Europa League – Footy http://www.footy.to/ Your Daily Football NEws Source Mon, 23 Nov 2020 14:33:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.16 Champions League round-up: Luuk de Jong scores winner as Sevilla beat Rennes http://www.footy.to/2020/11/23/champions-league-round-up-luuk-de-jong-scores-winner-as-sevilla-beat-rennes/ http://www.footy.to/2020/11/23/champions-league-round-up-luuk-de-jong-scores-winner-as-sevilla-beat-rennes/#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2020 14:31:25 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=28789

Champions League round-up: Luuk de Jong scores winner as Sevilla beat Rennes and Pepe Reina helps Lazio secure draw at Bruges 

  • Sevilla are second in Group E with four points, behind Chelsea on goal difference
  • Forward Luuk de Jong broke the deadlock in the 55th minute against Rennes
  • Reina produced a couple of decisive saves to help Lazio to a 1-1 draw at Bruges 

Sevilla picked up their first Champions League win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Rennes on Wednesday after outclassing the French side but managing to convert only one of the numerous clear chances they carved out.

Dutch forward Luuk de Jong broke the deadlock in the 55th minute, after Sevilla had dominated the first half, when he raced to meet a cross from Marcos Acuna and found the net with a sidefooted volley.

Julen Lopetegui’s Europa League holders had a total of 22 shots on goal to the visitors’ two, hitting the target nine times and seeing Joan Jordan rattle the crossbar in the second half.

Sevilla forward Luuk de Jong broke the deadlock in the 55th minute against Rennes

Rennes goalkeeper Alfred Gomis was also on form, parrying a header from De Jong in the second half, an early strike from Lucas Ocampos and tipping a vicious volley from Munir El Haddadi on to the crossbar.

While there was a sense of disbelief that Sevilla could not score more, there was also relief at earning a first win in five matches in all competitions after suffering shock defeats to Eibar and Granada in their last two La Liga outings. 

The Spaniards are second in Group E with four points after two games, level with first-placed Chelsea, while Rennes have one point.

De Jong raced to meet a cross from Marcos Acuna and found the net with a sidefooted volley

De Jong raced to meet a cross from Marcos Acuna and found the net with a sidefooted volley

Veteran goalkeeper Pepe Reina produced a couple of decisive saves to help Lazio to a 1-1 draw at Brugge in their Champions League match on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old Reina was given a starting role in the absence of Thomas Strakosha. With Brugge pushing hard to break the stalemate in the second half, Reina’s pedigree and experience helped keep the visitors afloat. 

Unbeaten in two matches, Bruges and Lazio lead the Group F standings with four points. Third-place Borussia Dortmund beat Zenit St. Petersburg 2-0 in the group’s other match.  

Ferencvaros came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with 10-man Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday and earn the Hungarian club’s first Champions League point in 25 years.

Goalkeeper Pepe Reina produced a couple of decisive saves to help Lazio to a draw at Brugge

Goalkeeper Pepe Reina produced a couple of decisive saves to help Lazio to a draw at Brugge

Dynamo led through a penalty from Viktor Tsygankov and a goal on the counterattack from Uruguayan midfielder Carlos de Pena. Tokmac Nguen brought the Hungarian champion back into the game with a powerful shot which went in off the far post in the 59th minute.

Dynamo lost midfielder and captain Serhiy Sydorchuk when he earned a second yellow card for a clumsy tackle in the 85th. That paved the way for Ferencvaros to level the game five minutes later when substitute Franck Boli knocked in the ball from close range at a free kick.

Group leader Barcelona beat Juventus 2-0 in Wednesday’s other game. Barcelona has six points and Juventus three, while Ferencvaros and Dynamo have one point apiece and are already fighting for third place in Group G and a Europa League spot.

