Arsenal continued their perfect record in the Europa League and moved three points clear at the summit of group B, as they came from a goal behind to beat Molde 4-1 at the Emirates.
Nicolas Pepe and Joe Willock starred for Arsenal as they both got on the score-sheet late on, after two own goals from the Norwegian team either side of half-time.
Both teams came into the game unbeaten in the Europa League, with Arsenal convincingly beating Dundalk 3-0 last time out while Molde narrowly defeated Rapid Vienna 1-0 at home.
The hosts found themselves trailing in the 22nd minute as Martin Ellingsen’s long-range strike gave the visitors an unexpected lead in North London.
Molde’s stubborn and organised defensive structure frustrated the home side for much of the first-half, as they struggled to create clear-cut opportunities.
However, Mikel Arteta’s side upped the intensity and got their reward in stoppage time of the half, when their lightning break ended with Kristoffer Haugen putting the ball into his own net.
Heading into the break, the sides were level, with top spot in the group all to play for in the second 45 minutes.
The second-half started in the same vein as the previous one, as the onus was put on Arsenal to take the game to Molde who were beginning to look tired.
As the visitors sat deeper, the pressure continued to build and eventually told when substitute Sheriff Sinyan turned it into his own net following Willock’s cross, giving Arsenal the lead.
Record signing, Pepe, put the game out of sight when he smartly finished Bukayo Saka’s cut-back with a curling first time effort from the edge of the box.
Then in the 88th minute, Joe Willock’s energetic display was rewarded when he showed his willingness to get on the end of Pepe’s pass into the box, finishing empathically into the roof of the net to round off another impressive performance.
In the post-match press conference, Mikel Arteta was delighted with his sides showing, as he said: “It was really important for us to win tonight and go top of the group. We had a convincing victory and the boys tried to go for them from the first minute.”
He also commented on Joe Willock as the youngster as he was awarded man of the match: “He could’ve scored more. All the time he was in goal-scoring situations. He created a few goals as well. He had a really good performance.”
Arsenal are now in pole position in group B, as last night’s triumph made it three wins from three in the Europa League, giving them an excellent chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.
Bernd Leno – 6
Maitland-Niles – 7
Mustafi – 6
Luiz – 7
Kolasinac – 5
Ceballos – 7
Xhaka – 6
Willian – 7
Willock – 8
Pepe – 7
Nketiah – 6
Soares – 6
Saka – 7
Elneny – 7
Tierney – 6
Man of the Match: Joe Willock
I’m a 20 year-old Arsenal fanatic and aspiring Sports Journalist, who will be studying how to write about the Beautiful Game at Solent University from September in an attempt to make my dream into a reality.
Since the age of 8 I have played academy football, but unfortunately it didn’t quite work out – therefore I decided to pursue the next best career for me.
I am aiming to write honest and interesting articles about the club I love, and to share my opinion (one from the younger generation of Arsenal supporters) with as many other fans as possible!