Back in the setup after missing the initial games of the season owing to COVID-19, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrated his return with a hattrick as Arsenal trounced West Bromwich Albion 6-0 in the second round of the League Cup.
"This is good to build the confidence of the team," Aubameyang said. "We know we had a tough start to the season," according to AFP inputs.
Boss Mikel Arteta opted for a starting lineup that boasted 348 senior international appearances and three national captains in Aubameyang, Martin Odegaard and Granit Xhaka, while West Brom changed the entire side from its last Championship game, handing out five debuts with an average age of under 23.
Arsenal drew first blood as Bukayo Saka’s smart feet saw him evade a number of challenges before his low shot was pushed out into the feet of Aubameyang, who tucked home from close-range for Arsenal’s first goal of the campaign in the 17th minute.
Aubameyang tapped in a second after Nicolas Pepe hit the post. He turned provider before halftime, with his acrobatic shot falling to Pepe who slid in to finish.
Saka scored five minutes into the second half after a fine flick from Odegaard. Aubameyang curled in to claim his hat trick and Alexandre Lacazette tucked home at the front post as Pepe claimed another assist.
In the next round, Arsenal will lock horns with League One club AFC Wimbledon.
Meanwhile, the draw for the third round, when teams in European competitions enter, was made on Wednesday night. Manchester City’s defense will start at home to third-tier side Wycombe.
In matchups between Premier League teams, Manchester United will play West Ham, Tottenham takes on Wolverhampton, Chelsea faces Aston Villa and Liverpool goes to Norwich.