London – Arsenal thrashed Nottingham Forest 5-0 at the Emirates on Sunday to return to the top of the Premier League, but the win may have come at a cost after Bukayo Saka limped off midway through the first half.
Saka’s replacement Reiss Nelson scored a brace to go with goals from Gabriel Martinelli, Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard. But the injury to the winger will be a major concern for manager Mikel Arteta and his England counterpart Gareth Southgate three weeks ahead of the start of the World Cup in Qatar.
Arsenal move to 31 points from their 12 games, two ahead of Manchester City, while an outclassed Forest remain rooted to the bottom of the table with nine points having played a game more.
“Of course, it is a huge shame for Arsenal and the nation and we will go and check now and see how he (Saka) is,” Nelson told SkySports.
“We are just trying to do well for the gaffer and the team. We’re top now and it’s nice, hopefully we can go all the way.
“It was amazing, we had a bit of a slow start after the goal but everyone got into the game and it was great to play in.”
Saka was excellent in the opening minutes and it was his cross that was headed into the net by Martinelli for the opener, but he went down injured shortly afterwards after a challenge from Forest’s Renan Lodi. Saka tried to continue but came off after 27 minutes.
Arsenal should have been further ahead at halftime but made sure of the points within the first 15 minutes of the second period as Nelson scored twice in quick succession.
He had not appeared in the Premier League since August 2021, but took his chance to score his first from a rebound after Dean Henderson had saved his initial shot, and then three minutes later turned in Gabriel Jesus’ cross.
Partey got in on the act with a superb strike as he drilled the ball into the top corner from outside the box, before Odegaard added the gloss on the performance with a fifth.
Arsenal could have scored more as they wasted numerous opportunities in their ninth Premier League home win in a row, and while Jesus was perhaps the chief culprit, he was excellent in an otherwise lively display, providing two assists.
Arsenal’s next Premier League fixture is a trip across London to Chelsea next Sunday, while Forest host Brentford the day before.