EFL Cup: Forest Chopped Down By Arsenal

Nottingham Forest 0 – 4 Arsenal

Well that was nice, wasn’t it. Four goals away from home for the second string XI and decent performances all round. What a difference to twelve months ago at Hillsborough. Forest were more compliant, it must be said, but Arsenal were far better.

Does it underline the gap between the top of the Premier League and the Championship? Whilst not a definitive answer, it certainly adds to the argument that the ‘thems’ are losing ground on us. Quite simply, Arsenal  were far too good for Nottingham Forest, a side clinging on the vestiges of the past with the present offering little hope for the future.

Two generations ago they were champions of Europe and those generations took great delight in telling us we would never achieve those heights. Truth hurts.

But not as much as a four-goal home defeat.

Forest rarely troubled the Arsenal goal such was the ascendency we assumed. Granit Xhaka’s opening goal – his second in as many games – threatens to bring back the days when John Jensen strode the Highbury turf. Imploring Xhaka to shoot is more likely to bring a goal; he even went to the Frank Lampard Junior School of Finishing, where he remembered the most important lesson: deflections are your friend.

Once the goal went in, it quickly became a question of how many Arsenal would add. Arsène was rightly pleased with the performance and tempo the XI played with. It was refreshing to see them play without the weight of the world on their shoulders. This was the polar opposite in terms of performance compared to Hillsborough.

Plenty to look at in positive light. I know it’s only the EFL Cup but I thought Holding and Maitland-Niles did well. It was in midfield that the gap in class between the two sides really showed. Xhaka and Elneny dictated the tempo whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain had his best game of the season. Still over-anxious at times but his finish to round off the victory, epitomised everything which is good with his game.

Arsène, for once, wasn’t overstating the case when he summarised last night’s performance:

It was a good team performance played at a very high pace. We played a very quick technical game and we went always forward and tried to score goals. We played the game well out from the back. Overall it’s a performance that deserves great credit and I would like to congratulate the players tonight – it was fantastic.

The most pleasing aspect was Lucas Perez’s first goals for the club. The weight has been lifted from his shoulders, particularly with the second. The first was a well-taken penalty – were you watching Alexis?

The second was a mix of determination and pace. A wilier defender than Mancienne might have fallen to the turf and won a free kick but Perez kept going and finished well, under pressure. Even a little narkiness in the minor kerfuffle as he left the turf to celebrate.

Wenger praised the Spaniard’s finish:

The second goal has technical quality and desire, determination and fighting spirit. I liked the second goal for that, I liked as well the goal he made for Oxlade-Chamberlain. I’m very pleased for him.

The interchange of passes and running with Ox was good play, intelligent from the pair.

That Arsène changed the starting XI and selected a bench with about 20 minutes first team experience between them shows how seriously he is taking the Chelsea game on Saturday. It’s refreshing for the ‘gamble’ to pay off and offer the squad another chance in the next round. A statement which pretty much ensures we will draw Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Wenger went on:

We have four days to prepare for [Chelsea], let’s focus on that now.

A tough match but going into the game on the back of two positive results and performances is a lot better than thinking about the fixture than after PSG.

’til Tomorrow.

120 thoughts on “EFL Cup: Forest Chopped Down By Arsenal

  1. Gunnerjoe says:

    As long as we all don’t confuse opinions as facts we should be ok

  2. Jonny says:

    That’s your opinion.

    As long as we all don’t confuse opinions as facts we should be ok

  3. Gunnerjoe says:


    Are you saying we won’t be ok ?
    You mean I got another opinion wrong.

  4. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    I was saying take Theo off if we were to keep both Sanchez and Perez on but I think you could easily take off Perez and go with Sanchez and Theo.

  5. C says:

    Reading is another good draw to play the likes of Akpom and Adelaide plus if Giroud is still CF2, the potential to play him could be there as well along with Ramsey.

  6. Gunnerjoe says:

    Do we now take Xhaka,Perez and Eleney out of last night’s team

  7. ArseneWenger says:

    One thing about this group I like is that the young players actually get to play with players who will help them grow. Say what you want about Wenger, the man knows how to build a squad. Injuries, money, luck, and yes some poor decisions have gone against him but I really like that this team compared to the last don’t seem to have the negative aspects to them as say nasri, rvp,arshavin, song, and any other player who thought they were bigger than Arsenal. It is probably too early to tell but this group looks mentally stronger and ready to compete for titles.

  8. ArseneWenger says:

    iwobi > nasri arshavin
    Ozil > cesc
    Xhaka >song

    Hopefully Perez > RVP
    But idk about that one.

  9. Bill says:


    Hope strings eternal. It’s only 5 league games and we have dropped points in 2 of them and we are already 5 points out of first with Chelsea next on the schedule. We have certainly seen some very good runs of forms in every season in the Emirates era. We have even had the best team for an entire calendar year at least twice in this decade. May be this time will be different and we can figure out how to put together a full season of decent results but it’s a probably a bit early to be going over the top

  10. Bill says:

    Just a few years ago our English core of young players (ox, Walcott, wilshere, Gibbs, Ramsey, Jenks etc) and wojo were going to mature together and be the next great Arsenal team.

  11. ArseneWenger says:

    i agree bill. Way too early. However I think xhaka, Santi, Ozil, Iwobi, Sanchez, Perez, Mustafi etc have better chance of being the next great Arsenal team. We can only wait and see though.

  12. ArseneWenger says:

    The Chelsea game will prove to be a good test for this group. just hope he starts xhaka. lol those 2 goals should earn him that.

  13. Orson Kaert says:


    You missed out Bellerin in that list, just hope that Alexis and Ozil sign contract extensions very soon or the heart could be torn out of the squad.

  14. Wavey says:

    With the support he has around him now you would hope that Sanchez has what he needs to really shine. We are still missing that top quality striker to top off the team, but hopefully we have someone who can develop into a very good striker in Perez. Giroud has for a job for us, but I’ve always thought of him as the place holder. A couple of times we looked like we were going to bring in the main event, but then we have stuck with Giroud instead. If Perez is going to prove himself, he couldn’t have a much better supply line to work with. The one caveat being that we play the quality players we have in the squad rather than indulging those who haven’t stepped up.

  15. Arsetralian says:

    Well in summary I hear Santi should play by less than half

    Some hedging their bets by going for a non- Santi X1 but AW choosing him anyway

    I am most convinced by views that we were shite last year without him. It is easier to dream about what new players may bring and past history.

    I think he will stay with Coq and Santi but Xhaka is knocking on the door which is great so maybe he will open it for him but surely not v Chelski?

    Either way I am glad we have him still rather than our average 12th manager in his reign

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