In Depth

Arsenal’s bright future: young Gunners put on five-star show

Unai Emery’s youthful team thrash Nottingham Forest 5-0 to progress to the Carabao Cup fourth round

Carabao Cup third roundArsenal 5 Nottingham Forest 0

Arsenal thrashed Nottingham Forest 5-0 in the third round of the Carabao Cup with many of the club’s young Gunners impressing once again. 

Last Thursday the youngsters were at the heart of Arsenal’s 3-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League, and on Tuesday night they once again showed their supporters that the future is bright. 

Eighteen-year-old Gabriel Martinelli scored the opener in his first competitive start - a goal that made him the youngest player to score on his first start for Arsenal since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain netted against Shrewsbury in September 2011. Brazilian Martinelli also added his second in stoppage time.

In between there were goals from Rob Holding, Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson, and it perhaps won’t have escaped Unai Emery’s notice that Arsenal scored four of their five goals in the last quarter of the match - after Mesut Ozil had been substituted.

Face like thunder

According to The Sun, Ozil “left the pitch with a face like thunder” but it was yet another mediocre performance from the German midfielder whose disinterest in proceedings was in marked contrast to the industry and enthusiasm of his young team-mates.

The two-goal debut of Martinelli wasn’t the only reason for Emery’s broad smile at the end of the game. 

Holding marked his return to action after ten months out injured with a goal and an assured display in defence, which was also the case for Hector Bellerin, last seen in an Arsenal shirt in January. 

Spanish right-back Bellerin came on for the final 15 minutes and his first touch was an assist for Willock’s goal, prompting Emery to describe his contribution as “amazing”. 

Positive vibes

There was also a debut for summer signing Kieran Tierney, who, in the eyes of the Sun “looked a snip at £26m on his Arsenal debut”. 

Far tougher challenges lie in wait for the new-look Arsenal back-four but Emery was understandably chipper after seeing his side win their third match in five days. 

“This was a good result, a good match, a good game,” he said. “We can be positive for different options.” 

The only downside was a possible concussion for Emile Smith Rowe, who left the field in the first-half after a clash of heads.

Holding, who captained the side, was similarly upbeat, saying: “With the way we’re working in the team from the lads that are starting in the Prem games and the lads that are still pushing to get in that team provides healthy competition. It’s bringing out the best in everyone.”

Carabao Cup third round results

Tuesday 24 September
  • Colchester United 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0 (Colchester won 4-3 on penalties)  
  • Crawley Town 1 Stoke City 1 (Crawley won 5-3 on penalties)  
  • Luton Town 0 Leicester City 4 
  • Portsmouth 0 Southampton 4  
  • Preston North End 0 Manchester City 3  
  • Sheffield Wednesday 0 Everton 2  
  • Watford 2 Swansea City 1  
  • Arsenal 5 Nottingham Forest 0 

Carabao Cup third round fixtures

Wednesday 25 September (7.45pm unless stated) 
  • Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Aston Villa  
  • Burton Albion vs. AFC Bournemouth  
  • Chelsea vs. Grimsby Town  
  • Milton Keynes Dons vs. Liverpool (live on Sky Sports
  • Oxford United vs. West Ham United  
  • Sheffield United vs. Sunderland  
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Reading  
  • Manchester United vs. Rochdale (8pm)

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