By Joe Nelson
Arsenal begun their League Cup campaign with a 4-0 demolition of two-time European Cup winners Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.
Arsene Wenger made 11 changes to the side that romped to 4-1 win away to Hull City last Saturday, but the replacements stepped up and proved that the Gunners have considerable strength in depth.
There were plenty of names trying to make a statement at the City Ground and here are three things we learned from the 4-0 victory.
Wenger has strength in depth
The Gunners were knocked out of the League Cup in the Round of 16 last season as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat away to Sheffield Wednesday.
On that night, in which both Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up injuries, the Gunners were outclassed and showed a significant lack of strength in depth, with their deputising youngsters struggling to find any sort of foothold in the game.
Wenger showed on Tuesday night that although he made 11 changes, his second string side were more than capable of dispatching Forest, who could not score at home for the first time this season.
Young guns must start in last-16 clash
Starts were handed to Chuba Akpom, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who had impressed on loan at Ipswich Town last season.
All three settled straight into Wenger’s system and caused Forest all sorts of problems on the ball.
Akpom, who had previously struggled when playing for the first team showed authority on the ball and a willingness to run last night, with Adelaide excelling in the free role behind him.
Maitland-Niles, who was deputising in absence of Mathieu Debuchy had a stellar display, as he broke forward well and remained calm and composed in possession.
All three certainly did enough to be handed starts in the next round of the cup, with the draw taking place on Wednesday night.
Gibbs is still a class act
Five years to the day since scoring his first Gunners goal, Kieran Gibbs was made captain at the City Ground for the fixture.
With talk of him moving away last summer, it’s vital that Gibbs performs well in the chances that he is given and it is clear to see that Wenger still holds a good level of trust in the left-back, showcased by naming him captain.
Gibbs’ hunger has not diminished on the sidelines and should Nacho Monreal fall absent at any time, Wenger can rely on the Englishman to provide more than adequate cover.