Alexandre Lacazette pleased as Arsenal fringe players shine to see off Wimbledon in Carabao Cup

Alexandre Lacazette praised the performance of a much-changed Arsenal side as they saw off AFC Wimbledon to reach the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.

The Gunners made 10 alterations for the fixture, with Lacazette opening the scoring from the penalty spot in a 3-0 win which sets up a home tie against Leeds in round four.

Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah wrapped up the victory late on, with Mikel Arteta expected to once again make wholesale changes for Sunday’s Premier League north London derby at home to Tottenham.

But Lacazette, who has played just 29 minutes of league football so far this season, feels those players who were drafted in for the Wimbledon game did what they could to put themselves in the frame next time out.

“I think everyone played well,” he said. “All the players needed some minutes because we don’t have many games this season so you see when we have a game like this we just want to perform well and to enjoy it on the pitch together.”

A large crowd cheered Arsenal to a third successive victory in all competitions as they continue to recover from a difficult start to the season.

Lacazette wants to enjoy a cup run as he hailed the support on Wednesday night, adding: “Honestly, I was surprised to see that many fans tonight for the game.

“We missed them a lot during the pandemic so now that they are here, we have to give back the confidence that they give us.

“We want to go as far as possible in this competition and want to win this kind of game. We have to make it easy and I think we should have done that earlier but at the end we have to say that they played well.”

Wimbledon defender Ben Heneghan felt the visitors played well in parts at the Emirates Stadium but admitted they discovered the difference between top-tier opposition and those they are challenging for League One promotion this season.

“We are obviously disappointed but when you’re playing against a class side like that it is going to be a tough night, we knew it would be,” he told the club’s official website.

“We just wanted to express ourselves and we did in some parts but then obviously we didn’t create as many chances as we would like but we were playing against top opposition.

“We’ve got an expectation of ourselves. I feel like first-half we didn’t challenge enough. The lads will have enjoyed that experience, it’s an eye-opener of the levels, the difference and now we’ve just got to take our focus back to Saturday in the league.”

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