A second-half Arsenal blitz ensured a five-star victory over Nottingham Forest as Mikel Arteta’s men reclaimed the top spot.

Arsenal eased any tension that might have built up after the midweek loss to put in a five-star performance at the Emirates. The Gunners tore a hapless Nottingham side apart in the second period to get back on top of the Premier League table.

Arsenal continued the trend, starting games lightning fast. Gabriel Martinelli headed Bukayo Saka’s cross past Dean Henderson to open the scoring. The Gunners continued applying pressure on the Forest defence, but the tempo slowed.

Saka’s injury in that half caused concerns for the home crowd as Reiss Nelson replaced him. That substitution proved crucial in the second half, as Arsenal went into the break with a narrow lead. After some dismal performances in the second half of recent games, the Gunners were a different animal altogether.

Nelson scored the second very early in the half and three minutes later added a second. Suddenly Arsenal were 3-0 up and in a commanding position. The substitute had indeed done much of the damage and bagged a brace. Minutes later, Thomas Partey added a fourth with a stunning strike from outside the box as Nelson bagged himself an assist.

That strike from the Gunners midfielder was the pick of the lot, but Arsenal weren’t done yet. After good work from Gabriel Jesus, Martin Odegaard capitalised inside the box to smash Arsenal’s fifth. Jesus should have scored at the far post but somehow missed the ball altogether.

The frustrations for the Brazilian continued as he extended his goalless run for Arsenal. However, he was one of the top performers for a five-star Gunners side, who completely dismantled Nottingham Forest.

Arsenal

Aaron Ramsdale – 6/10

An easy day at the office for Ramsdale, who finally achieved a clean sheet at the Emirates this season. He was barely troubled by Forest attackers, barring a couple of half chances.

Ben White – 7.5/10

Another accomplished performance from Ben White in the right-back role. His calmness in possession immensely helps the team in the build-up. Additionally, he is becoming a handful in the final third, with his support of Saka increasing each week.

William Saliba – 7.5/10

There were moments of nerves in this game, but nothing to trouble Ramsdale’s goal. He did banish the ghosts of the last few games and improved his stature as the match progressed. The Frenchman certainly looked back to his best.

Gabriel Magalhaes – 7/10

Gabriel was a significant presence at the back and never let anything get past him. He handled the threat Taiwo Awoniyi well. He was instrumental in organising the backline and brilliant in possession during build-ups.

Takehiro Tomiyasu – 6/10

Tomiyasu was defensively solid, but there are question marks over his attacking contributions. He doesn’t do well on the left side and tends to cut Arsenal’s options on the flank a bit short. Otherwise, the Japan star had a decent enough game.

Thomas Partey – 9/10

When Partey has a good game, Arsenal are destined to win, as the midfielder put in a brilliant show in the middle. The Ghanaian controlled the game’s tempo and came up with the best goal of the match, with a stinging hit from a distance.

Granit Xhaka – 7/10

On his recent form, Arsenal fans have goalscoring expectations from Xhaka these days. While the midfielder did not score one today, he was a solid presence, always looking to threaten the box with his runs.

Martin Odegaard – 8/10

Odegaard stitched the attack together and got a terrific goal to cap off a brilliant day for Arsenal. His movements always caused problems for Forest, who couldn’t handle it.

Bukayo Saka – 6/10

Saka opened proceedings with a brilliant assist for Martinelli’s goal. Soon after, he went off injured with a suspected ankle problem.

Gabriel Jesus – 8/10

Jesus continued his dry run and had plenty of moments in the game to get at least two goals. The biggest miss was in the second half at the near post. However, the striker compensated with two assists.

Gabriel Martinelli – 7/10

Martinelli looked lively in the final third and seemed to have put those few bad displays behind him. Got the early goal to set the mood at the Emirates. There were more moments, but the Brazilian could not capitalise any further, including one cleared off the line by compatriot Renan Lodi.

Substitutes

Reiss Nelson – 9/10

What a game for Nelson, who was not even expected to play at the start. After replacing the injured Saka, the winger turned on the heat with two well-taken goals and the assist for the Partey strike.

Cedric Soares – 6/10

Cedric did well since coming on, possibly playing his first minutes this season for the team.

Fabio Vieira – 5/10

There were underwhelming aspects to his cameo as Vieira continues to find his rhythm in the team.

Eddie Nketiah – 5/10

He may have had one or two half chances late in the game but could not capitalise on either.

Kieran Tierney – 6/10

Tierney gives Arsenal another dimension from left back, and what an option Arteta has on the bench.

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