I know it was just a Championship team in the least important cup competition but man it sure was fun to see a free flowing attacking performance from Arsenal. The young kids were impressive, the players returning from injury looked good, and more importantly didn’t suffer any setbacks. It was everything that a fan could have asked for.
Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest: By the graphs
Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest: By the numbers
27 – Shots for Arsenal, compared to 5 for Nottingham Forest.
6 – Shots by Gabriel Martinelli, led all players.
21 – Key passes for Arsenal, compared to 3 for Nottingham Forest.
6 – Key passes by Mesut Özil, led all players (Reiss Nelson was second with 4).
14 – Very deep completions (passes within 15 meters of goal) for Arsenal, compared to 0 for Nottingham Forest.
4 – Very deep completions by Mesut Özil, led all players.
192 – Passes completed in the final third for Arsenal, compared to 31 for Nottingham Forest.
37 – Passes completed in the final third by Mesut Özil, led all players (Reiss Nelson was second with 36).
56 – Final third entry passes for Arsenal, compared to 10 for Nottingham Forest.
15 – Final third entry passes Joe Willock, led all players.
52 – Touches in the box for Arsenal, compared to 6 for Nottingham Forest.
10 – Touches in the box by Bukayo Saka (in just over 1 half!), led all players, (Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Martinelli were second with 8).
In just about every offensive statistic that you can list, Arsenal dominated Nottingham Forest. Not only that, but in all of these Arsenal had a player that by himself accumulated more of the statistic that the whole of Nottingham Forest. The very encouraging thing was that there wasn’t one player who dominated but a well rounded performance where all of the attacking players contributed.
A preview of Arsenal’s very near fullback future
59 – Passes completed by Kieran Tierney. 80.8% completion percentage on 69% expected completion.
3 – Crosses completed by Kieran Tierney of 8 attempts.
6 – Passes into the box completed by Kieran Tierney (2nd on Arsenal)
2 – Key passes by Kieran Tierney
3 – Dribbles by Kieran Tierney (tied for the most)
10 – Ball recoveries by Kieran Tierney (led all players)
2 – Tackles by Kieran Tierney of 3 attempted.
10 – Passes completed by Hector Bellerin of 11 attempted.
1 – Assist (big chance)by Hector Bellerin
1 – Shot by Hector Bellerin
We didn’t get to see them play at the same time, but Arsenal got the chance to see both of their future first team fullbacks for the first time this season in this match. Kieran Tierney started and looked like everything that Arsenal fans would have hoped. In the 72nd minute he made way for Hector Bellerin making his first senior appearance since his injury and was just about instantly influential getting a shot (blocked) and then smartly making a run after the rebound fell to Callum Chambers and then firing a perfect ball across the face of goal for Joe Willock to turn in. Things could hardly have gone more perfect for both of them in this match.
Could Reiss Nelson add missing balance to Arsenals attack?
4 – Shots by Reiss Nelson (0.29 xG)
1 – Goal by Reiss Nelson, his first for Arsenal
4 – Key passes by Reiss Nelson (0.79 xG assisted)
1 – Assist by Reiss Nelson
5 – Passes completed in the box by Reiss Nelson
2 – Crosses completed by Reiss Nelson
36 – Passes completed in the final third by Reiss Nelson
6 – Progressive passes completed by Reiss Nelson(led all players)
8 – Touches in the box by Reiss Nelson
3 – Dribbles completed by Reiss Nelson, dispossessed just 1 time
53 – Passes completed at 85.5% by Reiss Nelson
1 – Tackle by Reiss Nelson
Arsenal are set at striker and broke their transfer record on a right winger but they still have an opening for a player to make the left wing their own, especially while Alexander Lacazette is out injured. Nelson was given a shot to play their early in the year but couldn’t impress enough in his 117 minutes to justify putting one the strikers on the bench. He has another chance now to show he deserves more minutes (and at a minimum starts in the all of the cups for the foreseeable future). Against Nottingham Forest, he was easily Arsenal’s most versatile and well rounded attacker. He got time on both the left and the right, he was second in shots, while also providing the second most shot assists for teammates. He added important ability to progress the ball with the ball at his feet and with his passing. He an enormously talented player and now he has a shot to mack an impact at Arsenal.
Sources: Opta via Whoscored, my own database.