By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal team to start: Martinez, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Gabriel, Gibbs, Elneny, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Reine-Adelaide, Akpom, Lucas
On the beach: Macey, Bielik, Sheaf, Dasilva, Zelalem, Willock, Mavididi
A very mixed team at the start from Arsenal. And with only kids on the bench. A few experienced players like Gabriel, Gibbs, Elneny, Xhaka, The Ox and Lucas Peréz with no English experience. And then a few youngsters with hardly any experience at the highest level like Maitland-Niles, Akpom, Holding and the Jeff. And in goal we had Martinez.
What follows between () : this was from match highlights seen at half time:
(Arsenal getting away with losing the ball at the back. Gabriel gave it to Holding who had a bad touch and the ball ended up in front of the feet a Forrest player who missed the goal mouth.
At the other end Akpom being set up and with a good shooting angle but the keeper with a super save this time.
The Ox with the ball turns back and gives it to Xhaka. He probably said to him: hey just have go. And being even further out than against Hull…. Xhaka just hits the ball. It took a little deflection right at the start but the power of the shot beating the Forrest keeper and in it goes. What a strike once again. )
Real live report:
Half an hour played and I finally get to see something from the match. Elneny with a header a bit short and Holding has to make a foul at the expense of a yellow card on his birthday. But Arsenal can clear for a corner and clear any danger from that also. Elneny with a shot from distance that sails wide shortly before half time. Arsenal with a good counter started by The Ox to Akpom who gives it to The Jeff who shoots just wide. Lansbury then going in very hard on Gabriel who is holding his ankle and looks in trouble. But he limps off by himself. Shame on you Henry Lansbury… where did you learn that? Bendtner in the extra-extra time with a low shot but a comfortable save by Martinez.
Lansbury with another foul right after the restart and almost injured himself and the ref has a word but still no card. Arsenal playing the ball close to the Forrest penalty area in order to stay out of any Forrest pressure. If you are at their goal, they can’t score as the Dutch grandmaster used to say. The Jeff being fouled and Peréz with the free kick but comfortable save for the keeper. Lucas Peréz trying to make some useful runs but not being picked up by his teammates so far. Nottingham Forrest now with some more pressure on the Arsenal players and pushing them a bit back. But a good tackle from Gibbs wins the ball back for Arsenal.
Perez with a ball to Akpom who was pushed in the back when he was going to pull the trigger and the ref gave the penalty. Lucas Peréz behind the ball with a short run up and…. GOAL!! 0-2 to the Arsenal after 60 minutes.
Lansbury again with a foul and even the match commentator finds it strange that he has committed so many fouls and still hasn’t been booked. A good cross from Maitland-Niles but the header from Akpom is blocked for a corner. And Lansbury then finally is booked for his umpteenth foul.
Arsenal under some pressure, win it back in their own penalty area. The ball goes to Akpom who played it to Peréz who had a lot of work to do and had to use his body expertly to win the ball from the defender, then went past him, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted it home! GOAL !!! 0-3 to The Arsenal after 72 minutes. His second goal on the night. Well done!!!!
And then Gibbs finds Peréz in space at the edge of the penalty area but he scuffed his shot and made it an easy catch for the keeper. A hattrick would be some way to start your Arsenal career. Cohen goes in the book for tripping Akpom who was on a promising run. Peréz with a good run on the left flank but his sharp cross is cleared by a defender with Akpom right behind him.
After what looked a few minutes of endless possession the ball ended up in front of the feet of Peréz who unselfishly tried to play in Akpom who gave him the ball at first but a defender just got in between. Arsenal now really toying with Notthingham Forrest and making them chase an unreachable ball. Elneny his final shot however off target. But what an exhebition at times by the whole Arsenal team who passed the ball between the lines at free will.
After Bendtner went off Osborn had a shot but straight at Martinez who had been without work for most of the game. Two changes from Arsenal after 82 miutes with Akpom and Adelaide going off and Zelalem and Willock coming on. For the latter it was his first team debut I think.
Peréz trying to find the youngster on the overlap but a defender first on the ball. The Ox with a good dribble creating some room for a shot but the keeper with a long leg prevented another Arsenal goal. Bielik then comes on for Maitland-Niles in the 86th minute. A majestic first touch from the young Polish defender to smother an attack from Forrest. The Ox with a good dribble once again and a lay off to Peréz but a defender blocked his goal bound shot.
Arsenal just kept in control of things not really trying to add a fourth at the risk of any limbs, no need for that. It’s only the league cup. But still they did it. An amazing attack going over The Ox, to Bielik who played it to The Ox who let it run towards Peréz who slotted it in the path of The Ox again who coolly finished it off. GOAL!!! 0-4 to The Arsenal and that was the final score.
A great win from a very mixed team (something we weren’t that good at over the last years) but this time we surely made it a comfortable win.