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Arsenal 3-0 Dundalk: Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Nicolas Pepe get on scoresheet in Gunners win http://www.footy.to/2020/11/23/arsenal-3-0-dundalk-eddie-nketiah-joe-willock-and-nicolas-pepe-get-on-scoresheet-in-gunners-win/ http://www.footy.to/2020/11/23/arsenal-3-0-dundalk-eddie-nketiah-joe-willock-and-nicolas-pepe-get-on-scoresheet-in-gunners-win/#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2020 14:22:15 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=28768

Arsenal 3-0 Dundalk: Gunners prove too good for the valiant Irish minnows as Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Nicolas Pepe strike to ease Mikel Arteta’s men to victory at the Emirates

That’s the warm-up done with. Now on to Manchester United.

Mikel Arteta got through an evening at the Emirates Stadium without any drama, defeating Irish minnows Dundalk ahead of the sterner test that awaits them at Old Trafford on Sunday.

There was no need to call on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette as an SOS from the substitutes’ bench because once his team got one goal, the floodgates opened.

Eddie Nketiah scored as Arsenal continued their European form with a 3-0 win over Dundalk

Nketiah (left) broke the deadlock for Arsenal after an error from Dundalk keeper Gary Rogers

Nketiah (left) broke the deadlock for Arsenal after an error from Dundalk keeper Gary Rogers

Joe Willock (left) added a second with a breakaway goal just before the half-time whistle

Joe Willock (left) added a second with a breakaway goal just before the half-time whistle

Nicolas Pepe curled in a third just seconds into the second-half to seal the three points

Nicolas Pepe curled in a third just seconds into the second-half to seal the three points 

There was a special strike by Nicolas Pepe, while Arteta even experimented to the extent that midfielders Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny were his centre-back pairing in the second half.

Arteta’s only real complaint could be that it took them until the 42nd minute to score.

‘You have to react with a win, with this attitude,’ Arteta said of bouncing back from their league loss to Leicester last weekend. ‘Let’s get ready. We go to Old Trafford to try to win again.’

Dundalk can be proud of their first-half efforts. They defended well with two banks of four, and only conceded after an error by goalkeeper Gary Rogers. But there was no fairytale for them here.

It was a difficult evening for Dunalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli - who was allowed in the dugout

It was a difficult evening for Dunalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli – who was allowed in the dugout

They can at least take home the fair play award, because they committed zero fouls here.

‘Too polite,’ their manager Filippo Giovagnoli said when told that statistic afterwards. ‘Our players are gentlemen.’

Dundalk did not think their manager would be allowed in the dugout for this match. Giovagnoli – the 49-year-old Italian head coach who, as of two months ago, had never managed a club – was apparently supposed to sit in the stands because of his lack of UEFA Pro Licence.

Arsenal did not need to use Alex Lacazette (left) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) at all

Arsenal did not need to use Alex Lacazette (left) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) at all 

Perhaps UEFA felt kind, because Giovagnoli was indeed on the touchline, and he liked what he was seeing in the opening exchanges. After 20 minutes, only one team had managed a shot on target, and it wasn’t Arsenal.

Yet it all unravelled for the visitors before the break. In the 42nd minute, Reiss Nelson’s corner asked questions of Gary Rogers. The Dundalk goalkeeper had previously fumbled a header from Sead Kolasinac and this time he miscued his punch, with Eddie Nketiah pouncing.

Two minutes later it was 2-0, with Pepe’s shot deflecting into the path of Joe Willock, who beat Rogers. Finally Arteta could manage a smile.

Mikel Arteta's side have two wins from two in Europe and face Manchester United on Sunday

Mikel Arteta’s side have two wins from two in Europe and face Manchester United on Sunday

Just 31 seconds into the start of the second half, it was 3-0, with Pepe planting a shot into the top-right corner. Sometimes supporters wonder whether he is worth £72million. Then he does something like this – with his weaker foot.

Pepe was replaced by Willian after an hour. This was a good run-out for the 25-year-old winger, regardless of whether it was against inferior opposition. The same goes for Folarin Balogun, the highly-rated academy kid who made his debut.

