I’d almost forgotten how nice it was to have a match play out as you expected it to play out. Arsenal cruised to a 5-0 victory over Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup. The Gunners looked organized in their attack, moved the ball well, and finished their chances. It was fun to watch.
For me, Gabriel Martinelli gets Man of the Match. The young Brazilian striker opened his account, scoring the first and fifth goals on the evening, and played with impressive energy. He seemed to always be moving off the ball and worked hard to win it back when Arsenal were out of possession. His performance should definitely earn him more playing time. I’d expect to see him in the Europa League next week when Arsenal host Standard Liège.
Calum Chambers played a fantastic match as well. He was an attacking threat down the outside all evening and assisted on the first, fourth, and fifth goals. He showed on-ball control that I didn’t know he had, and his volleyed cross for the opener was a thing of beauty. With Hector Bellerin returning from injury and Ainsley Maitland-Niles backing him up, I don’t think there is much playing time for Chambers at right back, but he has earned time somewhere. Maybe Unai Emery gives him a shot at centerback or at the base of the midfield.
Some rapid-fire observations / recap:
- Kieran Tierney looked good. His service into the area was particularly impressive.
- Rob Holding played well in his return. Think he will be first-choice soon. Scored a goal too.
- Great to see Hector Bellerin back. Picked up an assist with his third touch of the match.
- Congrats to Reiss Nelson on opening his Arsenal account. Had a strong second half.
- Mesut Özil is pure class, does things other people just can’t do. Need to find a way to get him onto the pitch more.
The only blemish on the evening was the injury to Emile Smith Rowe. The youngster picked up a concussion (as reported by the broadcast) just before halftime and left the pitch on a stretcher. Good on the Arsenal medical staff for taking him out of the match. Too often we see players who’ve taken blows to the head stay on the pitch. Hopefully Smith Rowe recovers quickly, he’s had rotten injury luck.
With the players returning from injury and the young players showing well, it looks (at least to me) that guys are putting in a bit more to earn playing time. Both Kieran Tierney and Calum Chambers were still bombing forward on the overlap up multiple goals late in the match. As mentioned, Gabriel Martinelli ran himself ragged. Everybody seemed to be going into challenges with a bit more bite. I think the competition for spots is going to raise the overall pace, intensity, and level of play at the club.
We’ll have coverage of the Carabao Cup Round 4 draw for you tomorrow (Wednesday). The next round of matches are the week of October 28th. Arsenal are next in action away to Manchester United on Monday, September 30th.