Result: Arsenal 5 – 0 Nottingham Forest
Competition: Premier League
Date: 30 October 2022
Venue: The Emirates Stadium
Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Saka, Jesus
Subs: Hein, Tierney, Holding, Cedric, Lokonga, Vieira, Nelson, Marquinhos, Nketiah
Concerns about a loss of form were premature as Arsenal romped past Nottingham Forest 5-0 at home.
Martinelli scored early in the first half but Arsenal raised their tempo after the break, resulting in a brace by Nelson (came on for an injured Saka), a lovely long range effort from Partey and a strike from Odegaard seal an emphatic home win for the Gunners.
Arsenal’s starting line-up remained unchanged from the away game to Southampton. It sees Tomiyasu keeping his place on the left side of defence alongside Gabriel, Saliba and White.
Young goalkeeper Karl Hein replaced the injured Matt Turner on the bench.
Seeing how Nottingham Forest defended so deep from the whistle, it looked like an attack v defence routine at the Emirates.
Arsenal had to be patient and it was not always easy for the defenders and Partey to find a passing option further ahead. Come the fourth minute, Arsenal made some headway down the left wing. Martinelli sent a nicely zipped pass for Saka on the right who returned the ball into the middle for Martinelli to bravely dive and head the ball in to goal. 1-0 Martinelli
“Everyone has a plan until you get hit in the face” – Forest were unsure on whether they should commit to their plan or push for an equaliser after conceding so early. No such problems for Arsenal who probed patiently for a second goal. Jesus was particularly impressive charging down lost causes and valiantly putting his body in front of defenders to receive long passes, even when dwarfed by the opposition centre back.
One worry for Arsenal fans was the substitution of Bukayo Saka on 26 minutes. The winger was on the receiving end of a couple of tackles on his ankle. He tried to shake off the discomfort but eventually had to make way for Reiss Nelson.
The substitution also coincided with a lack of cutting edge and obvious chances created against Forest for the rest of the half despite dominating possession. The biggest chance of the half arrived for Forest though, with Gabriel nonchalantly passing out to Lingard in the box whose attempt was blocked by White who was quick to sense the danger.
The start of the half was all about raising the tempo. Arteta was seen from the sides shouting to get the team to pass and move more quickly. A quick pass on the 48th minute down the inside left channel for Xhaka opened up the Forest defence. He pulled back for Jesus who laid off for Nelson. Nelson’s attempt was saved but made no mistake with the rebound. 2-0 Nelson
The winger was flying. It didn’t take long for him for double his tally, again coming from a quick counter attack. Martinelli moved the ball to the right for Jesus and Odegaard. The two couldn’t find a way past the retuning defenders but Nelson found some space in the 6 yard box. Jesus floated a simple ball in and Nelson needed only a tap-in to put the team three goals ahead. 3-0 Nelson
Just before we had time to savour the moment, Nelson was involved again in Arsenal’s fourth. He received the ball high up the right and laid off for an oncoming Partey outside the box. Partey’s curled side foot evaded Henderson and sent the stadium wild. 4-0 Partey
Jesus, who was excellent throughout, deserved a goal and was ever so hungry to make his mark. However, his finishing was just slightly lacking when the opportunities arose. A chipped ball in by Partey for Jesus offered him a 1v1 with the ‘keeper only for a touch to push the ball a little too wide for him to finish.
Jesus was also a fraction off from connecting with White’s flick-on at a corner that would have given him that gloss on his performance.
But if you can’t score, assist. After he set up Nelson for his goal, Jesus had his second assist of the game for Odegaard on the 77th minute. He held the ball really well on the edge of box and passed it on the captain. Usually preferring to pass, Odegaard fought his instincts and lashed the ball in to make it five goals for the Gunners. 5-0 Odegaard
All the worries about slipping standards and fatigue from a gruelling October were laid to rest with the best result of the month.