On whether his fringe players impressed him enough to upset his line-up at Old Trafford, Arteta said: ‘They are always in the frame to play.’ A good win for Arsenal. Now for United. 

See below for the minute-by-minute blog from the Emirates by Sportsmail’s SPENCER MORGAN  



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Steven Gerrard baffled by Alfredo Morelos’ fury at being substituted as Rangers beat Aberdeen http://www.footy.to/2020/11/23/steven-gerrard-baffled-by-alfredo-morelos-fury-at-being-substituted-as-rangers-beat-aberdeen/ http://www.footy.to/2020/11/23/steven-gerrard-baffled-by-alfredo-morelos-fury-at-being-substituted-as-rangers-beat-aberdeen/#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2020 14:11:16 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=28731

‘I can’t work it out’: Steven Gerrard baffled by Alfredo Morelos’ fury at being substituted as Rangers moved 11 points clear of Celtic after win over Aberdeen

  • Steven Gerrard has been left baffled by Alfredo Morelos’ reaction on Sunday 
  • The Colombian was substituted midway through Rangers’ win over Aberdeen 
  • Morelos was seen throwing his gloves to the floor in a display of fury
  • Gerrard could not understand the reaction from his maverick centre forward 

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard savoured some ‘incredible’ football in a 4-0 win over Aberdeen and was flummoxed as to why Alfredo Morelos did not share his joy.

The Colombia international threw his gloves off in frustration after being replaced by Jermain Defoe midway through the second half as Rangers moved 11 points clear in the Scottish Premiership.

Goals from Ryan Kent, Kemar Roofe, Scott Arfield and a James Tavernier penalty had Gers out of sight before the 53rd minute and Morelos was taken off with Thursday’s Europa League clash against Benfica in mind. But he did not look happy to be substituted.

Steven Gerrard was left baffled by Alfredo Morelos’ reaction to being substituted on Sunday

The maverick striker was seen throwing off his gloves after being replaced by Jermain Defoe

The maverick striker was seen throwing off his gloves after being replaced by Jermain Defoe

‘Does he ever?’ Gerrard said. ‘I can’t work it out. We’re 4-0 up, he’s played well, his team-mate is about to come on, we’ve got a big game on Thursday.

‘I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Alfredo why he was a bit sad. I wasn’t sad, I was very happy.’

Gerrard added: ‘I’m very pleased that we kept our level for 90 minutes. We could have scored even more goals, another clean sheet as well so there were a lot of positives.

‘With the international break, you have players here, there and everywhere. As a manager, you are wondering whether the rhythm of your team is going to be affected but we came out of the blocks really strong.

The Colombian was withdrawn with the European clash with Benfica on Thursday in mind

The Colombian was withdrawn with the European clash with Benfica on Thursday in mind

‘We played some incredible stuff again. Some of our movement in the final third was exceptional. We are showing that relentlessness and really executing when we get in the right places.

‘We were strong from start to finish and I managed to make five changes and look after people who have been doing a lot of travel. As far as I’m concerned, I’m extremely happy.’

Rangers extended their lead over Celtic following the champions’ draw with Hibernian on Saturday.

Rangers earned a comfortable win over Aberdeen to move 11 points clear at the top of the table

Rangers earned a comfortable win over Aberdeen to move 11 points clear at the top of the table

‘I look at the league table every time we play,’ Gerrard said. ‘I’m not going to deny that. But I’ve never known a manager to get carried away in November.

‘There is a lot of football to be played, a lot of challenges, a lot of big hurdles to get over. But I won’t deny I’m happy. I’d much rather be where we are of course. But stay humble.’

Aberdeen were missing eight players after Connor McLennan and Lewis Ferguson were instructed to self-isolate following a positive coronavirus test for Dons and Scotland Under-21 team-mate Ross McCrorie. 

