Indeed, Arsenal are the Premier League leaders currently so the task was never going to be easy but after beating Liverpool 1-0 last weekend, the manager would surely have been full of hope that his side would show more resilience, confidence and ambition on their trip to north London.
The Tricky Trees were outplayed on all fronts with only 31% possession of the ball, fewer shots on goal (24 v 5), no big chances created and over 250 fewer accurate passes completed (547 v 204) during the performance away from home.
In the first half, the Gunners found their opener early when Bukayo Saka delivered an assist for Gabriel Martinelli’s fifth-minute goal to make it 1-0 and Forest managed restrict any further damage during the rest of the half.
When the game resumed, there was still an opportunity for Cooper’s side to get back in the game but that was quickly dampened when Reiss Nelson bagged a brace in a matter of just three minutes in the 49th and 52nd minute of the second half.
Although Arsenal had successfully killed the game with their 3-0 lead the scoring, unfortunately, did not stop with both Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard finding the fourth and fifth goals of the game to complete a 5-0 victory in front of a roaring home support.
Former Manchester United attacker Jesse Lingard yet again produced nothing of note, completing just five passes and making 14 touches before he was hooked by the Forest boss in the 56th minute, but he wasn’t the only one to blame for the team’s non-existent attacking threat this afternoon.
Morgan Gibbs-White had what can only be described as a nightmare performance, giving the travelling fans no signs or hope that he had any intention of positively influencing the game.
The 22-year-old liability made just eight accurate passes out of the mere 14 he attempted, took fewer touches than goalkeeper Dean Henderson and lost possession of the ball every 1.9 touches.
That was as well as losing 100% of his ground duels and failing in 100% of his dribble attempts.
Not only that, Gibbs-White narrowly avoided a red card with a reckless and unnecessarily nasty challenge on Granit Xhaka which could have put his team in a lot more trouble if he didn’t get away with just a yellow.
The former Wolves star was one of the most expensive signings of the summer for Forest out of their entire 23 new fleet of players in a deal worth a whopping £42.5m including add-ons. Thus, to put on such a lifeless performance today will be extremely frustrating for Cooper.
With that being said, there are going to need to be big changes and vast improvements made if Nottingham Forest are going to have any chance of retaining their Premier League status by the end of the season and as every fixture passes the reality of the difficulty they are in becomes even more obvious.