If it was an indignity for Arsenal to enter the Carabao Cup at this early stage because of their absence from European competition, they booked their passage to the next round by showing true class. Against a Championship club’s reserves, admittedly, but this was a demonstration from which Mikel Arteta and his team can take heart. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick on his first start of the season, and Nicolas Pépé, Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette also netted in a match in which the visitors threatened to score nearly every time they attacked. Now all they have to do is play like this regularly. Then trust will grow in Arsenal’s players and Arteta’s process.

The last time Arteta took his team to the Hawthorns, for January’s Premier League meeting, the stadium was engulfed in a snow storm but the forecast seemed bright for the manager. “Everything looks much better,” declared Arteta after his side’s 4-0 win that night. “Now we have got some discipline back, we look more creative and we look solid at the back.” Over eight months later gloominess had enveloped Arsenal anew and criticism rained down on Arteta. He needed a win.

Related: Mikel Arteta admits turning Arsenal’s form around will ‘take some time’

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