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Sevilla defender Jules Kounde reveals phone call with Pep Guardiola about summer move to Man City http://www.footy.to/2020/11/23/sevilla-defender-jules-kounde-reveals-phone-call-with-pep-guardiola-about-summer-move-to-man-city/ http://www.footy.to/2020/11/23/sevilla-defender-jules-kounde-reveals-phone-call-with-pep-guardiola-about-summer-move-to-man-city/#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2020 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=28698

Sevilla defender Jules Kounde reveals Pep Guardiola called him up about a move to Manchester City and gave ‘guarantees’ he would play… but then bought £65m Ruben Dias from Benfica

  • French defender Jules Kounde has lifted the lid on talks with Manchester City 
  • The Sevilla centre-back became a key target for the Etihad side this summer 
  • Kounde said he spoke to boss Pep Guardiola and was interested in the move
  • The deal failed to go through as City signed Ruben Dias for £65m instead  

Sevilla defender Jules Kounde has reflected on his failed move to Manchester City this summer, revealing he had spoken with manager Pep Guardiola on the phone before the deal fell through. 

City had made Kounde a top target as they sought out a new centre-back following some defensive struggles, with the 22-year-old flourishing for the LaLiga side and helping them win the Europa League last season.

The Frenchman admitted he was interested in a move to the Etihad and was even promised he would get regular first team football by the Spaniard before club officials ended up signing Ruben Dias in a club-record £65million deal from Benfica.

Jules Kounde has spoken out about his phone call with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola 

He said the Spaniard offered him regular first team football but the move failed to materialise

He said the Spaniard offered him regular first team football but the move failed to materialise

‘Yes, I spoke with Pep Guardiola. He had him on the telephone,’ he told Canal Football Club, via Goal.

‘We spoke in Spanish. Everything went well. I was interested in going there and I had guarantees that I would play. But it didn’t happen.’ 

Kounde has insisted he is happy to remain and is now setting his sights on a spot in Didier Deschamps’ France squad for Euro 2020 next summer. He is yet to pick up a senior cap for Les Bleus but has featured at Under 20 and Under 21 level.

Guardiola ended up signing centre-back Ruben Dias in a club-record £65million move

Guardiola ended up signing centre-back Ruben Dias in a club-record £65million move

‘My objective is the European Championships. That was the case last year before the tournament had to be postponed.

‘It’s something that drives me. It’s something I’m going to fight for. It’s something that is going to guide me every day.’

Kounde started his career with Bordeaux having joined the French outfit as a teenager and played a total of 70 times for his boyhood side after making his debut in 2017. 

Last summer Sevilla came calling as they snapped him up for around £22m and he quickly became an important member of the side as he featured 43 times – scoring two goals.

Kounde is happy to be staying with Sevilla and is now targeting a place in France's Euro squad

Kounde is happy to be staying with Sevilla and is now targeting a place in France’s Euro squad 

He previously said he was flattered by interest from City but was ‘calm’ to have stayed in Seville. 

‘The interest of a club like City is always a good thing, but I’m at Sevilla and I’m very calm,’ Kounde told Sevilla FC TV last month.

‘I’m lucky to be at a club that competes at a very good level. We have a fantastic group of players and people.’

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Dundalk boss heaps praise on his players after not committing a single foul in Arsenal loss http://www.footy.to/2020/11/22/dundalk-boss-heaps-praise-on-his-players-after-not-committing-a-single-foul-in-arsenal-loss/ http://www.footy.to/2020/11/22/dundalk-boss-heaps-praise-on-his-players-after-not-committing-a-single-foul-in-arsenal-loss/#respond Sun, 22 Nov 2020 16:37:19 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=28674

‘Our team is so polite. They’re such gentlemen’: Dundalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli heaps praise on his players as they become first side in Europa League history not to commit a single foul in their defeat at Arsenal

  • Dundalk did not concede a single foul in their 3-0 defeat to Arsenal on Thursday 
  • The Irish side became the first team in Europa League history to achieve this 
  • Filippo Giovagnoli praised his side’s perfect conduct at the Emirates Stadium
  • The Italian boss maintains that his side still fought to try and win in north London 

Dundalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli praised his side’s gentlemanly conduct at Arsenal as the Irish side became the first team to not concede a foul in a Europa League match.

The Lilywhites were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by the Gunners on Thursday night thanks to goals from Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Nicolas Pepe but had an impeccable disciplinary record at the Emirates Stadium clash.

Italian interim boss Giovagnoli maintained that his side still fought hard during the game but chose not to use brute force to stop Arsenal from attacking them.

Filippo Giovagnoli described his team as ‘polite’ and ‘gentlemen’ in their 3-0 loss to Arsenal

The Irish side became the first team in Europa League history not to concede a foul in a match

The Irish side became the first team in Europa League history not to concede a foul in a match

The Dundalk manager said after the game: ‘Our team is so polite. They’re such gentlemen. 

‘They work hard and fight hard but won’t use other things to stop the opponent.’ 

The Irish side, who suffered their second Europa League defeat of the season on Thursday night, managed to hold the Gunners’ attack off for 42 minutes but a goalkeeping error from Gary Rogers at a defensive corner allowed Nketiah to prod home.

The Gunners won with goals from Eddie Nketiah (left), Joe Willock (right) and Nicolas Pepe

The Gunners won with goals from Eddie Nketiah (left), Joe Willock (right) and Nicolas Pepe

Two minutes later, Arsenal doubled their advantage towards the end of the half as Willock finished a quick breakaway move from the Gunners by scoring high into the Dundalk net.

Just seconds into the second-half, Pepe scored a fine curling effort into the top corner with his weaker right-foot to secure the match and the points for Mikel Arteta’s side. 

Giovagnoli was nearly not allowed to sit on the touchline at the Emirates Stadium due to not having the right UEFA coaching badges, but Europe’s governing body granted the Italian permission to sit on the Dundalk bench in north London.

Giovagnoli (right) maintains his side still fought hard against Arsenal despite the lack of fouls

Giovagnoli (right) maintains his side still fought hard against Arsenal despite the lack of fouls

Before August, the Italian had never coached an adult team and was working as the director of coaching at the Metropolitan Oval Academy in the New York borough of Queens when he was surprisingly given the job for one of Ireland’s biggest teams. 

Speaking to Sportsmail before the Arsenal match Giovagnoli said: ‘They were looking for something outside the box. Somebody strong to come and see the team with different eyes. 

‘The players appreciate the way we are judging them by what they do on the field and nothing else. I hope our story can be an example for everyone.’



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Europa League round-up: AC Milan cruise past Sparta Prague despite a missed penalty http://www.footy.to/2020/11/22/europa-league-round-up-ac-milan-cruise-past-sparta-prague-despite-a-missed-penalty/ http://www.footy.to/2020/11/22/europa-league-round-up-ac-milan-cruise-past-sparta-prague-despite-a-missed-penalty/#respond Sun, 22 Nov 2020 16:27:04 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=28653

Europa League round-up: AC Milan cruise past Sparta Prague despite a missed penalty from Zlatan Ibrahimovic as Napoli claim first win of campaign away at Real Sociedad

  • AC Milan beat Sparta Prague 3-0 for their second straight win in the competition
  • Napoli recovered from their home loss with a 1-0 away victory at Real Sociedad
  • Benfica claimed their second straight victory by beating Standard Liege 3-0
  • Hoffenheim and Wolfsberg also secured wins during Thursday night’s football
  • LASK defeated Ludogorets and Wolfsberg kept their perfect record in Group K 

AC Milan cruised past Sparta Prague 3-0 for their second straight win in the Europa League on Thursday.

