Arsenal 4-1 Molde: Gunners make it three wins from three in Europe despite early scare

Report as Arsenal make it three wins from three in Europe; Gunners move three points clear of Molde at the top of Group B; Martin Ellingsen gave Molde early lead but two own goals and efforts from Nicolas Pepe and Joe Willock secure victory for Arsenal

Thursday 5 November 2020 22:36, UK

Arsenal overcame an early scare to continue their perfect start in the Europa League with a 4-1 victory over Norwegian side Molde at the Emirates Stadium.

Martin Ellingsen’s long-range effort gave the visitors a shock lead in the 22nd minute, but Arsenal, after a rather disjointed first-half performance, were back on level terms just before the break thanks to Kristoffer Haugen’s own goal (45+1).

The turnaround was complete in the 62nd minute as substitute Sheriff Sinyan also turned into his own net, before Nicolas Pepe (69) and Joe Willock (88) added the gloss to the scoreline for Mikel Arteta’s side.

It’s three wins from three in Europe now for the Gunners, who move three points clear of Molde at the top of Group B as they race towards qualification for the knockout rounds.

  • How the teams lined up | Match stats
  • Europa League news | Results | Fixtures | Tables

Player ratings

Arsenal: : Leno (5), Maitland-Niles (6), Mustafi (7), Luiz (7), Kolasinac (6), Ceballos (7), Xhaka (7), Willian (7), Willock (8), Pepe (7), Nketiah (7).

Subs: Soares (6), Saka (7), Tierney (n/a), Elneny (n/a).

Molde: Linde (6), Wingo (7), Bjornbak (7), Gregersen (7), Haugen (6), Aursnes (6), Eikrem (7), Hussain (6), Elllingsen (7), Omoijuanfo (6), Bolly (6).

Subs: Sinyan (5), Knudtzon (6), James (6), Brynhildsen (6), Mostrom (n/a).

Man of the match: Joe Willock

How Arsenal ran away with victory…

After a slow start, the game eventually burst into life when Bernd Leno’s clearance quickly found its way back into the Arsenal half. Magnus Wolff Eikrem swept the ball into the path of Ellingsen, who beat a frustrated Leno from 25 yards.

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Despite dominating possession, the Gunners were struggling for rhythm and they were not really testing goalkeeper Andreas Linde, but they should have drawn level when Eddie Nketiah poked home Pepe’s low cross. However, the flag was raised for offside against Willock, but it was the England U21 striker who got the final touch.

Arteta’s side did eventually draw level in first-half stoppage time as Granit Xhaka led a counter-attack. He played the ball forward for Nektiah, and his cross in search of Willock was turned into his own net by Haugen

It was another own goal which gave Arsenal the lead in the second half and this time, half-time substitute Sinyan, turned home Willock’s cross with a number of Arsenal players waiting to pounce.

The game was then wrapped up in the 69th minute as Pepe swept home from the edge of the penalty area after substitute Bukayo Saka’s excellent cutback.

14 – Since the start of last season, Arsenal's Bukayo Saka has registered 14 assists in all competitions – more than any other teenager for a Premier League club in that time. Provider. #ARSMOL

Willock put the exclamation mark on the result for Arsenal, grabbing himself a deserved goal in the final stages. The Gunners won the ball back high up the pitch and Mohamed Elneny released Pepe, who set Willock free and the midfielder made no mistake, firing emphatically into the roof of the net.

Man of the match – Joe Willock

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta on Willock’s performance: “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 defender David Luiz on Willock: “He’s a fantastic kid. I’m always behind him to help.

“He could do better because he has the talent to be at the top level. He understands that every single day and for me, it’s a pleasure to play with him, especially because he’s humble.

“When you are humble you can learn things, be better and improve. If you are not humble you don’t understand you need to improve.

“He’s humble and he has a great present and a great future.”

Opta stats – Arsenal’s perfect start in Europe continues

  • Arsenal have avoided defeat in 60% of their matches when conceding first under manager Mikel Arteta, winning four and drawing two of 10 such games (L4).
  • Arsenal have won 15 of their 21 UEFA Europa League group stage games (71% – D4 L2), at least six more than any other side since the 2017/18 season.
  • Norwegian teams have lost 21 of their 23 away games vs English sides in all European competition (D2), netting 14 goals and conceding 104 in those games.
  • Arsenal have benefitted from two own goals in a single game for the first time since beating Swansea 4-0 in the Premier League in January 2017.

What’s next for Arsenal?

Arsenal host Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Box Office; Kick-off at 7.15pm.

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