Arsenal bounced back from the disappointing goalless draw against Middlesbrough with a 2-0 win over Reading in the fourth round of the EFL Cup. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the main man for the Gunners, scoring both goals in an it-was-never-in-doubt victory.
Coming off a frustrating result in the Premier League and a largely uneventful AGM, Arsene Wenger expectedly made plenty of changes to his lineup, and it was Oxlade-Chamberlain who took his chance to impress.
The winger opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, before finishing the game off in the 78th, courtesy a strike from distance.
"Sometimes you felt like he didn't deserve to score when he was in front of goal before," Wenger said of Oxlade-Chamberlain. "Now, I think he has added some belief to his finishing. Now we have hope that whenever he has the ball, something can happen.
"He's powerful but he also finishes well and he's added that to his game. That's certainly linked with confidence, hard work in training, and he looks to be following Theo Walcott in that way."
The opening goal was typical Oxlade-Chamberlain added with that improved finishing. The Englishman drove at pace into the box and with a shot opening up on an angle, he took it, with the ball flying low and hard across goal and into the back of the net.
Oxlade-Chamberlain's second had a bit more fortune attached to it, even if it was, again, well taken. Rob Holding made a nice run from the right and squared to Olivier Giroud, back from injury, inside the box. The ball eventually fell to the Arsenal winger just outside the penalty box and there was no hesitation in taking the shot, which went in off a deflection from Reading's Jordan Obita.
Overall, it was a solid performance from Arsenal, one that gave the fringe players a good run-out and provided more experience to the youngsters.
"It was a dynamic game between two teams who tried to play passing football and build up the game from the back," Wenger said. "For me, it was also good to see some young players who practise every day with a top team, and also give them a chance with the other players who needed competition.
"It was positive. It was an interesting game which we were able to win in a comfortable way in the second half."