasilva