CARABAO CUP: Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest - Holding scores on injury return as five-star Gunners cruise into next round
PUBLISHED: 21:59 24 September 2019 | UPDATED: 21:59 24 September 2019
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Rob Holding scored on his return from injury as Arsenal convincingly beat Nottingham Forest 5-0 in the third round of the Carabao Cup on a special night at the Emirates, with Hector Bellerin also making his comeback.
Gabriel Martinelli gave the Gunners the lead with a well-placed header on 31 minutes thanks to Calum Chambers' brilliant volleyed cross.
Rob Holding made it 2-0 on 71 minutes when he headed into the net on his return from a serious knee injury, before Hector Bellerin - also returning from an ACL injury - set up Joe Willock just 12 minutes from the end.
Reiss Nelson made it 4-0 on 84 minutes when he turned in Chambers' cross before Martinelli got his second with a superb finish to cap off a superb evening at the Emirates.
Unai Emery made 11 changes to the team that beat Aston Villa 3-2 on Sunday, with Holding making his long awaited return from injury, Kieran Tierney given his debut and Mesut Ozil named as captain.
Youngsters Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe were also given the chance to impress, while Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock returned to the team.
The home side had the better of the chances early on, with Nelson coming closest as his free-kick hit the base of the post just eight minutes in.
Martinelli was also looking lively with some smart play in and around the box, but the Gunners couldn't find the killer ball to open Forest up.
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That ball came from an unlikely source as Arsenal opened the scoring on 31 minutes.
Nelson clipped a ball out to the right for Chambers who hit his cross first time on the volley to find Martinelli. The Brazilian stooped and headed into the top corner, scoring his first goal for the club.
The hosts did suffer a blow just before half-time when Smith Rowe had to be stretchered off following a nasty head injury.
In a second-half which had very few chances early on, the one that Arsenal did get turned into a goal and a very special moment.
A corner played in on 71 minutes found Holding, who rose highest to head home on his return, sending the Emirates into raptures as he wheeled away in jubilant celebration.
Then came the introduction of Bellerin from the substitute's bench, and he set up Arsenal third just seconds later.
Finding space in the box, the full-back slide the ball to Willock who had a simple tap in to put the game to bed on what was fast becoming a special evening in north London.
Fellow Hale End graduate Nelson then made it 4-0 with just six minutes to play, turning home Chambers' cross inside the six-yard box.
Martinelli then got his second to make it 5-0 in the dying moments of the game with a superb curled finish from outside the box to round off a good nights work at the Emirates and send Arsenal into the Fourth Round of the Carabao Cup.