Arsenal booked their place in the Carabao Cup semi-finals in style on Tuesday night as they swept aside League One Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium.
Nicolas Pepe also got in on the act, whilst there was still time late in the day for Gunners’ debutant Charlie Patino to etch a memorable moment into the club’s folklore as he scored during injury time.
It was an all-round satisfying evening for the Gunners and Arteta – and they will find out their semi-final opponents on Wednesday evening after the final last-eight fixtures have been concluded.
For now, though, football.london takes a look back on how the national media rated Arsenal’s performance throughout the evening.
Remember the name? The vast majority inside the Emirates Stadium already knew it. They even had a song prepared when Charlie Patino, an 18-year-old playmaker who has attained near-mythical status with his performances in youth football, limbered up beside the halfway line and waited for the ball to go dead.
He made his entrance to rapturous applause and, 10 minutes later, had raised the roof with a smartly taken goal on his senior debut; if everything goes to plan it will be a quiz question a few years down the line and Sunderland, enterprising but well beaten, may not overly mind being the answer.
Arsenal fans know better than most that there are few sights more invigorating in football than a young player, a graduate of the youth ranks, expressing themselves under the lights in the first team. This is a club that has been transformed by youth in recent seasons, from Bukayo Saka to Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli, and the latest jewel of the academy made his first mark on Mikel Arteta’s side last night.
The Arsenal fans were singing the name of Charlie Patino before he had even touched the ball for the first time in senior football. They were singing it a few minutes later, too, when the 18-year-old announced himself with his first goal for the club. This is a midfielder of rare promise, a talent long identified as one of the brightest in the country, and his first appearance for Arsenal suggested there could be plenty more of these nights to come.
Eddie Nketiah continued his prolific form in the Carabao Cup with a clinical hat-trick as Arsenal saw off League One Sunderland to book their spot in the semi-finals.
The forward turned in from close range to open the scoring after Rob Holding’s header was palmed into his path and Nicolas Pepe soon doubled the hosts’ lead.
That looked to have put the Gunners in control only for Sunderland to hit back when Nathan Broadhead coolly clipped over the onrushing Bernd Leno from Elliot Embleton’s superbly-weighted pass.
But Nketiah cleverly turned in a low Nuno Tavares cross straight after the break to re-establish the lead. The 22-year-old saved his best until last, though, flicking Pepe’s pass between his legs and beyond goalkeeper Lee Burge.
Arsenal’s 18-year-old debutant Charlie Patino then capped a superb night for the Gunners with an injury-time fifth at Emirates Stadium.
Eddie Nketiah provides goals on speed dial and his hat trick showed there could be a changing of the guard at Arsenal.
Gunners striker Nketiah, 22, toasted his treble with his customary phone celebration as he holds an imaginary mobile to his ear as if he is the man to call for goals.
And with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left out in the cold and heading for the exit door, it felt as if Nketiah was giving Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta a very timely reminder of what he can do.
The first two were typical tap-ins from a goalscoring poacher but his third was a wonderful back heel as Arsenal turned on the style to reach the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
Arsenal fans then got even more excited when 18-year-old Charlie Patino grabbed a fifth in injury time. They have already built him up as the next Liam Brady, Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas all rolled into one.
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