Arsenal take on Wimbledon
Arsenal won 3-0 at The Emirates Stadium against League One side AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup third round. An early penalty from Alexandre Lacazette settled any nerves, but the second goal would not come until late in the second-half, when Emile Smith Rowe turned home from close range.
BOOM! 1-0 to the Arsenal and it’s a quality penalty from Laca! pic.twitter.com/jNywniUlSR
— Arsenal VAVEL (@ArsenalVAVEL1) September 22, 2021
The third followed just moments later, when Eddie Nketiah, looking likely to leave Arsenal next summer when his contract expires, netted with a beautiful backheel.
Here are three things 101 picked out from the encounter
1. Ingenious Arsenal fans
Arsenal fans bemoaned the lack of television coverage this evening, with the game not broadcast anywhere, no matter where in the world you were.
No TV coverage, no online streams. I’m listening to Arsenal v Wimbledon on the radio like its 1988.
— Matt Lucas (@RealMattLucas) September 22, 2021
Although available via the radio, there was no television option, a situation which Arsenal’s fans have not experienced in decades.
However, where there is a will, there is a way. Not content with the blackout, Gunners supporters convinced several inside the Emirates stadium to live stream the match via Twitter, something that many took the opportunity to do.
Arsenal fans watching a pointless Carabao cup game on a iPhone live stream… never question our dedication for this club 😭😭
— Bhavs (@Bhavss14_) September 22, 2021
At points, as many as 80,000 people were watching the match via these streams, more than there were fans in the ground. While eyebrows will be raised at the method, serious questions must be asked about how fans of a worldwide sport are not able to watch their side play every game.
2. Lokonga and Tavares impress
While the summer signings that Arsenal have made have received much scrutiny, they have more than justified their additions to the side. A pair of them, in Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares, both showed just what they could offer Mikel Arteta in the performances they put in against the League 1 outfit.
Hot take: Lokonga is a baller.
— Mark Mann-Bryans (@MarkyMBryans) September 22, 2021
Tavares, who has been fun to watch tonight, heads Martinelli’s cross against the post.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) September 22, 2021
Of course, the quality of the opposition must be taken into account, but the pair certainly look like very competent backups, and at 21 years old, both will have plenty of opportunities to break into the first-choice XI in due course.
Big drop off from first XI to second
Despite the aforementioned pair impressing, there was little else to note from the performance of other reserve players, who for much of the game struggled to break down their opponents. Only the additions of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe added some much-needed tempo and quality to proceedings, while Gabriel Martinelli and Lacazette impressed individually but on different wavelengths.
That, of course, is to be expected from a side that rarely plays together, and there are signs that the aforementioned players could slot into the first XI, but as a unit they appeared far less cohesive than the seniors whom Arteta will field on Sunday.
Most importantly, however, the Gunners are through to round 4 of the Carabao Cup, with the draw set to be made later this evening.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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