Milan easily overcame a missed penalty by Zlatan Ibrahimovic to remain unbeaten in 23 games in all competitions, dating back to last season.

Ibrahimovic didn’t score but made his presence felt in the first 45 minutes of the game in Group H. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty for AC Milan, hitting the crossbar in the 36th minute

The 39-year-old veteran crossed for Brahim Diaz from the right to net the opening goal with a shot between the legs of Sparta goalkeeper Milan Heca in the 24th minute.

Ibrahimovic, who contracted the coronavirus last month but has scored four goals in three matches since his return, wasted a golden opportunity to add another later in the first half.

After he was fouled in the area, Ibrahimovic hit the crossbar from the penalty spot in the 36th minute.

He was replaced by Rafael Leao for the second half, and the substitute made it 2-0 from close range after he was set up by a precise cross from Diogo Dalot.

But they still cruised past Sparta Prague 3-0 in their second straight win in the Europa League

But they still cruised past Sparta Prague 3-0 in their second straight win in the Europa League

Dalot added the third and final goal for Milan after completing a solo run in the 67th minute.

After AZ Alkmaar overcame a slew of coronavirus cases to upset Napoli 1-0 last week, the Dutch side earned a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Rijeka in Group F on Thursday.

Albert Gudmundsson scored two goals for Alkmaar – finding the net in each half of the game.

AZ Alkmaar earned a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Rijeka in Group F in the Europa League

AZ Alkmaar earned a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Rijeka in Group F in the Europa League

Napoli recovered from their home loss with a 1-0 away win at Real Sociedad on Thursday

Napoli recovered from their home loss with a 1-0 away win at Real Sociedad on Thursday

Napoli recovered from their home loss with a 1-0 away win at Real Sociedad, ending a four-game winning streak for the hosts.

Piotr Zielinski and Elif Elmas were back in the Napoli squad for the first time in almost a month after the midfielders tested positive for the coronavirus.

A minute of silence was held ahead of the game between Nice and Hapoel Beer Sheva to honour the three victims of a knife attack in the French city earlier Thursday. The players from both teams wore black armbands during the game, which the hosts won 1-0.

Meanwhile, Benfica claimed their second straight victory by beating Standard Liege 3-0

Meanwhile, Benfica claimed their second straight victory by beating Standard Liege 3-0 

Benfica earned their second straight victory by beating Standard Liege 3-0, with Luca Waldschmidt converting a penalty in the second half. 

Hoffenheim overcame several coronavirus cases to beat Gent 4-1 away in Group L.

Red Star Belgrade outplayed Czech club Liberec 5-1, and Wolfsberg dominated Feyenoord 4-1 – with Michael Liendl scoring a hat trick. His first two goals came from penalties.     

Also in Group J, LASK defeated Ludogorets 4-3 in a competitive game that saw Lukas Grgic sent off in the 73rd minute.

Meanwhile in Group I, Villarreal went a goal down at Qarabag in the 78th minute before coming back for a 3-1 victory. 

Hoffenheim and Wolfsberg also cruised to big away wins in their Europa League matches

Hoffenheim and Wolfsberg also cruised to big away wins in their Europa League matches

Group I also saw Maccabi Tel-Aviv win 2-1 away at Sivasspor.  

Group K provided a closely contested match between CSKA Moscow and Dinamo Zagreb – ending 0-0.  

AS Roma were another team that finished the night with a draw as they were held to a 0-0 result by CSKA Sofia in Group A. Cluj also drew 1-1 with Young Boys Bern. 

PSV won 2-1 at Omonoia after Donyell Malen scored his second goal in injury time in Group E, where Granada was held 0-0 by PAOK.

Rangers defeated Lech 1-0, joining Benfica at the top of Group D. 

