ARSENAL saved their best performance till last to round off a busy but brilliant October.
Nottingham Forest were the seventh opponents Arsenal faced this month with Mikel Arteta’s side picking up seven wins in nine games.
There may have been cause for concern after a drab 1-1 draw with Southampton last week following a defeat to PSV in mid-week in which Arsenal looked anything but title contenders.
But from minute one they showed those results were a blip as they set about dismantling a sorry Forest side.
Gabriel Martinelli headed his side in front in the fifth minute and from that moment it looked like it would be a long afternoon for the visitors.
The Gunners dominated the remainder of the half and would have added to the scoreline if not for sloppy finishing and some last-ditch Forest defending, with Martinelli seeing a shot cleared off the line.
Gabriel Jesus was wasteful, not for the first time this season, and that could cause a little concern for Arteta as will Bukayo Saka’s injury.
The England winger was forced off in the first half and his replacement Reiss Nelson made the most of a rare appearance with two goals and an assist.
But both his goals came from terrible Forest defending and he was given far too much time and space to convert his two goals.
Thomas Partey scored another screamer and captain Martin Odegaard got on the scoresheet for the first time since August, but Arsenal need to be more clinical when they come up against better teams.
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Prior to today’s goal fest the North Londoners had scored just four goals in five games, with their wastefulness particularly costly in the draw at Southampton.
Arsenal cannot afford to drop points against such teams if they are to maintain the gap to Manchester City, so Arteta will be pleased his side showed a ruthless edge against relegation-threatened Forest.
But it is Chelsea next up in the Premier League and Graham Potter’s side will not roll over as easily as today’s opponents, particularly after Saturday’s embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Brighton.
Arsenal also host the Seagulls in the Carabao Cup as they face another four games in a frantic 13 days before domestic football breaks for the World Cup.
Matches against Zurich, Chelsea, Brighton, and Wolves could provide a better gauge of where Arsenal are right now and whether Arteta needs to buy in January.
Gabriel Jesus has proved a brilliant purchase in attack and proved it today with three assists.
But while he gives so much to Arsenal on and off the ball he also showed today that there is one area of his game he needs to work on – his finishing.
The Brazilian has just five Prem goals this season and has a shot conversion rate of 14.3 per cent, which ranks him in 16th place in the league.
He was incredibly wasteful against Forest, missing a one-on-one after being played through by Odegaard mid-way through the second half.
In total Jesus had seven shots, hitting the target only three times – a poor return for a player of his quality, and he needs to be much more clinical against the likes of Chelsea where chances could be much harder to come by.
Arteta will not be too concerned given his side lead the way in the Prem and top their Europa League group, with his focus on getting through the next four games.
But if Arsenal want to maintain their title challenge and sustain their place at the top of the league beyond just the current season, Edu and co. should look to target an Erling Haaland-type hitman.
That is easier said than done but it is something the Arsenal hierarchy have taken into consideration previously, with Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic still a target.