Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Report: Qarabag 0-3 Arsenal (inc. goals)

Result: Qarabag 0-3 Arsenal
Competition: Europa League
Date: 4 October 2018
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Baku

Unai Emery’s Arsenal stretched their winning run to eight games as they overcame Azerbaijan side Qarabag 3-0 in Baku. Sokratis, Emile Smith Rowe and Matteo Guendouzi all grabbed their first goals for the club on a low-stress evening that eases us to the top of Europa League Group E.

Team news

Arsenal: Leno, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Sokratis, Monreal (captain), Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Elneny, Smith Rowe, Iwobi, Welbeck

Subs: Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Lacazette

0′ – A new formation

The boss has made nine changes – only Monreal and Holding retain their places – and there’s a new formation. We’re lining up with centre-backs in defence with Kolasinac and Lichtsteiner playing as wing-backs. The changes don’t stop there…we’re sporting red shorts with our red shirts.

1′ – Olympic effort from the home fans

It’s a big crowd – there are more than 60,000 packed inside Baku’s Olympic Stadium…a stadium, that despite its name, has never hosted the Olympics. Qarabag’s regular home only holds 5,800.

2′ – We’re a long way from home

Fun fact, this is the furthest Arsenal have ever travelled for a competitive fixture. There are approximately 4,000 kilometres between London and Baku…which is apparently a 54-hour car journey. Just as well we didn’t draw this lot during the Bergkamp era.

3’ – First chance for the Gunners

Early chance for the Gunners as Kolasinac collects a long ball from Guendouzi, gets to the byline and picks out Welbeck whose shot is blocked. Elneny’s effort from the rebound is deflected wide for a corner.

4’ – ⚽ GOOOAAAALLLLL Qarabag 0-1 Arsenal, Sokratis

Monreal’s crashing header from Elneny’s corner hits Sokratis and wrong-foots the keeper. It’s the Greek’s first goal for the club and not only that… it’s the first goal scored by an Arsenal player not to play under Arsene Wenger since Glenn Helder! That gem, courtesy of BT Sport.


Sokratis diverts the ball home for the opener

10’ – Qarabag penalty claim

The home side, in all black, gets the crowd going with a decent spell of possession. Striker Emeghara goes down under pressure from Holding but the ref isn’t having any of it.

15’ – Sead on the run

Kolasinac, making his first appearance of the season since recovering from a knee injury, is a lively presence on the left flank. He’s eager to dribble at every opportunity and the home side don’t seem to know what to do about it.

18’ – Emile Smith…no!

Emile Smith Rowe should be celebrating, but instead he’s flat out on the turf. Brilliant, precise and patient football sees the Gunners work the ball to Kolasinac whose first time low ball across the box is met by the 18-year-old at the back post. On the stretch, he can’t quite squeeze the ball the right side of the post. So close!

21’ – Welbz heads wide

Another Elneny corner is met by an Arsenal man first. This time Welbeck climbs at the near post but his headed effort bounces wide.

27’ – Great save Leno

Wide man Madatov cuts in from the right, bamboozles Monreal and gets off a low left-foot shot that looks to be creeping inside the near post. Leno is down brilliantly to keep the ball out with a big left hand. The home side have grown in confidence.

33’ – Yellow card: Maksim Medvedev

Medvedev pulls Iwobi’s shirt for about five seconds and gets a big shove in the back from the Nigerian who is furious at being stopped in his tracks.

38’ – Half chance Smith Rowe

Kolasinac in space down the left pulls a cross back to Smith Rowe who attempts a spectacular volley. Unfortunately, he slips just before making contact and the ball goes way wide.

39’ – Leno saves again

After a bit of pinball in the Arsenal box, the ball falls to Drozovic who from 10 yards out hammers a half-volley at goal. Leno sees it late and does well to parry the ball clear.

42’ – Gunners keep pushing forward 

Another half chance for Smith Rowe following another move that stems down the left. Kolasinac again finds the England youth international but his shot is blocked, as is Guendouzi’s follow-up.

43’ – Yellow card: Rob Holding

The centre-back picks up a card for deliberate handball as he’s falling to the turf on the touchline.

44’ – Close Qarabag!

Medvedev collects a ball inside Kolasinac and fires into the side netting. That was a bit of a let-off for the Gunners.

Half-time: Qarabag 0-1 Arsenal

A relatively comfortable half for the Gunners who probably should have added to Sokratis’ early goal. Iwobi and Kolasinac did well on the ball and Smith Rowe repeatedly worked himself into dangerous positions. His end product was lacking, but he can work on that. It’s not all gone Arsenal’s way though, were it not for two decent stops by Leno it could easily be level at the break.

