Result: Arsenal 4 – 2 Vorskla FC
Competition: Europa League
Date: 20 September 2018
Venue: The Emirates Stadium
Arsenal began their Europa League campaign with a 4-2 win over FC Vorskla at home. Sharply taken goals by Aubameyang sandwiched a Welbeck headed goal. Ozil put the game out of reach with a fourth goal in the second half before Arsenal conceded 2 consolation strikes from Vorskla. A solid win, despite the ongoing concerns regarding Arsenal’s defensive frailties.
ARSENAL STARTING XI
The Arsenal team: Leno, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Sokratis, Monreal, Torreira, Elneny, Mhkitaryan, Iwobi, Welbeck, Aubameyang
Subs: Martinez, Bellerin, Guendouzi, Smith Rowe, Ozil, Lacazette, Nketiah
0′ – A STRONG STARTING LINE UP
Emery is taking the Europa League seriously by starting with first team players. Torreira finally starts a game for Arsenal alongside Elneny, another midfielder who has found minutes hard to come by.
1′ – THE DORTMUND CONNECTION
Mhkitaryan plays in the number 10 role to supply the ammunition for long-time strike partner, Aubameyang. The Gabon international could use a goal to boost his confidence.
4′ – METRONOMIC MIDFIELD
Elneny and Torreira keeps possession tidy in midfield, patiently probing and looking for opportunities against Volskla’s deep line.
8′ – VOLSKLA ATTEMPT ON GOAL
Kulach, Volkska’s attacking midfielder, latches onto a flick on and tries to lob Leno from outside the box. The effort would have been amazing if it was on target.
10′ – LICHTSTEINER OFFSIDE
Torreira spots a run from Lichtsteiner into the box but the right back is slightly offside. A good run by the Swiss and great vision from Torreira to spot the move and make the pass.
14′ – IWOBI’S POWERFUL RUNS
Iwobi looks like he’s put on some muscle. His incursions from the left hand side look fast and decisive. Just needs a little more luck with his cut backs for Aubameyang which has been met with blocks in the penalty box.
18′ – YELLOW CARD VORSKLA
A late challenge on Elneny sees Sharpar go into the book.
21′ – ELNENY MISSED CHANCE
Iwobi cuts in from the left and passes to Elneny who charges into the box to receive the ball. Unfortunately, Elneny couldn’t get his footwork right and loses the ball.
28′ – TORREIRA FALLS AWKWARDLY
Torreira isn’t walking properly and is hoping to run off the pain in his ankle.
31′ – ⚽ AUBAMEYANG GOAL! ARSENAL 1 – 0 VORSKLA
Mhkitaryan starts a counter from just outside the Arsenal penalty box. He charges forward and slips in Iwobi on the left. A great cross-field pass from Iwobi reaches Aubameyang who expertly evades the Volkskla defence and finishes exquisitely to the bottom corner. That was Arsenal’s first shot on goal.
37′ – TORREIRA FREE KICK
Torreira’s free kick from the right side curls close to goal but ends up hitting the side netting.
42′ – IWOBI SETS UP CHANCE
Another marauding run from deep by Iwobi sees him impressively ghost past 2 players only to have his cutback blocked again.
44′ – AUBAMEYANG HITS THE POST
An Henry-esque effort from Aubameyang sees him shoot from the inside left area outside the penalty box. The shot curls and dips only to hit the outside of the far post.
45′ – MHKITARYAN SHOT SAVED
Iwobi dispossesses the defender on the left and threads a pass to Mhkitaryan. His powerful shot is well saved by the Vorskla ‘keeper.
HALF TIME: ARSENAL 1 – 0 VORSKLA
Arsenal take the lead with their first shot on goal by Aubameyang. The Gunners have been tidy, playing in second gear but could see more opportunities on the break as Volskla chase an equalizer in the second half.
47′ – MHKITARYAN VOLLEY GOES JUST WIDE
More good play from Iwobi on the left hand side as he tees up Mhkitaryan for a volley that goes just wide.
47′ – ⚽ IT’S DAT GUY! ARSENAL 2 – 0
Mhkitaryan, with a beautiful in-swinger from the left, finds Danny Welbeck who cushions the ball in with his head.
49′ – SO CLOSE FOR WELBECK
Aubameyang races past a high Volskla line, pulling back a ball for Welbeck to tap in but the pass is intercepted by a defender. Unlucky.
52′ – AUBAMEYANG VOLLEY
Aubemeyang receives a lobbed cross from a lively Iwobi. He tries to peddle back to meet the cross but can only get his foot under the ball and shoots it high.
55′ – ⚽ AUBAMEYANG GOAL, ARSENAL 3 – 0 VORSKLA
Aubameyang, from outside the penalty box, strikes the ball sweetly past the ‘keeper at his near post. Absolute class. He’s got his mojo back.
56′ – ARSENAL SUBSTITUTIONS
Ozil and Guendouzi come on for Torreira and Aubameyang.
62′ – IWOBI SHOT BLOCKED
Some good interplay by Elneny and Iwobi on the edge of the box. The Egyptian lays off to Iwobi only to see his shot blocked by a wall of defenders. Arsenal has been bossing the second half.
68′ – ARSENAL SUBSTITUTION
Emile Smith Rowe comes on for Iwobi. The Nigerian has bossed the left wing today. Smith Rowe’s first touch is a defensive header, covering for his defenders from a Volkskla break.
73′ – ⚽ OZIL GOAL! ARSENAL 4 – 0 VORSKLA
A good run from Lichtsteiner on the right sees him receive the ball deep in the Volskla penalty box. He lifts the ball high, past the onrushing keeper to find Ozil for a simple tap in.
76′ – ⚽ VORSKLA GOAL, 4-1
Lichtsteiner can’t get the ball out of his feet when defending a free kick. The Vorskla striker nips the ball off him and strikes the ball past Leno. And the wait for a clean sheet continues….
80′ – SMITH ROWE’S QUICK FEET
The teenager skips past Volksla’s defenders effortlessly to set up Welbeck on goal. The ball is just a little too heavy for the striker to latch on to but it’s good to see Smith Rowe expressing himself creatively.
90 +2′ – ⚽ VORSKLA GOAL
Arsenal let their guard down with the final kick of the game by letting Volskla find their way into the box. A brilliant strike by Volskla but poor defending by Arsenal.
FULL-TIME: ARSENAL 4 – 1 VORSKLA
Arsenal upped the ante in the second half to roar to a 4 goal lead courtesy of goals from Aubameyang, Welbeck and Ozil. Frustratingly, Arsenal could not keep a clean sheet as they conceded consolation goals in the 76th minute and injury time.