Arsene Wenger was delighted with summer signing Lucas Perez, who got his campaign up and running with a brace against Nottingham Forest in the third round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday (20 September). It was only his second start since joining from Deportivo La Coruna in the summer after making his debut against Southampton in the Premier League.
The Arsenal forward scored a penalty to double Arsenal's advantage after a Granit Xhaka screamer in the first-half, but it was his second goal that impressed Wenger, after the striker used considerable strength to beat his marker before rounding the goalkeeper to find the net. He also claimed an assist after setting up Arsenal's fourth goal, which was scored by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to complete the 4-0 rout. The French manager, however, had one complaint following the game, which was the striker's over reliance on his left foot.
"Of course, a striker is always growing when he scores goals and I felt that he has shown tonight - I liked his second goal because it was not only technique but it was determination, to fight for the ball and finish, I liked as well the part he played in the goal of Oxlade-Chamberlain because it shows that he can combine with other people and that he is an intelligent player," Wenger said, as quoted on Arsenal's official site.
"He's quick, he's determined, he uses well his left foot - a bit too much for my taste, and not enough his right foot, but overall he's like all left-footed players."
Apart from the Spaniard, the manager also praised Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chuba Akpom, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles for their performances against the Championship outfit. The last two were making their first competitive starts for the Gunners.
Chamberlain was one of the senior players on the pitch and got into the thick of things gradually as the game wore on, and the manager is hoping he can remain fit and show his true potential this season. Maitland-Niles, who primarily plays on the wings or in midfield, played for the first time at right-back and looked comfortable during his 87 minutes on the pitch.
"He's in good form at the moment, physically. It's the first time in a long period that he has been ready to compete and he had a little bit of a slow start in this game but became stronger and stronger. I was very pleased for him with the way he finished the game," the French manager explained.
"You forget a little bit Ainsley Maitland-Niles, I think [that was] the first time he played right back [in the first team]. All three have done extremely well and I would like to congratulate them because I am very happy with their performances today."