Arsenal 3 Brentford 1
Welbeck 5, 37, Lacazette 90+3, Judge 58

Arsenal turned on the style in what ended up a comfortable Carabao Cup third round win over Brentford at the Emirates. A Danny Welbeck double and substitute Alexandre Lacazette’s late third ensured the margin of victory was comfortable. However when Brentford’s Alan Judge curled in from a free-kick  just before the hour mark to make the then score 2-1, the visitors raised their game, asking many questions of the Gunners’ back line. Sergi Canos had a gilt edged opportunity to level almost immediately after Judge’s strike, but struck wide. The Gunners rallied and re-grouped, playing some stylish and combative football to run out winners and progress to the fourth round.  Gunners’ head coach Unai Emery made nine changes from last Sunday’s Premier League win 2-0 over Everton. Bernd Leno started in goal and 18 year old Emile Smith Rowe also made his first Arsenal start.

With just five minutes on the clock, Arsenal took the lead. Henrikh Mkhitaryan took a short corner to Matteo Guendouzi. His cross was met with a powerful header by Welbeck who guided the ball beyond Luke Daniels. The opener settled the Gunners, but Brentford began to settle too with a passing game which required careful attention. Visting captain Nico Yennaris began his career at Arsenal but a lack of game time would take him to pastures anew. Now in west London and in the Championship, Yennaris drove his side forward with energetic bursts and a desire which the near 9000 visiting fans applauded all game.

Eight minutes before the break however, Arsenal doubled their lead with a stunning move which came right out of Arsenal goals of seasons past. Leno played the ball out to Stephan Lichsteiner who fed Mkhitaryan. The Armenian raced forward to pick out Alex Iwobi to his left. Iwobi spotted the overlapping Nacho Monreal to slip him the ball. The Spain defender picked out Welbeck who had timed his run to perfection to sweep home to double the Arsenal lead.

2-0 down at the break, the visitors didn’t panic. They emerged in determined move and stepped their intensity. When Guendouzi needlessly conceded a foul just out of the Arsenal box, Judge stepped up to flight his free kick and beat Leno to make it 2-1. The B’s went in search of more, but were denied by a combination of resilient defending and poor finishing.

Smith Rowe is a real talent and his contribution will surely earmark him for more game time. When he made way for Lucas Torreira, the message to shore up the midfield was clear. Having achieved that, Arsenal went close again but Monreal’s close range effort was met with a smart reflex save from Daniels.  Lacazette added to the tally late on, while Iwobi –  who had had a first half penalty claim denied when he appeared to have been caught by Julian Jeanvier had the ball in the net deep in injury time only to see it ruled out for an offside.

All in all a good work out and another win for Emery, who was pleased with the outcome.

“Yes, we are happy. I think today is a good match, a good 90 minutes to continue working on our tactical things and our individual things also for taking responsibility for the players, for taking confidence in the players for the 90 minutes. And I think the result is also very important for us and today all the things that happened in the 90 minutes is good for continuing to improve and continuing helping the players with the performance to find this victory,” said Emery.

With Welbeck grabbing a brace, the England striker will be pushing for a start. Emery will have taken note.

“I am very happy individually, also with the player. He gave us his quality and also his commitment every day. Danny Welbeck is working with this commitment and when he is playing also with a performance like today, and I think he’s helping the team and we want this. Also, it’s more chances for us to find the first XI for the next matches with performances like today’s.”

Next up for Arsenal is the visit of Watford. The Gunners will have to have the cojones for what  will be another tough test.