46’ – Time for Torreira

Lucas Torreira has come on for Nacho Monreal and we’ve swapped to a back four. The Spaniard could have thrown Shkodran Mustafi on and kept faith with the three centre-backs but he’s decided to switch the tactics. The Uruguayan will sit deep next to Guendouzi and it looks like Elneny will push up.

49’ – Qarabag have the ball in the net

Madatov bursts through the Gunners defence, bears down on Leno and tucks the ball into the corner. He wheels away in celebration only to realise the flag has gone up. He’d strayed offside before collecting the through ball. Arsenal are very lucky.

53’ – 4’ – GOOOAAAALLLLL Qarabag 0-2 Arsenal, Smith Rowe

The teenager has his first goal for Arsenal! Iwobi times a pass to perfection and Smith Rowe, on the run in the right channel, keeps his and slides the ball under the onrushing keeper. It’s a goal made in the Gunners Academy and one he thoroughly deserves.


Smith Rowe becomes Arsenal’s second youngest ever scorer in Europe behind the Ox

60’ – Guendouzi fires over

…his own goal. Unorthodox defending from the young Frenchman sees him hack away a cross that flies not far over Leno’s bar. Leno does well to smother Emeghara’s effort from the resulting corner.

64’ – Smith Rowe’s night is over

Unai Emery sends Mesut Ozil on for the youngster. What a night for him. Our German is given a big welcome by the home crowd, he’s apparently very popular in these parts.

70’ – Ozil doesn’t shoot

Space opens up for Ozil inside the Qarabag penalty box but he’s desperate to tee up someone else. When he finally releases the ball it’s hammered away by a defender.

71’ – Lacazette comes on

The Frenchman replaces Iwobi, who after a bright first half was muted after the break.

79’ – 53’ – 4’ – GOOOAAAALLLLL Qarabag 0-3 Arsenal, Guendouzi

Welbeck starts a fantastic break by nicking the ball off a Qarabag defender on the edge of the Arsenal area. He gives the ball to Ozil, who in turn feeds Lacazette. The Frenchman picks out his young compatriot on the edge of the area and Guendouzi takes a touch before firing low to the keeper’s right.


Guendouzi celebrates his first goal as a Gunner

86’ – Leno flies to his right

Frenchman Zoubir tests the German’s acrobatics with a rising drive. Our summer signing flings himself at full stretch and tips over.

89’ – It should be four!

Lacazette holds up the ball brilliantly and tees up Welbeck who curls over with the goal gaping. Not long after Lacazette is assisted by Ozil but his shot is blocked and then Guendouzi shoots over from range.

Full time: Qarabag 0-3 Arsenal

We may have ridden our luck at times but there’s no denying we deserved the win on what turned out to be a relatively comfortable evening. It’s great to see youngsters like Guendouzi and Smith Rowe open their account for the club and Leno will be pleased with his clean sheet. We head to Portugal in three weeks time, knowing a win over Sporting Lisbon will all but ensure safe passage to the knockout stages.

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By no means convincing but we leave Azerbaijan with 3 goals and 3 points. Job done.


So so happy for the three new boys getting their first goals, well done lads


Thank fuck it was only Qarabag and not fucking barca.we would’ve been spanked 6-3 oterwise.What’s the point of playing ozil in these match? came on and been a waste of space.Smith rowe decent but finishing needs LOT of work.Guendouzi no tactical awareness.Shows that he was just 6 months ago Ligue 2 quality.Kolasinac second coming of silvestre.Dissapointing performance overall but can’t say I’m shocked.


Letting Qarabag run the game seemed intentional.
I don’t know if everyone noticed what Emery was doing.


Lull them into a false sense of security


Are you Gelion in disguise?


We’ll let you troll here so you can get some some sleep , Ram. Atleast tell us what team you support ? Derby County ?


I would cut Kolasinac a bit of slack.

It was a new system we were trying and he is just back from a long lay off.

But yes, we were still very suspect defensively.

Thought we sat too deep without sufficient midfield which invited Qarabag to gain confidence once they pass the initial shock of our formation and opening goal.

NO surprise Emery opted to switch back to 4-2-3-1 but we still struggled even so.


Smith Rowe is only 18. Guendouzi is 19. They are young and WILL only get better. Support the team and celebrate the win.


