All the negativity built up over the last eleven days was unblocked in a clinical way with Aubameyang (3), Lacazette, Pepe and Saka on the scoresheet.
Admittedly it was West Brom’s under-23 side with eleven changes from their last Championship match, but this was a banana skin in the making. West Brom’s youngsters were keen, pressed from the front and went in hard with challenges. Arsenal relegated West Brom last season in their previous match.
There were seven changes to the Arsenal team. Ramsdale came in for his first start, Tavares, Chambers, Holding, Kolasinac formed the back four with Elneny and Xhaka in midfield, Odergaard, Saka and Pepe the front three, with Aubameyang up front. It was a team valued at £261m.
Arsenal’s previous second round tie in this competition was in 1995 under Bruce Rioch – with Merson and Wright up front.
Saka showed his versatility with perceptive through balls. Xhaka tided up well.
Castro went in dangerously on Odergaard and got a yellow in the first two minutes and Ramsdale was put under pressure by Zahore.
There were some loose passes in the first 10. Ramsdale got down well to a bouncing shot and Reach saw a left foot shot from a corner past the post.
Kipre stamped on Tavares’ leg and got away with it.
Castro missed a clearance and Saka shot hard. Palmer palmed it out, but Aubameyang was thinking ahead of the central defenders and tapped in the rebound.
Saka broke in from the left and via a deflection came to Odergaard who from a tight angle hit the post.
Elneny sent a through ball breaking the West Brom high line and Pepe driving forward hit the post when he should have scored – but again Aubameyang was alert and tapped in the rebound.
Saka sent Aubameyang away brilliantly his lifted lob was deflected by Palmer and his overhead from the rebound was miscued to Pepe who tapped it home.
Saka took it ran at the West Brom defence and took a clever reverse pass from Odergaard ran on and sent it past Palmer.
Ramsdale made a couple of routine saves before landing heavily taking a cross.
On 60, Odergaard came off for Maitland Niles.
Pepe broke up a West Brom attack and passed to Maitland Niles who sent it wide to Aubameyang who made a trademark finish cutting in from the left and curling it in for his hat-trick. His third in Arsenal colours.
Lacazette came on for Xhaka. And set up Pepe to run on goal but hit the crossbar. But he made up for it by running down the right finding Lacazette running in to finish dramatically into the corner.
Aubameyang said: “It is a strange feeling. Happy we won the game. It is good for confidence. We had a tough start. Commitment is 100%. We want to give fans what they want – winning games. This is something to build our confidence for the next games.”
It is hard to imagine Aubameyang and Lacazette leaving Arsenal this season, despite the rumours, after this performance.
Carabou Cup Second round: West Brom 0 Arsenal 6
West Brom: 36Palmer, 31Shotton, 21Kipré, 33Taylor (Substituted for Richards 82), 34Ingram, 32De Castro (Booked at 2mins), 23Snodgrass (substituted for King 74), 20Reach, 41Fellows, 9Zohore (Substituted for Faal 64), 29Gardner-Hickman
Arsenal: 2Ramsdale, 21Chambers, 16Holding (Booked at 27mins), 31Kolasinac (Booked at 39mins), 20Tavares, 25Elneny, 34Xhaka (Substituted for Lacazette at 67’minutes), 19Pépé, 8Ødegaard (Substituted for Maitland-Niles at 61’minutes), 7Saka, 14Aubameyang (Substituted for Martinelli at 76’minutes)