We hit Nottingham Forest for five on a highly-encouraging evening on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup.
There was much to admire about our performance, but here are the four main takeaways from the night:
TIERNEY MAKES HIS MARK
Within five touches as an Arsenal player, Kieran Tierney had the Arsenal fans over by the left touchline on their feet – and they rarely had the chance to take their seats again during a thrilling display by our new left back. The Scotland international was non stop up and down the flank, and the sheer number and the tangible quality of his crossing was hugely encouraging. He was the beating heart of our first-half performance, with everything positive coming through him and he was similarly influential after the restart until he made way for Hector Bellerin. This was a dazzling display from our new left-back. It has been worth the wait to see him.
When you consider that Gabriel Martinelli had not played any football at the highest level in his homeland of Brazil prior to joining us, it is even more remarkable to think of just how at home he looks in our first team. Nominally a winger for former club Ituano, he excelled through the middle here, harrying the defenders constantly and going close even before his opener. Calum Chambers can take plenty of credit for a superb cross from the right, but Martinelli’s instincts in gambling by racing to the near post before directing a header into the top corner show he has the right mindset to play as a central striker. His second goal may have taken a useful deflection, but it was rich reward for an exciting performace. There is more to come, much more, from our livewire Braziian.
HOLDING’S MAGIC MOMENT
This was a hugely encouraging evening for Rob Holding. Even before he doubled our advantage, the centre back was back in the groove with a commanding, silky display at the heart of our defence, with one challenge on Sammy Ameobi earing rich applause from the Emirates faithful. But that was nothing compared to the reaction that greeted his goal, when he rose highest to meet Reiss Nelson’s corner and head it firmly beyond Arijanet Muric. His wild celebrations warmed the heart, but just as encouraging was his overall display: he will take great confidence from his display and rightly so.
BELLERIN’S RAPID IMPACT
It did not take Hector Bellerin long to get back into the swing of things with the first team either. Within seconds of stepping back on to the Emirates pitch for the first time in more than nine long months, and with barely long enough to soak in the adulation that greeted him from the stands, the Spaniard had received the ball in the area from Calum Chambers. One quick look up, a pinpoint cross and Bellerin had an assist as Joe Willock converted his ball across goal. What a moment for the 24-year-old. He has been missed, and everyone of an Arsenal persuasion will be delighted to see him back.
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