Arsenal 4-1 Molde: Gunners keep up perfect Europa League record as Mikel Arteta’s side see off Norwegian minnows thanks to TWO own goals and Nicolas Pepe and Joe Willock strikes
- Arsenal have extended their perfect start to the Europa League with a 4-1 win over Molde on Thursday
- The Norwegian minnows took a shock lead thanks to a wonderful long-range effort from Martin Ellingsen
- Arsenal levelled before half time as Kristoffer Haugen put the ball in his own net after a great counter attack
- The Gunners took the lead on the hour mark after another own goal from Molde substitute Sheriff Sinyan
- Mikel Arteta’s side made their dominance count as Nicolas Pepe and Joe Willock put the result beyond doubt
Fireworks going off around the Emirates provided the backdrop though there was little of the sort from Arsenal.
Fortunately, they did not need them to secure a third successive Europa League win to seize control of Group B.
Instead it was two own goals from generous visitors Molde that helped Arsenal recover from going behind before Nicolas Pepe wrapped up all three points.
This was something of a comedown for Arsenal against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s former side after the high of winning at the Norwegian’s current club Manchester United on Sunday.
Arsenal have extended their perfect start to the Europa League campaign with a 4-1 win over Molde in Group B on Thursday
Second half strikes from Joe Willock and Nicolas Pepe put the result beyond doubt as the Gunners put in a strong second half
The young striker celebrates after notching a much-deserved goal in as Mikel Arteta’s side made it three wins from three
Mikel Arteta appeared far from pleased with his side’s first-half performance but they put in a far better display in the second
ARSENAL (3-4-3): Leno 6; Mustafi 6, Luiz 7, Xhaka 6; Maitland-Niles 6 (Cedric 63, 6), Ceballos 7, Willock 7, Kolasinac 6; Pepe 6, Nketiah 6.5, Willian 6 (Saka 63, 6).
Subs not used: Runarsson, Macey, Bellerin, Tierney, Gabriel, Saka, Lacazette, Aubmeyang, Holding, Cedric, Partey, Elneny.
Booked: Luiz, Saka
Scorer/s: Haugen (og) 46, Sinyan (og) 62, Pepe 69
Manager: Mikel Arteta 7
Referee: Halil Meler 6
Though ultimately it was job done and Arsenal put one foot in the knockout stages by overcoming the other side who started in their group who started the night on maximum points.
Molde barely got out of their half in and the first 15 minutes and they were fortunate not to find themselves behind too.
Eddie Nketiah was inches away from getting a meaningful touch on Joe Willock’s whipped cross.
Martin Bjornbak then slid in on the line to ensure the striker’s effort went behind after Nketiah latched onto Nicolas Pepe’s pass and squeezed a shot past goalkeeper Andreas Linde.
Out of the blue, though, Martin Ellingsen curled Molde into the lead. It was a brilliant finish from the midfielder but another Europa League goal that left Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno in the spotlight.
His playing out from the back cost Arsenal one goal and almost two more in their Europa League opener in at Rapid Vienna.
Last night he at least booted the ball well out of danger to halfway after taking his time to make up his mind.
But Leno was still scampering back into position by the time Molde had regained possession and worked the ball to Ellingsen and got back that split-second too late to stop the midfielder’s shot finding his bottom corner.
Arsenal’s response was initially non-existent and home frustration grew. ‘What is this?’ Arteta screamed at referee Halil Meler when Willian was denied a seemingly clear free-kick.
His annoyance grew further when Nketiah had a goal incorrectly goal ruled out for offside though the nearby Willock was behind the last defender.
Had their been VAR in the group phase the decision may have been overturned but the technology will not come into play until the knockout phase.
Martin Ellingsen gave the Norwegian underdogs a surprise early lead with a superb long range strike that beat Bernd Leno
The midfielder wheels away in celebration after breaking the deadlock with a sublime effort at the Emirates Stadium
Just moments later Arsenal got the equaliser they were after, as Molde defender Kristoffer Haugen put the ball in his own net
Arsenal striker Joe Willock watches on as the ball trickles in the back of the net as the Gunners drew level before the break
The Gunners took the lead on the hour mark as half time substitute Sheriff Sinyan put the ball in the back of his own net
Nicolas Pepe’s long-range strike put the final result beyond doubt as the Gunners turned in a strong second-half performance
Kristoffer Haugen’s own goal on the stroke of half-time would have improved Arteta’s mood, if only slightly.
Sead Kolasinac should have put Arsenal ahead but spooned the ball over an empty net after Linde flapped a cross into the Bosnian’s path.
In mitigation for the left-back,the ball did fall to Kolasinac’s weaker right foot.
The Ivorian celebrates with assist-provider Bukayo Saka as Mikel Arteta’s side made it three wins from three games in Group B
Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka looks to cajole his team-mates as the Premier League side mustered a fightback on Thursday
David Luiz harries Molde attacked Mathis Bolly as the Gunners turned the screw on the visitors in a dominant second half
Arsenal continued to push and their dominance finally paid off just after the hour.
Granit Xhaka and Willock combined and from the latter’s cross half-time Molde sub Sheriff Sinyan could only turn the ball into his own net.
Pepe then had a volley saved by Linde but then made no mistake when he fired in substitute Bukayo Saka’s cut back to seal the game.
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