BRENTFORD 0 ARSENAL 1
MIKEL ARTÉTA showed his Arsenal squad has the strength in depth to thrive in multiple competitions as a rare Reiss Nelson goal secured victory away to Premier League opposition and a place in the fourth round draw of the League Cup.
It is very much the poor relation of the quartet of trophies on offer to England's leading clubs, but the passionate sell-out crowd here showed there is still a huge appetite for a chance to get to a Wembley final from the supporters.
Arteta made wholesale changes from the weekend draw with Tottenham to give key players a rest and ensure the fringe members of his squad got some minutes in their legs and do not feel too much of outsiders amid a hectic run of fixtures.
The surprise call was a debut for 19-year-old winger Charles Sagoe Jr, a winger who has been at the club since he was 11. Fitting then that he started ahead of fellow Hale End graduate Bukayo Saka who has a slight injury but was due a break..
It was fellow youth team product Nelson, however, who really shone under the blinding Gtech Stadium floodlights on a drizzly west London evening. The England under-21 international, who signed a four-year contract extension this summer, reacted well to a mis-timed Nathan Collins challenge and poked the ball past keeper Mark Flekken after only eight minutes. Eddie Nketiah, one of the three surviving starters from the north London derby, with the assist after a poor back pass from Brentford defender Zanka.
Nelson's subsequent tireless running and tackling at both ends of the pitch is exactly the sort of football and attitude that will have impressed Arteta and put him in mind for another start for Saturday's Premier League trip to Bournemouth.
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