Lucas Perez Pops his Arsenal Goalscoring Cherry
Nottingham Forest 0-4 Arsenal
With half an eye on the Chelsea game, it was expected for Arsene Wenger to make wholesale changes to the side and the squad he featured last night was a testament of current depth in the squad. Emi Martinez usurped David Ospina as the Capital One Cup goalie and he had Rob Holding and the fit-again Gabriel Paulista as the center back pairing. Kieran Gibbs captained the side but I was rather surprised to see Aishley Naitland-Miles as the right back, but those concerns were put to rest when I read that Matt Debuchy had some fitness issues. The midfield pairing of Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny was very solid with Jeff Reine-Adelaide playing the Ozil role. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chuba Akpom flanked Lucas Perez.
If there was any game we needed Lucas to get into the scoring sheet, it was this game. A certain Olivier Giroud scored his first Arsenal goal in a League Cup fixture against Coventry and he has gone on to score 82 goals for the team. His niggling toe injury kept him out of the side so it was all on Perez to turn up with the goods as an expectant crowd watched.
While we were waiting for the attackers to open the scoring, Arsenal took the lead when Xhaka sent in a surface-to-goal piledriver with that hammer of a left foot. The astonishing part of the goal was the little back lift he required to smash in such a rocket. I’m pretty sure opposition defenses would close him down like Hell when he’s in the edge of their box.
With the Gunners breaking the deadlock, the game opened up and a neat ball to Akpom in behind the Forest defense saw the forward fouled by former Chelsea man, Michael Mancienne (good to know he’s off the ugly looking Rastafarian dreadlocks) and Perez stepped up to score his first Arsenal goal from 12 yards with a well taken spot kick. That goal must have given him a morale boost because he went on to score his second of the night with a brilliant solo effort. After receiving the ball on the edge of the box, Perez showed his pace and upper body strength to shove off a defender before using his neat dribbling skills to waltz past the goalie, Skopjovic, like he wasn’t there. With an open net in front of him and an opposition defender trying to scythe him down, he showed some composure to tuck the ball into the net to put the game beyond doubt.
Perez then scored from scorer to provider as he teed up the frustrating Ox that made it 4-0. A performance he can be very proud off.
Whether it puts him in contention for a start against Chelsea, I don’t know, but Perez has made a case of himself for his manager, and the headache of selection for the Chelsea game will be strictly Wenger’s business. Will he still stick to Alexis Sanchez up front against Chelsea or has the new boy showed him that he can be a force to be reckoned with?
On the night it was a great day in the office and we will wait for tonight’s results before knowing who Arsenal will face in the fourth round.
Till then, Sayonara.
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