Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 4
Xhaka 63, Lucas 63 (pen), 71, Oxlade-Chamberlain 90+3

Arsenal breezed into the fourth round of the EFL Cup with a 4-0 demolition of Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. Granit Xhaka opened the scoring with another long range thunderbolt, and a Lucas Perez brace – his first from the penalty spot after Chuba Akpom was fouled – and a second which spoke volumes of the pace, determination and strength of the Spain striker.

Perez linked up with Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain with a clever return pass to set up the England man for an injury time fourth. After a quiet start, Perez has netted his first goals for the Gunners since his £17 million summer move from Deportivo La Coruna and his growing confidence and attributes will give Arsenal an alternative attacking dimension.

Arsene Wenger was delighted to have progressed to the next round of the EFL Cup, and revealed that last season’s Hillsborough humbling helped his side to learn how not to treat any Championship opposition side.

” We got there in the end but the game was tough, Nottingham Forest played with full commitment. We needed to be patient and as well not to concede a goal – which we did well. Overall I felt that technically we played well, our combinations worked well and we played at a high pace and that’s where we made the difference in the game,” said Wenger.

Having struck his first Arsenal goal at Hull City in last week’s Premier League 4-1 win at the KCom stadium, Xhaka carried on from where he left off, not only with the goal, but with his commanding midfield presence.

” We suffered in the first 20 minutes a little bit and that goal helped us. After that I think everybody was focused to play the way we want to play football, sharp movement of the ball, great mobility in our team, always quick to move the ball and overall it was a convincing performance. We had some young players who did well and Lucas scored as well so overall it’s a positive night, ” continued Wenger.

The Gunners boss made 11 changes from the weekend, Kieran Gubbs was given the captain’s armband and Wenger was pleased to see his side come through a tough ask, as well as witnessing the strength and depth of this current squad of players. One of his former players Nicklas Bendtner made his Forest debut, and after an opening effort, the Dane had a mixed night where he also picked up a yellow card.
The pick of the Gunners’ goals was Perez’s second.

Chasing the ball away on the left, Perez outmuscled Michael Mancienne off the ball before nudging it past Stojkovic. The build up and the goal had all the hallmarks of one Ian Wright, and Arsenal fans will be hoping for a similar output from Perez.

Wenger was happy to see the goals go in and was not focussing too much on the scorers.

” Honestly, for me the most important is that we win the game, not who scores – it’s not so important. Individually, it’s good because he can convince people that he has the level to play for us and it will help himself as well to grow in belief.

” I told the players that last year in the third round of the League Cup we won at Tottenham and then we went to Sheffield Wednesday and lost 3-0 because we were not ready mentally for the commitment of the Championship and I think our history helped us a little bit tonight to start in a much stronger way,” acknowledged Wenger.