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Arsenal vs Molde. Europa League Group B.

Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal 4

  • K Haugen (46th minute own goal)
  • S Sinyan (62nd minute own goal)
  • N Pepe (69th minute)
  • J Willock (88th minute)

Molde 1

  • M Ellingsen (22nd minute)

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

Arsenal players celebrate after taking the lead against Molde
Image: Arsenal players celebrate after taking the lead against Molde

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.

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.

Molde players celebrate after Martin Ellingsen put them ahead at Arsenal
Image: Molde players celebrate after Martin Ellingsen put them ahead at Arsenal

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

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Kristoffer Haugen turns the ball into his own net under pressure from Joe Willock
Image: Kristoffer Haugen turns the ball into his own net under pressure from Joe Willock

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.

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.

Arsenal team news

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made nine changes for the visit of Molde as the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gabriel Magalhaes and Thomas Partey were rested.

Only goalkeeper Bernd Leno and forward Willian survived from Sunday's 1-0 win at Manchester United as the Gunners look to maintain their 100 percent start to Group B. Eddie Nketiah came into the attack while the likes of Nicolas Pepe and Granit Xhaka were recalled - the latter also wearing the captain's armband.

What Arteta said...

Bukayo Saka 0:34
Mikel Arteta says Arsenal's youngsters are getting their chance in the first team because they deserve it

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta: "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. We went a goal behind but it was about the reaction, we created a lot of chances.

"If they did not score the own goals, we had players there for the tap in. We could sustain attacks and we did not want to let them run on the counter because they are a threat.

"I really like the approach that the younger players are having for each game, they want to make the difference, they are playing with a lot of personality.

Man of the match - Joe Willock

Joe WIllock
Image: Joe WIllock produced another excellent display for Arsenal

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."

Willock form hard for Arteta to ignore

Joe Willock
Image: Joe Willock

Sky Sports' Oliver Yew:

"Keep doing what he's doing consistently, and his chance will arrive."

That was Mikel Arteta's response when asked what Joe Willock has to do to get a chance in the Premier League, but after another excellent display in the Europa League, the 21-year-old, who has drawn comparisons to former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, is firmly knocking on his manager's door to be included in the club's Premier League squad.

Willock was an absentee from Arsenal's 18-man squad at Old Trafford, but after two man-of-the-match displays in the Europa League and two goals in as many games in the competition, he is certainly doing all the right things.

Full of energy and running, Willock continually popped up in goal scoring positions and he played key roles in Arsenal's first and second goals before putting the finishing touch on another fine display with an emphatic finish.

Will it be enough for him to get a chance when Arsenal take on Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Box Office? Willock's Europa League form will be difficult for Arteta to ignore, especially with Arsenal's struggles to break down Leicester at the Emirates Stadium fresh in the memory.

Willock offers Arsenal something very different and even if it's only as an option from the bench this weekend, his form deserves rewarding.

Opta stats - Arsenal's perfect start in Europe continues

Arsenal
Image: Arsenal are three wins from three in the Europa League
  • 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.

Arsenal fixtures

Sun Nov 8: Aston Villa (h)

Thurs Nov 26: Molde (a)

Sat Nov 28: Wolves (h) TBC

Thurs Dec 3: Rapid Vienna (h)

Sat Dec 5: Tottenham (a) TBC

Thurs Dec 10: Dundalk (a)

Sat Dec 12: Burnley (h) TBC

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