Frustrated Man United supporter spotted!!!


Ram = Troll

Kwame Ampadu Down

I like winning games. It’s good.


Would be nice if it were a bit more convincing


8 from the last 8 dude. Stay positive!


I’m as pleased as anybody about the winning run.

Just wish we could stop conceding chances all the time.


No, you’re not. Some are pleased enough to say, “we won without playing our best, and as Emery gets everyone on his page we will only improve.” But not you.

Kwame Ampadu Down

True but we have a new manager who took over a weakish & unbalanced squad. New players being integrated. A long run of great performances was never going to happen tbis early. Winning the way we have been playing shows what he has done so far on the mental side at least has been a great success. This team appears tougher than we have been for quite a while.


Again not the best performance.
It seems it will be like this for a while..
But at the very least we need to create more clear chances.


And defend better.

Leno did well today. Bailed us out massive on a number of occasions.

Kwame Ampadu Down

Leno the poor signing ? Surely not.


Really like Smith Rowe. Could finally have found our ball carrier from the right- reminds me of Draxler in his size and movement actually. Or a certain dreamy Frenchman perhaps.. Great result without truly ever getting out of second gear. I don’t usually like to complain after a win but Ozil tonight. If I were one of our fans who’d travelled out there I’d be fuming. I have no issues with his body language usually but tonight he looked like he’d literally rather be anywhere else in the world. Barely made it out of a light jog. That’s not what… Read more »


I agree. Not one to normally complain about the body language, and don’t expect in this era for every player to be in love with the club, but when your 19 year old team mate scores his first goal for the club, at least be happy for him.

I wonder if he remembers what it was like when he was young and got his first goal for his club. Having a senior player, who you no doubt look up to, trudge back and not look bothered when the ball goals in…


Mayve one day let’s think of not over interpreting or ? Or yes, let’s keep Özil as the villain…


For heavens sake can’t you stop picking on Ozil. It was his great run that lead to the third goal. It’s getting beyond a joke.


Read my above comment. He’s my favourite player, and usually I make the same comments as yours, but tonight was different. It goes the other way you know, he’s not automatically shielded from any and all criticism just because some people seem to dislike him no matter what he does.


Ridiculous comment.
How can you or anyone possibly think you know what’s on Ozil’s mind based on something as inherently subjective as “body language” for fucks sake.

Martin, below, nails it.

Sir Henry Norris' Brown Envelope

Didn’t watch the game but I saw was his run to set up the third goal


Smith Rowe cut infield several times for us in the first half to good effect but they soon got the measure of him.

Iwobi was also crowded out first half with our 3-4-3 as he was pushed in field a bit. When we switched to 4 at the back, Iwobi was more effective providing us with an outlet and driving the ball forward eating up real estate.

No surprise he provided the assist for Smith Rowe.


I haven’t noticed Ozil struggling for form in last few matches. Always the scapegoat from some of our fans


Ozil is my favourite player. I sing his name every home game. If anything my bias is in the opposite direction. Tonight was appalling.


Time to put away the caveats and just enjoy this run.
Oh and … Emile! Smith! Rowwwwwwe!!!!


Can we please go back to the old game report style rather than this minute by (oooh something happened) minute?

George the Gooner

Agree prefer the old article format, had a bit more personality, just my opinion. Find myself scrolling to the bottom just to read the summary. Shame.


Yep, me too. The old style had the goal clips in it too, and was easier to read.

Obama Young

I prefer this style.

Sir Henry Norris' Brown Envelope

I did enjoy tonight’s version.
A tipp for Liveblog please. Replace the OOOOOH! with an AAAAAGH (when we make a mess) so that I know which goal the action is at…LOL
Up The Arsenal!


Ok, we’ve tried something new. Some people like it, some people don’t.

I might do a poll to see what people prefer because ultimately we want to give you guys what you want.

This way is a lot more difficult, takes more time, so it’s not as if we’re just taking the easy way out.

But thanks for the feedback, we’ll take it all on board, and go from there.


The new format is refreshing, you can find the old reporting style anywhere else

I also really appreciate including the video link to the goals


I like the new format. Good job and thanks.

Ordnance Dave

STILL don’t know about this Arsenal team. We give the opposition so many dangerous moments during games, but we just keep on being ruthless at the other end. Away at Fulham next, COYG!

Three Steps Sideways

Posted the wrong clip for the third goals blogs, it’s the Smith-Rowe one again.


Yes, please fix it. Missed the third goal earlier.

