ARSENAL bounced back from their mid-week defeat to PSV in emphatic fashion as they thrashed Nottingham Forest 5-0.
Thomas Partey and Reiss Nelson were the standout performers as Mikel Arteta’s side returned to the top of the table.
Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring inside five minutes with a clever header and the Brazilian was superb once again.
Arsenal showed no signs of fatigue as they dominated the first half, though only led 1-0 at the break due to some wayward finishing.
The second half was the complete opposite as a rampant Arsenal side turned the screw, scoring three times in the first 12 minutes of the half.
Partey’s goal was the pick of the bunch with the midfielder scoring an amazing curling effort, while Nelson twice got on the scoresheet after replacing the injured Bukayo Saka.
It was the kind of Gunners performance that sends a message to their rivals and reminds them of their title ambitions this term, with Forest having conceded just twice in four games prior to kick-off.
Here is how SunSport’s Kealan Hughes rated league leaders Arsenal.
Aaron Ramsdale – 5
A comfortable afternoon for the England goalkeeper.
He had very little to do with the visitors mustering up just two shots on target.
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Ben White – 5
Not as adventurous going forward as he usually is and little to do in defence with Jesse Lingard largely ineffective.
William Saliba – 8
Made good use of his pace and reading of the game to deal with Forest’s long balls over the top of the defence.
Commanding in possession too and is starting to show he is Arsenal’s best defender.
Gabriel – 7
Dealt well with Forest dangerman Taiwo Awoniyi who looked to cause problems on the break with his strength.
But he dropped a clanger when he passed the ball to Jesse Lingard who should have buried his close-range strike.
Takehiro Tomiyasu – 6
Acted like a deep-lying playmaker at times as he came into the middle and pinged passes around, with one leading to a chance for Martinelli.
Thomas Partey – 9
Controlled the play in the first half but was a little complacent on the ball at times in the first half.
Scored a brilliant goal from long-range that was almost a carbon copy of his strike against Tottenham and was the best player in a scintillating second period for the Gunners.
Granit Xhaka – 7
Battled well in the first half without much to show for his efforts.
Made a brilliant run in behind the Forest defence that culminated in Nelson’s goal.
Martin Odegaard – 7
A little quiet by his standards in the first half with Forest packing out the middle of the pitch numbers.
Could have had more than one assist and grabbed a late goal to seal a brilliant win.
Bukayo Saka – 6
Delightful inswinging cross to assist Martinelli’s opener.
Looked a threat early on but picked up an injury following an awkward clash with Renan Lodi and had to go off injured in the 27th minute.
Gabriel Martinelli – 9
Terrific stooping header to put Arsenal in front early doors and would have had a second if not for a Forest player clearing off the line.
Was always a threat on the counter but was clever with the ball and always picked out the right pass or cross.
Gabriel Jesus – 9
He did not have his shooting boots on today but he more than made up for it with his work rate and playmaking, producing three assists.
The Brazilian twice showed brilliant vision and awareness to pick out Nelson for his two goals.
Reiss Nelson (for Saka, 27mins) – 8
A first Premier League appearance of the season for the youngster and he made the most of it with two goals and an assist.
Saka’s injury will be a concern but if Nelson can replicate this performance he will ease Arteta’s worries.
Fabio Vieira (for Martinelli, 63mins) – 5
Some tidy touches but Arsenal had taken their foot off the gas when he came on so did not have a big impact.
Cedric Soares (for Tomiyasu, 63mins) – 6
A rare appearance for the full-back and slotted into the back four seamlessly with Arsenal in command.
Eddie Nketiah (for Xhaka, 75mins) – 5
Came on at left-wing and did not have much of an impact.
Kieran Tierney (for Saliba, 75mins) – 5
Tried to get forward when he could to support Nketiah but crossing was a bit off.