MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 5 – 0 Nottingham Forest

Arsenal (1) 5 Nottingham Forest (0) 0

Premier League

Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU

Sunday, 30th October 2022. Kick-off time: 2.00pm

(4-3-3) Aaron Ramsdale; Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhães, Takehiro Tomiyasu; Martin Ødegaard (c), Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka; Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli.

Substitutes: Kieran Tierney, Eddie Nketiah, Rob Holding, Cédric Soares, Fabio Vieira, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Reiss Nelson, (Marcus Vinicius Oliveira Alencar) Marquinhos, Karl Hein.

Scorers: Gabriel Martinelli (4 mins), Reiss Nelson (49, 52 mins), Thomas Partey (57 mins), Martin Ødegaard (78 mins)

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 69%

Referee: Simon Hooper

Assistant Referees: Adrian Holmes, James Mainwaring

Fourth Official: Thomas Bramall

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR: Andre Marriner; AVAR Darren Cann

Attendance: 60,263

However, it should be noted that today’s game against the East Midlanders is our ninth first-class match this month; of the previous eight, victories were chalked up in six, and of the remaining two games, one was a draw, and the other a defeat. Playing nine matches in thirty days (which works out one every 3.33 days) is an incredible strain for everyone associated with the club, and at the time of writing, we are in second place in the Premiership, just a mere point behind Manchester City and top of Group A in the Europa League, both of which are incredible achievements for Arsenal Football Club. Who would have thought such an amazing thing to be possible for Mikel Arteta and the boys this time last year . . .

Before this afternoon’s match, our medical team will assess Marquinhos (who has been ill), and fellow defender Gabriel, who limped off the pitch at the end of last Thursday’s defeat by PSV Eindhoven in the Europa League. Meanwhile, at the time of writing, Oleksandr Zinchenko may well be fit enough to make an appearance, whilst Emile Smith-Rowe and Mohamed Elneny are still not recovered enough to be considered for the team at the Emirates today, sadly. Finally, our best wishes for a speedy recovery go to our on-loan defender Pablo Marí, who faces two months out of the game following surgery after an appalling stabbing incident in a shopping centre in Milan last Thursday evening. 

We completely showed our intent right from the kick-off, with the visitors being pushed back into their half and not looking too organised at this point in the game. After just four minutes, we opened the scoring when Bukayo Saka was found on the right hand side of the penalty area by Gabriel Martinelli. The England forward cut inside and curled a superb cross into the centre of the penalty area for Gabriel Martinelli to head the ball into the back of the net. A couple of minutes later, we carelessly gave the ball away on the edge of our own penalty area and it fell easily to Remo Freuler to fire a shot straight at Aaron Ramsdale, who gathered the ball easily. Almost immediately, we came back at the visitors, and both Bukayo Saka and Martin Ødegaard were unlucky not to score, and the resulting corner also saw Takehiro Tomiyasu attempting to get on the scoresheet, but his volley flew over the bar. After just a quarter of an hour, the match was looking to be completely one-sided, with the Forest defence having trouble containing our forwards, particularly Bukayo Saka, who was simply doing what he liked with their defence; unfortunately he was the victim of a bad foul by Renan Lodi a little earlier, and went off for some treatment which was a concern. Gabriel Martinelli had a great shot, which steered goalwards and was cleared literally off the goal-line by Renan Lodi. The mood in the stadium is that it is felt that it is merely a matter of time before we get our second goal, and just before the half hour mark, taking no chances, Mikel Arteta substituted Bukayo Saka for Reiss Nelson as a precautionary measure, which is a very good thing, especially with the World Cup on the horizon. Morgan Gibbs-White fouled Reiss Nelson on the edge of the penalty area, and although Martin Ødegaard’s subsequent free-kick bounced off the Forest wall, we are constantly knocking on the door looking for that elusive second goal. After a poor Jesse Lingard shot that went wide of Aaron Ramsdale’s post, we continued our pressure on the visitor’s goal with Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Ødegaard causing havoc in the Forest penalty area constantly. A hopeful Gabriel Jesus shot went over the bar, and although the visitors came back at us with a couple of half decent efforts, our defenders were not too unduly worried by them. After a Forest free-kick, Granit Xhaka received treatment after a sliding tackle by Morgan Gibbs-White that went wrong, and almost immediately afterwards, referee Simon Hooper blew the whistle for half-time.

Just after the restart, a long throw from Thomas Partey which dropped nicely and was turned on by Granit Xhaka which looked good, but he was too close to Serge Aurier, who cleared the ball messily. A minute later, our substitute Reiss Nelson, was found in the box by Gabriel Jesus, but although his first shot was saved, the ball fell straight back at the midfielder’s feet and he made no mistake in hitting the back of the net a second time; and three minutes later, Reiss Nelson grabbed his second of the game (and Arsenal’s third) when he poked the ball into the far corner from an excellent Gabriel Jesus slotted ball into the Forest penalty area from the right. The game slowed down a bit when the visitors made a substitution, but normal service was resumed when Reiss Nelson passed the ball to Thomas Partey, who hit an absolute screamer which bent superbly into the top corner of the net for our fourth goal of the afternoon. Shortly afterwards, Gabriel Martinelli and Takehiro Tomiyasu were substituted for Fabio Vieira and Cédric Soares, and almost immediately, Fabio Vieira was found at the back post by a deep cross, but he lost concentration and mis-hit his shot, which was a shame. We kept on coming forward, with Gabriel Jesus constantly shooting on goal; one of his best efforts wa a close range shot that was somehow saved by Dean Henderson, and it has to be said that the visitors are looking somewhat jaded now, which is not a surprise, given the second half that they have had at the Emirates. With fourteen minutes of the match remaining, Mikel Arteta took the chance to rest more players when Kieran Tierney and Eddie Nketiah came on for Granit Xhaka and William Saliba, and four minutes later, our captain Martin Ødegaard scored our fifth goal of the afternoon when he received a pass from Gabriel Jesus, and sinply slotted the ball into the top corner of the net. A superb goal. As we entered the final minutes of the match, game management appears to be the order of the day as far as we are concerned, and we almost scored a sixth goal when Ben White glanced a header, from a corner over to Gabriel Jesus who was a yard out and ready to stroke it into the net, but however, Forest defender Steve Cook did enough to put him off and they both watched the ball go off for a goal-kick. An excellent Gabriel Jesus shot was blocked before Thomas Partey fired it way over the bar and into the crowd. A minute into injury time, it was looking like Reiss Nelson was going to bag a hat-trick today, but after carrying the ball into a congested penalty area, he was unable to get a shot away and the visitors easily cleared the ball; literally seconds later, referee Simon Hooper blew the whistle signifying the end of the match, much to our happiness, and the relief of the visitors. 

Today’s performance by the boys was exceptional, as we bounced back from Thursday’s defeat to PSV Eindhoven with the correct attitude. Reiss Nelson, who came on as an early substitute, scored a brace of goals along with an assist, which was fabulous for him, whilst Thomas Partey conducted everything in the midfield area. It was a shame that Gabriel Jesus did not get on the scoresheet, but the goals must come soon, as he is getting himself into the correct postions to score, it is just one of those things, that’s all. Everything clicked today, everything went well, and most importantly, we returned to the top of the Premiership tonight. Our next Premiership match is an away fixture next Sunday against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which should be a cracker!

Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: FC Zürich at the Emirates on Thursday, 3rd November at 8.00pm (Europa League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon

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