Sir Henry Norris' Brown Envelope

So good to have a clean sheet. Three weeks ago we were praying for them. Our prayers have been answered. Even Czech has a clean sheet.
More clean sheets please


Didn’t really enjoy the funny goals miss compilation that our lads put out in the final 10 mins :/


I think maybe this IS intentional? Playing unconvincingly for the most part, giving lesser oppositions enough opportunities to believe, playing one or two good moves throughout a match and killing the game against the run of play? In that case, we need to at least make sure we don’t present the opposition with too many clear cut chances, because a lot of times it seems like we’re riding on our luck a bit, and being too dependent on our goalkeepers being on the top of their game, and if we can create some more chances ourselves with better passing, I… Read more »


There’s not enough control on our part..particularly when considering the level of opposition.

We still opt to do silly things.

Sokratis tried to pass out with Qarabag players swarming ahead of him and instead gave it right back to them. This happened several times with other of our players too. Kolasinac as well lucky to get the ref’s decision when he was ‘brought down’ by a shirt tug in our box as he attempted to hold the ball there.

Clearly these things are not endemic to Mustafi alone.


the “level of opposition” was the same team that Atletico Madrid found hard to defeat last season TWICE…..both games ended in draws.

Sir Henry Norris' Brown Envelope

Hi Bloggs.
Emery is a Basque. I’m sure he’d prefer that to “Spaniard”. It’s like saying that the Irish are “British”
Spanish and Basque are not related, but there are a very few minor similarities.
Nonetheless; lovely winning run from a new manager, I can get used to this


It’s really not like saying the Irish are British.

Despite the desire of some in the Basque region for independence, Emery is Spanish. Irish people are not British. We’re not wrong on this one.

Plus, he’s unlikely to be reading this 😉


How can you be sure?


I’m Irish, born in England, and I identify as Basque


Just awkward then basically


I’m Basque, and so is my wife!


He can read only basqueze

Sir Henry Norris' Brown Envelope

He identifies as Basque. I respect that. We should respect that.
The Basques did give the Spanish a hard time in order to attempt independence and national identity (as did the Irish and Catalans) I have sympathy and respect for people who are governed by people who do not speak the same home language as them. I have lived my whole governed by people who do not speak English at home. It’s frustrating


Minor similarities.. like nationality, citizenship, passport. Minor, very minor.


Good win. BUT less than convincing defending and even without Mustafi or Granit to blame. Partially Unai was taking the opportunity to experiment with a 3-4-3. We sat very deep. Kolasinac also coming back in was less aware at times. But yet again we struggled to contain crosses or close down shots from edge of the box. Leno made a number of very good saves to keep the clean sheet going imo. We were not that much better switching back to 4-2-3-1 with introduction of Torreira. Nominally we should have had enough quality to put the game to bed earlier… Read more »


They say that fortune favours the brave, and while some things aren’t quite working yet this team keeps plugging away and battles until the end. That’s a huge improvement in itself, and as most of the players out there tonight were either a bit rusty or very young it was a good result.


I just don’t understand – why is there an expectation for a win to be convincing. It is just a win. And who cares about Qarabag FKK in Europa League group stages. We played a second string team with kids thrown in the mix, definitely Qarabag will have their moments. Its alright. Nobody cares! In the end we won 3-0 so people should stop whining. I hate to say this but imagine supporting Man United in their prime and rejoicing Chicharito goals scored from dicks and nipple deflection, being defensive for rest of the game and then winning the game(Strong… Read more »


Well said. We’ve won eight in a row and still people moan because each win “wasn’t good enough”. We could finish the league 38-0-0 with a +267 goal difference, win both domestic cups and the Champions League, and take the world club cup with a couple of 15-0 wins, and some of these smegheads would still cry about it.


Our current form is hard to understand, how many times over the yrs have we dominated the ball but conceded with the oppositions first shot?
At the moment we’re giving away chance after chance and getting what can only be described as luck, with poor quality finishing from the opposition, and ruthless execution from our players as a reply, and we’re not functioning properly as an attacking unit yet either.
Hopefully it starts clicking soon…..


Anybody noticed, at Sokratis goal, the defender who stood behind the keeper, waving for offside? What a gem!


That was great. GIF needed..


Happy with the win of course, but still feel we’re relying on winning when we aren’t at our best.
Hopefully the momentum and confidence will continue Sunday in another should win game


The players did well by making good use of their chances. My only problem is our defending capabilities which is very poor . I think Unai needs to address this before we get punished

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