Martinelli’s only previous appearance for Arsenal was as a substitute against Newcastle in their Premier League opener

Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli scored twice as Arsenal breezed into the last 16 of the Carabao Cup with a 5-0 win against Nottingham Forest.

The 18-year-old was making his first competitive start for the Gunners and opened the scoring with a powerful header.

Defender Rob Holding nodded in a second before Joe Willock struck.

Reiss Nelson side-footed in a fourth before Martinelli’s superb long-range effort completed the win.

Nottingham Forest, who like Arsenal made a raft of changes for the tie, barely troubled a rampant Arsenal with their only shot on target a late Sammy Ameobi strike that was comfortably saved by Emiliano Martinez.

Martinelli makes his mark

Few fans had heard of Martinelli when he became Arsenal’s first signing of the summer, joining for £6m from Brazilian club Ituano in July.

However, back in his homeland he is viewed as having the potential to become one of Brazil’s superstars and he certainly impressed on his home debut for the Gunners.

The teenager, who made his Premier League debut with a late substitute appearance against Newcastle in Arsenal’s season opener, played futsal as a youngster and the close control and dribbling skills developed from that sport were on show against Forest.

His first goal also showed good strength and awareness as he attacked an excellent first-time ball by Calum Chambers to power home a header.

That strike made him the youngest player to score on their first start for Arsenal since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain against Shrewsbury in September 2011.

But the best was yet to come. With the game deep into injury time, Martinelli received the ball 25 yards from goal, skipped one challenge before arrowing a wonderful strike into the top corner.

It is early days, but Martinelli showed plenty of potential to suggest he could become a hugely exciting talent for the Gunners.

Gunners get defensive boost

Tierney’s surging runs down the flank caused Nottingham Forest problems from the outset

This was a fine display of attacking football from Arsenal but what will have been just as pleasing for their fans was the clean sheet.

Arsenal had conceded 10 goals in their last five Premier League fixtures and this game provided Unai Emery with the perfect opportunity to give some minutes to those returning from injury.

All eyes were on full-back Kieran Tierney as the £25m summer signing from Celtic made his debut after recovering from a groin problem, while centre-back Holding made his first start following 10 months out with a knee injury.

Holding’s goal will have gone a long way to helping him put recent injury woes behind him while Tierney put in a hugely impressive performance full of excellent crosses and surging runs down the left flank and he could now be in contention to face Manchester United in the Premier League on Monday.

The standing ovation he received on being substituted spoke for the fans’ appreciation and the applause continued for his replacement, Hector Bellerin, who made his return to first-team action after nine months out with a knee injury and even managed to provide the assist for Willock’s goal.



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