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Great Scot! Terrific Tierney stars as Arsenal fire five past Nottingham Forest

10:25 PM WAT 24/09/2019
Kieran Tierney, Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest
The full-back impressed on his first start for the Gunners as they beat the Championship side 5-0 in the Carabao Cup third round

It took just 30 seconds for Kieran Tierney to give Arsenal fans their first glimpse of what they had been waiting for.

Dropping his shoulder, he gave himself a yard of space before speeding past Nottingham Forest defender Matty Cash and firing a dangerous cross into the penalty area.

It was the type of exciting play that had convinced Arsenal to splash out £25 million ($31m) to bring the left-back in from Celtic in the summer and an example of why his return from injury has been so eagerly anticipated.

Arsenal fans have been desperate to see the 22-year-old in action and on Tuesday night, just under two months after his arrival, they finally got their wish in the Carabao Cup.

Tierney lined up on the left of a back four which also featured Rob Holding, who was making his first appearance since rupturing the cruciate ligament in his left knee against Manchester United last December.

And the Scotland international delivered the type of performance that suggests he will go on to become a huge hit at the Emirates as Unai Emery’s much-changed side thumped Forest 5-0 to book their spot in the fourth round.

From that first minute when he sped past Cash and delivered a ball into the danger area, Tierney was superb.

This was his first senior appearance since playing for Celtic against Aberdeen in May, but he showed few signs of rustiness as he raced up and down the left flank all night long.

Sead Kolasinac has been Arsenal’s regular left-back since Nacho Monreal left for Real Sociedad, but it will be no surprise to see Tierney soon establish himself in Emery’s back four.

He will have far tougher examinations defensively than the one he was given by Forest, but what he had to do he did well. It was going forward, however, where he excelled.

His delivery was excellent throughout and he was unlucky not to get at least one assist, with Mesut Ozil one of many players to go close from one of the eight crosses he whipped in before being replaced 13 minutes from time.

But it wasn’t just about Tierney at the Emirates. This was a game full of potentially big moments for Arsenal’s campaign - not least the return of Holding, who marked his first appearance in 10 months with a goal.

The 24-year-old was arguably Arsenal’s best defender at the time of his injury last season and Emery will have been delighted with the centre-back’s performance alongside Shkodran Mustafi in the heart of the defence.

With the struggles David Luiz and Sokratis are currently experiencing, Holding could even have played himself into contention for a starting spot at Manchester United on Monday night.

The same could also be said of Calum Chambers, who backed up his impressive performance against Aston Villa at the weekend with another against Forest.

Playing at right-back, Chambers set up the impressive Gabriel Martinelli to open the scoring just after the half-hour mark, whipping in an excellent cross on the volley which the Brazilian teenager headed home.

It was a wonderful goal, one that made 18-year-old Martinelli the youngest player to score on his first Arsenal start since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain netted against Shrewsbury in 2011.

Emery’s side then ran riot after the break, with Holding, who had taken the captain’s armband from Ozil seconds earlier, heading home the second from a corner.

Hector Bellerin then chipped in with his own good news story, setting up Joe Willock for the third less than two minutes after he had come on for his first appearance in nine months.

That goal ended the game as any sort of contest, with Reiss Nelson and Martinelli netting in the closing stages to wrap up a five-star performance from the Gunners.

The Carabao Cup may not be Arsenal’s biggest priority this season but this was a big night for Arsenal. 

It’s been a long wait to see Bellerin, Holding and Tierney back in action and they all showed exactly why they have been missed.