Returning duo Holding and Bellerin – who have both been sidelined with serious knee injuries – stole the headlines with significant contributions on a memorable night at the Emirates and summer signing Kieran Tierney also impressed on his debut for the club.
Gabriel Martinelli headed home Calum Chambers drilled cross to break the deadlock in the 31st minute and Forest managed to keep Arsenal at bay for the remainder of the first half.
However, Holding headed past Forest goalkeeper Arijanet Muric with 20 minutes remaining and the floodgates opened. Shortly after the defenders goal, Bellerin was introduced and made an immediate impact to assist Joe Willock from the right flank.
Reiss Nelson found the net from close range as Forest begged for the final whistle and Martinelli completed his brace at the death to seal a convincing win.
Asked about Holdings return, Emery said: It is perfect to have more options at centre back.
His spirit, his positive minutes. Every day in training he helps us to have more performances like a team.
He needed to take minutes and confidence. It was a perfect match. He was a little tired at the end, hes happy.
Holding took over the captains armband from Mesut Ozil shortly before his goal and the defender was understandably delighted to help Arsenal into the next round on his return.
I was over the moon when I was told I was vice-captain, he told Sky Sports.
When Mesut came off and passed the armband over I was so happy with that.