It was a very commanding scoreline to back up a hard-fought victory, one in which Arteta would hope to see his young lads reflect in the Premier League this weekend. Nicholas Pepe was the star of the show, making amends for his Red card at the weekend in the goalless draw away at Leeds United. Early in the second half, his goal reminded Arsenal fans while the club spent such amount of money to land his signature. It was another night to remember for young Nigerian international Folarin Balogun, who scored his first competitive goal for Arsenal after coming off the bench.
Mikel Arteta recalled Alex Runarsson in goal, with Mustafi, Soares, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Nketiah, and Nelson all recalled to the starting Line up in a 4-4-2 formation.
The first half was bizarre with very few cut chances, Arsenal leading the way in shots on target, much to fans’ delight. It was in the second half that the turn around came for good. Nicholas Pepe’s shot hit the underside of the post early on, but he found himself on the score sheet in the 50th minute, sending in a curling shot into the net from a Joe Willock’s cross to put the Gunners ahead. Lacazette was guilty of not converting his chances, same with Nketiah, who couldn’t get the ball into the net. Reiss Nelson grabbed the second goal of the night for the Gunners, tapping the ball into the net from another Willock’s low cross.
Then, in the 83rd minute, youngster Folarin Balogun, on for just 37 seconds after coming on as a substitute, scored his first goal for Arsenal and their third for the night after brilliantly controlling Smith Rowe’s pass, turning around and shooting into the net of the Molde goalkeeper to seal the 3 points and another clean sheet for the Gunners.
The victory sees Arteta’s men qualify for the round of 32 with two games to spare. Arsenal would hope to put in such a performance at the weekend when they host Wolves in the Premier League. They really need to get back to winning ways in the league where they have failed to score a goal from open play in November, but they would have to do so without their 72 million pounds signing, who sits out the first game of his 3-match suspension.
We’re back in Premier League action on Sunday evening as Wolves visit Emirates Stadium.
We follow that match with a historic day as we welcome around 2,000 fans back to the Emirates after nine months away for our Europa League clash against Sporting Lisbon.
Match Preview by Patrick Alexander