Result: Arsenal 3-0 AFC Wimbledon
Competition: Carabao Cup third round
Date: 22 September 2021
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Arsenal: Leno, Cedric, Mari, Holding, Tavares, Maitland-Niles, Sambi, Partey, Nketiah, Martinelli, Lacazette
Subs: Hein, Kolasinac, Chambers, Smith Rowe, Elneny, Saka, Balogun
Alex Lacazette’s early penalty and goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah helped Arsenal to a 3-0 win against AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup third round.
Mikel Arteta made 10 changes from the side that beat Burnley at the weekend – only Thomas Partey retained his place – and it showed as the Gunners produced a disjointed opening 45 minutes in which their only shot on target was Lacazette’s converted spot-kick awarded for a foul on Gabriel Martinelli. At the other end, Bernd Leno had a watching brief as the defence kept our League One opponents at arm’s length.
Arsenal perked up after the break with the introduction of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka. After a spell in which the Gunners frontline did their best to fluff their lines, the former netted a scruffy close-range effort – his first of the season – before the latter teed up Cedric for a cutback that Eddie Nketiah converted with a classy backheel finish. Saka twice went close to extending the lead with decent efforts from range.
Nketiah 👀 pic.twitter.com/At3SJYRGbC
— Terje (@ArsenalTerje) September 22, 2021
While previous ties at this stage of the competition have been treated as an opportunity to blood Academy kids, there were no debuts this evening. Instead, the minutes went to fringe members of the squad who’ve spent most of the last 10 weeks on the bench. Some impressed more than others, including new left-back Nuno Tavares.
The Gunners reward is a home clash with Leeds United in the week commencing 25 October, Next up, it’s Sp*rs in the North London derby.