Arsenal moved into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup as Theo Walcott’s first-half goal saw off League One Doncaster Rovers at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners, who made 11 changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, hit the crossbar early on through Olivier Giroud’s overhead kick. But Walcott put the hosts ahead when he collected Alexis Sanchez’s cross-field pass and dinked a shot over Ian Lawlor. Doncaster’s Matty Blair headed against the bar late on, but Arsenal advanced.
Arsene Wenger’s side dominated throughout with 27 attempts, with Giroud heading over from Mohamed Elneny’s cross and Walcott having a shot pushed over by Lawlor. Doncaster, who are 19th in League One, came close to forcing extra time but Blair’s header from Liam Mandeville’s right-wing corner bounced off the bar. Although they made 11 changes, the Arsenal starting XI was still strong with Per Mertesacker, Jack Wilshere, Giroud, Sanchez and Walcott all beginning the match. Seventeen-year-old Reiss Nelson made his first start for the Gunners, before 18-year-olds Josh da Silva and Joe Willock made their first Arsenal appearances in the second half. Doncaster were the lowest ranked team left in the competition and manager Darren Ferguson, son of former Manchester United boss Alex, can be proud of his side’s dogged performance.
Arsenal have never won the League Cup during Arsene Wenger’s 21 years at the club, but have lost in the final on two occasions – in 2007 and 2011.