While Steven Gerrard's Rangers side Rangers defeated Lech 1-0, joining Benfica atop Group D

While Steven Gerrard’s Rangers side Rangers defeated Lech 1-0, joining Benfica atop Group D

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Nicolas Pepe scores wonder goal in Arsenal’s win over Dundalk ahead of big season under Mikel Arteta http://www.footy.to/2020/11/22/nicolas-pepe-scores-wonder-goal-in-arsenals-win-over-dundalk-ahead-of-big-season-under-mikel-arteta/ http://www.footy.to/2020/11/22/nicolas-pepe-scores-wonder-goal-in-arsenals-win-over-dundalk-ahead-of-big-season-under-mikel-arteta/#respond Sun, 22 Nov 2020 16:17:43 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=28626

‘He is gonna be unplayable! It’s a mad goal!’: Arsenal fans back £72m man Nicolas Pepe to kick-start Gunners career after stunning strike in Europa League win over Dundalk

  • Nicolas Pepe netted a super strike in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Dundalk on Thursday
  • The winger rolled the ball under his foot before curling in a right-footed peach 
  • Pepe appears to be hitting a purple patch this season under boss Mikel Arteta
  • The Gunners manager has backed the Ivorian to become a top player at Arsenal 

Nicolas Pepe scored a wonderful curling effort to seal a 3-0 Europa League win for Arsenal against Dundalk on Thursday, leaving both Mikel Arteta and the Gunners supporters impressed.

In the opening moments of the second half, the Ivorian winger scored the Gunners’ final goal of the night by rolling the ball under his foot on the edge of the area before firing in a superb strike with his weaker right foot into the top corner of the goal

Arsenal boss Arteta was full of praise for the 25-year-old’s stunning strike after the game which was Pepe’s second goal in three home games in north London. 

Nicolas Pepe scored a wonderful goal as Arsenal beat Dundalk 3-0 in the Europa League

The Ivorian rolled his foot over the ball before curling in a fine right-footed effort on Thursday

The Ivorian rolled his foot over the ball before curling in a fine right-footed effort on Thursday

The Spanish manager told BT Sport: ‘It was (a beautiful goal) – on his right foot as well, which was strange. But it was a great goal.’ 

And Arsenal fans also enjoyed the strike and took to social media to praise the 25-year-old for his wonderful effort.

One Gunners fan tweeted: ‘When Pepe hits his full potential he is gonna be unplayable! It’s a mad goal!’

Another said: ‘Didn’t realise how good Nicolas Pepe’s goal was until I watched it in slow motion’.

Meanwhile, one fan put a negative spin on the goal, claiming : ‘Such a frustrating player. He’s always got this in his locker but we don’t see it often enough!’ 

Pepe has had a mixed opening 15 months at Arsenal following his club record £72million move from Lille. The winger has been in-and-out of the Gunners starting line-up since his arrival but has often shown glimpses of quality that justifies his heft transfer. 

 After a mixed reception from former boss Unai Emery, who claimed in an interview earlier this year that Pepe was not his first-choice transfer option at Arsenal, new boss Arteta has given the player a chance to become an Arsenal great.

Speaking in September about Pepe’s potential at Arsenal, the current Arsenal manager said: ‘I think he’s come a long way. We know what the club paid for him when he joined and that was obviously an extra pressure but he’s a player who’s had to adapt, it’s a different style.

Mikel Arteta (right) praised Pepe (left)'s goal, having backed the winger to do well at the club

Mikel Arteta (right) praised Pepe (left)’s goal, having backed the winger to do well at the club

‘He has a really good attitude. We can see he has developed in a lot of phases of his game.

‘He’s very settled here, he’s liked by the boys, he is a really good character to have around and I’m very positive that we’re going to have him for many years and that he can perform at a really high level consistently.’

Pepe’s goal against Dundalk was his second of the season, his first coming in the 2-1 victory over Sheffield United at the start of the month. 

It was also his tenth goal for the club since arriving at the Emirates Stadium in August 2019, with that landmark coming in his 52nd Arsenal appearance in all competitions.  



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