perez on target as Arsenal crush Nottingham Forest

Arsenal eased through to the fourth round of the EFL Cup as striker Lucas Perez scored his first goals for Arsenal as they overcame Nottingham Forest 4-0 at the City Ground.

Lucas Perez
Lucas Perez

Former Deportivo la Coruna striker Perez, who joined Arsenal for a fee of £17million in August, netted his first goal for Arsene Wenger’s side with a well taken penalty on the hour-mark, before doubling his tally with a superb solo effort

The Gunners’ only two League Cup triumphs in 1987 and 1993 each featured wins over the Reds and Granit Xhaka’s strike and a Lucas Perez double set the ball rolling for history to perhaps repeat itself.

Granit Xhaka mobbed Arsenal players
Granit Xhaka mobbed Arsenal players

Granit Xhaka’s second goal in as many games – a blistering range strike from 25 yards out, opened the scoring midway through a tightly-contested first-half gave Arsenal the lead midway through the first half and Perez’s penalty after an hour extended the advantage.

Perez then put the tie beyond doubt with another goal 11 minutes later, ensuring there would be no Forest win to mark the 12th anniversary of Brian Clough’s death, before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain completed the scoring in stoppage time.

Arsenal almost gifted their hosts an early lead when a defensive mistake allowed Ben Osborn to retrieve possession.

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Nicklas Bendtner, making his first start for Forest against the club with whom he spent nine years, set up Pajtim Kasami with a low cross into the penalty area but he rolled his shot agonizingly wide, with goalkeeper Damian Martinez well beaten diving the opposite way.

Both home and away fans at the City Ground rose in the 12th minute to give former Forest manager Clough a standing ovation as a moment of remembrance.

However the mood and applause was nearly abruptly halted by Chuba Akpom, who would have given Arsenal the lead had it not been for the fingertips of Vladimir Stojkovic.

Former Arsenal player Bendtner then showed both sides of the character which has typified his career by catching Xhaka with a late foul and receiving a needless yellow card, before almost scoring his first Forest goal by flashing a fierce right-footed shot narrowly wide of the far post from the left edge of the penalty area.

Forest could have had the lead early on, Nicklas Bendtner – on his full debut – teeing up Patjim Kasami, but the ex-Fulham midfielder could only drag his shot off target.

Xhaka scored his first Arsenal goal at Hull with a superb 30-yard strike into the top corner of the net and the summer signing from Borussia Monchengladbach repeated the feat after 23 minutes.

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Stojkovic looked to get a strong hand to the shot but merely took the pace off the ball and it nestled in the back of the net.

Arsenal came close to extending their lead shortly before half-time following a swift counter-attack which culminated in Akpom and Jeff Reine-Adelaide linking up neatly down the right side of the penalty area, with the latter poking an effort just wide of the far post.

It was 2-0 when Akpom went down under a challenge from former Chelsea defender Michael Mancienne, with Perez tucking away the resulting spot kick.

The Gunners were now totally dominant and Perez ploughed his way through the Forest defence and around the goalkeeper to prod in the third goal. The Spaniard could have had a hat-trick shortly afterwards but Stojkovic smothered his 15-yard effort.

Perez turned provider in stoppage time as he put Oxlade-Chamberlain through on goal and the England international slotted home to round off a comfortable evening for Arsenal and their fourth consecutive win.

 

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