Reiss Nelson scored twice after replacing the injured Bukayo Saka as Arsenal thrashed Nottingham Forest 5-0 to move back above Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
Nelson hadn’t made a Premier League appearance since August of last year and hadn’t scored in the competition since July 2020 when he came on for Saka in the first half, but he seized his chance with two close-range goals in three minutes soon after the break.
Earlier, Gabriel Martinelli had given the hosts a fifth-minute lead when he headed home Saka’s cross, but, just three weeks before the start of the World Cup, the England international was subsequently forced off with suspected foot injury after a poor challenge from Renan Lodi.
Saka’s injury stalled Arsenal’s momentum initially but Mikel Arteta played down fears he could miss the World Cup afterwards, describing the injury as a “bad kick” and saying he “didn’t see anything further than that”.
Back on the pitch, the Gunners were rampant after half-time, scoring the third goal in a devastating eight-minute spell through Thomas Partey, Nelson turning provider as his pass was sumptuously curled into the top corner by the Ghanaian international.
Martin Odegaard added Arsenal’s fifth, dispatching a powerful finish from Gabriel Jesus’ lay-off, as Nottingham Forest, 1-0 winners over Liverpool last weekend, left a buoyant Emirates Stadium firmly rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table, their plight a stark contrast to what’s going on at Arsenal.