14′ – Emile Smith Rowe tucks away the rebound after Bukayo Saka’s shot hits the post. 1-0 Arsenal. But wait ..
17′ – VAR disallows the goal for offside. Grrr.
18′ – Smith Rowe nutmegs two men to set up Nicolas Pepe to score the opener. Actual 1-0.
20′ – Smith Rowe charges down the right, plays a pass inside to Saka who is fouled. Arsenal have a penalty. Lacazette makes it 2-0.
24′ – Smith Rowe springs into life in midfield, Arsenal work it well to Saka on the right. He cuts inside and his unerring finish makes the goalkeeper look like a statue – not even one surrounded by police for no good reason. 3-0.
It’s no wonder Mikel Arteta waxed lyrical about the two Hale End graduates after Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Slavia Prague last night.
“For me, it’s a joy to watch them play and to watch them every day in training,” he said.
“How they behave, the passion and the commitment they have for the club and how much they love to play football.
“You have to let them express themselves and you have to give them certain room to work, and some ideas of how they can exploit their qualities.
“Then it’s up to them. I thought both of them were really good today.”
It’s hard not to look at these lads and see the future, what an impact they both had on such an important game.
The performance level wasn’t lost on Saka either, who told BT Sport afterwards, “I think it shows everyone how exciting we can be and what we can do. I think we’re such a great team and when we play like this it’s so amazing to be involved and I’m sure it’s amazing for our fans to watch.
“We just need to not make mistakes, silly mistakes and stuff. We have a great chance of going to the final and winning this competition.
“It’s really up to us, we have the quality, we just have to show the performances and the game management like we did tonight.”