Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest: Player ratings as stylish Gunners return to winning ways

Henry Burt
Martinelli notched his fifth goal of the season
Martinelli notched his fifth goal of the season / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages
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Arsenal eased past Nottingham Forest in a 5-0 thrashing on Sunday to return to the top of the Premier League table.

The Gunners dominated the match from the first whistle, stunning Forest with the kind of quick start to the game Mikel Arteta's side have become renowned for this season.

It took just five minutes for Arsenal to be rewarded for their enterprising start to the match, Gabriel Martinelli pouncing on a cross from Bukayo Saka to score with a sublime diving header.

The rest of the first half was largely uneventful, with Arsenal controlling possession and Forest struggling to carve out chances. The only talking point of note was an injury to Bukayo Saka, who went down after a particularly robust challenge and had to be replaced by Reiss Nelson.

It was that injury that might just have kept Forest in the game, with Arsenal's rhythm somewhat disrupted towards the end of the half.

Any hope of a comeback by the away side was quickly dashed early in the second half, however, when Nelson scored on the rebound after his initial effort was saved to make it 2-0.

Moments later, Arsenal found themselves three goals to the good when Nelson got on the end of Gabriel Jesus' pass to fire home his brace.

And the game began to threaten to become a rout just a couple of minutes later, when Thomas Partey received the ball from Nelson and bent the ball into the corner past the helpless Dean Henderson.

Forest held out for a while, and it looked as though four might be Arsenal's lot. 10 minutes from time, though, captain Martin Odegaard was teed up by Jesus and fired into the top corner to make it five.

It was a magnificent day out for Arsenal, who leapfrog Manchester City once again at the Premier League's summit. Forest, meanwhile, remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

1. Arsenal (4-2-3-1)

Reiss Nelson
It was a great day at the office for super-sub Reiss Nelson / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

GK: Aaron Ramsdale - 6/10 - Could have gotten the proverbial deckchair out today, such was the lack of threat from Forest.

RB: Ben White - 7/10 -
Solid if unspectacular.

CB: William Saliba - 6/10 -
Actually a little bit shaky in the first half, but fortunately Forest were in no state to capitalise.

CB: Gabriel - 7/10 -
Like Saliba, Gabriel looked less than assured in the first half. By the second, however, he was busting out the overhead kick clearances.

LB: Takehiro Tomiyasu - 6/10 -
Never seems fully comfortable as a makeshift left-back, but far from a bad performance.

CM: Thomas Partey 8/10 -
Scored arguably the pick of the goals with a wonder strike.

CM: Granit Xhaka - 7/10 -
Kept Arsenal ticking in midfield, but didn't grab the headlines like he has so often of late.

RW:
Bukayo Saka - 7/10 - A livewire in the early stages and deservedly grabbed an assist for Martinelli's opener. Arsenal - and Gareth Southgate - will hope the knock he picked up isn't too serious.

CAM: Martin Odegaard - 8/10 -
Arsenal's fluid attacking quartet was at the peak of its powers today, and Odegaard was at the heart of it all.

LW: Gabriel Martinelli - 7/10 -
Got Arsenal's day off to the best possible start with a lovely header. Could have gotten another, but Arteta wisely seized the opportunity to give the Brazilian a rest.

ST: Gabriel Jesus - 8/10 -
Did everything but score, despite his best efforts to get on the scoresheet. Great game for the striker.

SUB: Reiss Nelson (27' for Saka) - 9/10 -
Probably not the hero anybody expected today, but it was a magnificent outing for Nelson as he grabbed two goals and an assist.

SUB: Cedric (63' for Tomiyasu) - 6/10 - Helped to see out the game.

SUB: Fabio Vieira (63' for Martinelli) - 6/10 -
Didn't offer much of note, but in truth the game was all but done when he came on.

SUB: Eddie Nketiah (75' for Xhaka) - N/A

SUB: Kieran Tierney (76' for Saliba) - N/A


Manager: Mikel Arteta - 8/10 - His side have been accused of lacking intensity in recent games, but Arsenal came roaring out of the traps today and never really let up. Superb.

2. Nottingham Forest (4-3-3)

William Saliba, Jesse Lingard
Jesse Lingard and company were left chasing shadows / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

GK: Dean Henderson - 6/10 - Can hardly be blamed for the result, as he was given no help at all by his teammates.

RB: Serge Aurier - 5/10 -
Hardly the weakest link in the Forest defence, but altogether a forgettable day for Aurier.

CB: Steve Cook - 4/10 -
Dreadful. Cooked by Arsenal's attack for 90 minutes. Stick a fork in him; he's done.

CB: Scott McKenna - 4/10 -
See above.

LB: Renan Lodi - 6/10 -
Made a great block on the line at one point, but safe to say this will still be a game Lodi will want to forget.

CM: Ryan Yates - 5/10 -
Never managed to get a foothold in the game.

CM: Remo Freuler - 6/10 -
Was completely overrun by Arsenal's press.

CM: Cheikhou Kouyate - 7/10 -
One of the only Forest players to look halfway decent today.

RW: Morgan Gibbs-White - 5/10 -
Utterly ineffectual. Should he really be playing on the wing?

LW: Jesse Lingard - 5/10 -
Jeered off by the Arsenal fans, which says it all really.

ST: Taiwo Awoniyi - 5/10 -
Can't expect your poacher to score goals if you never enter the penalty area.

SUB: Brennan Johnson (56' for Gibbs-White) - 5/10 -
Forgettable.

SUB: Emmanuel Dennis (56' for Lingard) - 5/10 -
Even more forgettable.

SUB: Joe Worrall (64' for Awoniyi) - 6/10 -
Didn't do anything wrong of note, but the game was already dead.

SUB: Neco Williams (64' for Lodi) - 7/10 -
A surprising bright spark of sorts, looking like the only Forest player with a chance of making things happen in the second half.

SUB: Lewis O'Brien (81' for Kouyate) - N/A

Manager: Steve Cooper - 6/10 - Not really sure whether Cooper can be blamed or not. This team still looks like a team of strangers, but that's hardly a surprise. Still, after the win over Liverpool last week, such a heavy defeat will feel like a disappointment to Cooper.

Player of the Match: Reiss Nelson

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