A Lucas Perez brace helped Arsenal progress to the next round of the EPL Cup after an away win at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground.
After some early chances from either sides, the Gunners took the lead after another sublime long range goal from Granit Xhaka, his second goal in four days. The Swiss midfielder teed up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s short pass and fired the ball into the back of the net.
Xhaka’s goal seemed to deflate the hosts as a young and much rotated Arsenal side thrived upon attacking an uneasy Forest outfit. Arsenal continued their typical slick passing play but not much of note occurred after Xhaka’s goal.
Delight for Lucas
The second half continued to be rather mundane before Arsenal were awarded a penalty after Chuba Akpom was fouled in the area by Michael Mancienne. Up stepped new signing Perez to score the resulting penalty with a firm finish despite Vladimir Stojkovic going the right way.
The Spaniard then followed up his debut goal with a delightful goal despite heavy pressure from Forest defenders. A determined Perez burst into the Forest penalty area, shrugged off an imposing Mancienne and Matt Mills while rounding the keeper to finish a blistering move.
Oxlaide-Chamberlain rounded off a successful night for the Gunners with a calm left footed finish after a delightful one-two with Lucas Perez in stoppage time.
Deserved victory for Arsenal
A 4-0 scoreline deserved after Arsenal’s persistent pressure and eagerness to avoid another shock cup defeat to a Championship side after their 3-0 loss against Sheffield Wednesday.
Nottingham Forest will look upon tonight’s result as a missed opportunity after troubling the untested pairing of Gabriel and Rob Holding on numerous occasions. Philippe Montanier’s men will now focus on Saturday’s away trip to Sheffield Wednesday.
Bendtner fails to haunt Arsenal
Former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner made his first start for Nottingham Forest but was unable to make the game difficult for Arsenal. However, the Danish forward forced Gabriel into a mistake, pounced on the loose ball but his squared pass to Pajtim Kasami failed to convert a golden opportunity for the men in red. Bendtner was later booked for a foul on Xhaka being substituted off in the 80th minute.
Touching tribute for Brian Clough
On the 12th anniversary of Brian Clough’s death, both sets of fans paid tribute to the legendary Nottingham Forest manager with a minute’s applause in the 12th minute. The emotional occasion celebrated the life of Forest’s most successful manager who won two league titles and back-to-back European titles in charge.