That’s how to get over a defeat! A 5-0 spanking of Nottingham Forest in front of the home fans. Fatigue? You’re having a laugh – well, the boys certainly didn’t look tired from the highlights I watched. Nottingham Forest might be one of the favourites to be relegated this season, at this moment in time but Arsenal can’t help who they have to play and when. The last 2/3 performances from Mikel Arteta’s teams have looked shaky and I bet before the game, Steve Cooper believed his side could leave north London with a point. At half-time, he probably thought the same, especially after a couple of dodgy moments in the Arsenal defence, but the team in red and white proved that form is a temporary thing but class never goes away. The number of false dawns in the past is what gives me the jitters when we play badly because my brain thinks ‘here we go again’.
Bukayo Saka, the one who goes to ground too easily, was given some rough treatment yet again only this time, after what looked liked having studs raked down his leg, he had to go off. The commentary team on 5Live were concerned for England and the World Cup when he had to go off after half an hour – plonkers. He’s Arsenal first and foremost and I hope he recovers quickly.
When asked if Saka’s injury could rule him out of the World Cup, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said:
Hopefully not. It was a bad kick, he was limping but I don’t see it further than that. It was both [foot and ankle], he got kicked a few times.
Before he left the pitch, with Reiss Nelson coming on in his place, Bukayo Saka had already notched up an assist for Gabriel Martinelli within the opening five minutes. I loved the goal because it wasn’t easy. Our Brazilian winger had a lot to do just to get to the cross, let alone hit the target. We don’t score many like that.
Often when the team is announced on a match-day, the bench is equally as interesting as the starting eleven. Important too because if and when those players get called upon, they need to be ready. They need to make a difference, or at least that’s the hope. You want to see a spark of magic from attacking players and a bit a steel and steadiness from the defensive ones. Well, I can’t remember the last time an Arsenal player came off the bench to make the kind of impact Reiss Nelson did yesterday. Two goals in four minutes early in the second half and an assist later in the game. I’m absolutely chuffed for him because his Arsenal journey hasn’t always been easy. Loans, injuries and an odd game or two for Arsenal in between but last season, whilst on loan at Feyenoord, he seemed to mature. Whether yesterday was the start of something better for him I don’t know but he sure as heck didn’t do his chances any harm.
Arsenal scored again just before the hour. Another wonderful strike from Thomas Partey was perfect. Stunning. At 4-0, Mikel Arteta began to make his changes. All four he had left with Cedric Soares back in action, Eddie Nketiah, Kieran Tierney and Fabio Vieira all having time on the pitch and William Saliba, Granit Xhaka, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Gabriel Martinelli having time off it.
One more goal came for Arsenal trough captain Martin Odegaard and fine strike it was too. 5-0, three different scorers, Forest thrashed and we’re back at the top of the table again. How Gabriel Jesus didn’t score I don’t know but it certainly wasn’t through lack of trying.
Win the next two league games and we’ll be top at Christmas. 😃
Seriously though, we needed that performance and result. Now we can go into the Europa League on Thursday night feeling a bit more confident after such a dominant performance, certainly in the second half.
Mikel Arteta spoke after the game:
On enjoying the second half…
It was time for the players to enjoy that moment, they earned it, we had so many games, a lot of emotions, that they’ve been through and as well to give some opportunities to some players and like Cedric, he hasn’t played a lot of minutes as well and he’s every day conducting the right way, it was great to see some players having minutes.
On 300 wins at the Emirates…
It was great honestly, thank you so much for all the supporters coming back it made the game much simpler, much easier, the boys were just talking about it, it’s just a joy to come here and play in front of them. It really is special.
It really was a good weekend for Arsenal as the ladies made history by going unbeaten in the WSL for a record 13 times on the trot. Yesterday West Ham were the latest team to suffer defeat and if that’s enough to cheer you up, Tony Adams made it through to the next round of Strictly. He’s looking good too…
See you in the comments.