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

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Result: Arsenal 3-0 Dundalk
Competition: Europa League
Date: 29 October 2020
Venue: Emirates Stadium

Arsenal: Runarsson, Cedric, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Elneny, Xhaka, Nelson, Pepe, Nketiah

Subs: Leno, Hein, Bellerin, Tierney, Gabriel, Saka, Ceballos, Lacazette, Partey, Willian, Aubameyang, Balogun


Goals from Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Nicolas Pepe helped Arsenal to a comfortable 3-0 win against Dundalk at the Emirates.

After a slow start, the Gunners blitzed three goals in the space of four minutes either side of the break to break the Irish side’s resistance before easing through the latter stages.

Having beaten Rapid Vienna last week, Mikel Arteta’s side will be well-placed to secure early qualification from Europa League Group B if they beat Molde next week.

Pre-game

After a few weeks soaking up life as an Arsenal player on the bench, Alex Runarsson was finally handed his debut by Mikel Arteta. In front of the Icelandic keeper, we set up with our usual fluid backline. Cedric and Ainsley Maitland-Niles nominally taking up wide positions with Shkodran Mustafi, Granit Xhaka and Sead Kolasinac in the ‘middle’. Mo Elneny and Joe Willock paired up in midfield with Reiss Nelson, making only his second start of the season, in attack alongside Pepe and Nketiah. The bench featured a host of big guns and a Balogun. This was the first time since last year’s League Cup win over Nottingham Forest that the young striker was part of a senior squad.

First half

Given the gulf in quality between the sides, it wasn’t hugely surprising to see Dundalk set up defensively.

The Irish side’s focus was on staying compact and denying us space between the lines, thereby setting Arteta’s players the challenge of moving the ball quickly and neatly in the final third. While we had plenty of possession, slick interplay was at a minimum and the visitors were more than comfortable sitting deep and clearing their box. To be fair, they did have the first shot of the evening, McElneny forcing Runarsson down to his right with a low drive.

In the opening 20 minutes, Arsenal focused on attacking down the right hand side with Cedric overlapping with Pepe and Willock providing support. All three got into decent positions but failed to produce quality when it mattered.

Nelson, playing off the right, looked bright carrying the ball and did his best to inject speed but with Kolasinac trundling outside him he didn’t have enough support to work overloads on the flank. The England under-21 international did attempt a low drive that flashed just past keeper Rogers’ near post and Kola forced a save with a header.

As the game edged towards half time, we started to turn the screw. Willock, who was a bright spark, had a shot blocked and Nketiah nearly diverted home a loose ball after a Pepe shot pinballed around the six-yard box.

Three minutes before the break, Nketiah finally made our pressure tell. The England under-21 international took advantage of a missed punch by keeper Rogers to pounce on a Nelson corner from a couple of yards out. (1-0)

Within two minutes Willock had doubled the lead. The midfielder swept home with a very tidy finish after Pepe’s shot was blocked into his path following a good bit of work by Nketiah. The score at the break was far prettier than the performance. (2-0)

Second half

Inside a minute of the restart, we extended our lead. Pepe collected a Willock pass on the edge of the area, rolled the ball onto his right foot and in the blink of an eye found the top corner with his right foot. After a very average opening 45 minutes for him, it was a real touch of class. (3-0)

In the 15 minutes that followed, Dundalk, their confidence sapped, rarely made it out of their half. We popped the ball around nicely and looked like we were enjoying ourselves without creating anything clear cut. Our momentum was temporarily tempered when Arteta switched Mustafi and Pepe for Ceballos and Willian but we got going again soon enough. 

Willock and Nketiah both had chances to grab their second goal of the evening. The former went on a mazy run but ran out of room for a shot and the latter couldn’t connect properly with a Cedric cross. Maitland-Niles also tried his luck at the end of a darting run through midfield. His effort was parried away. 

Nketiah’s final action of the evening was another shot over the bar after a brilliant solo run by Willock. The striker was immediately replaced by Balogun who came on for his senior debut. Tierney also replaced Xhaka. The rest of the game was spent half-heartedly upping our shot count without overly worrying the visitors.

We head to Old Trafford on Sunday for what will be a far stiffer test.

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BillyKrystal

Good to see Blogs getting a run out, now I know your real name – Brian Gartland.

TOGooner

I have no idea what Blogs looks like by I have decided he looks exactly like the keeper Rodgers

gooner

Blogs was having a nice game but pulled a hangover near Willock and limped off

the🚗2N

Thought we sold him a couple seasons ago? The Oirish Bielik/Boilk

Jackstoneygunner

Still lots of problems in attack.

Crash Fistfight
Naija gooner

That guy put in a real captain performance

PGunner

Fuck me that was a speedily assembled match report. Runnarson 10/10

PGunner

*Runarsson (soz)

Johnny 4 Hats

As well as really enjoying us blow the opposition off the park with our academy boys taking the limelight, I did thoroughly enjoy seeing Arsenal fans on social media and on the arseblog team news article losing their shit because we started a little slowly. I mean, what has happened to our fans? They behave like a bunch of hysterical clucking chickens, writing us off after 20mins and basically throwing hissy fits that my two year old would find overly dramatic because we didn’t score ten goals in the first five minutes. No wonder we only had to play ten… Read more »

PGunner

Avoid social media like me mate, much nicer life 🙂

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah. Good shout.

I just thought a home game against a pretty shitty opposition might be actually quite good fun for fans. But clearly not.

Petit's Handbag

Isn’t this social media?

Mpls

Nah, This at least has a minimal expected code of decorum, and, as I really appreciate, sensible moderation. That other shite? Yikes.

Mpls

Wow, speaking of moderation, I think the last 4 or 5 comments I’ve made over the last couple weeks have been “Awaiting for approval”. What on earth have I done?!

Crash Fistfight

I’ve found that sometimes my comments get moderated if I’m using a specific device, so it could be that. If possible, check whether you can post normally with one device versus another.

Timorous Me

Anti-social media?

Qwaliteee

Well said J4H.

Things are far from perfect, but the ‘Arteta Out’ stuff is ridiculous. You’ve got to give the guy a fair crack of the whip – two full seasons at least – before coming out with stuff like that.

Naked Cygan

What do u expect when Pepe takes a corner and hits the side netting? First 40 min was total bollocks, and the ref was a blind wanker.

onenil

One bad corner and taking a while to break down the opposition is, as the man said, no call for losing your shit

Anonymarse

They do say wanking makes you go blind

#define

That Pepe side netting corner was interesting if I recall correctly. Its a kind of a whipped shot where the ball travels low and fast. I have seen some of the Brazilians do it , especially Ederson on some goal kicks. Its the kind of shot where our crowding the keeper strategy on corners may pay dividends.

goonerrah

Why are you taking shots at the fans? We are not even a top 4 team. Don’t hype yourself after a very easy win.

Runzac

4 hats taken off for Johnny. Spot on as usual

Highbury

I don’t follow anything to do with Arsenal on social media, and I’ll be honest, I’ve never regretted it. I enjoyed the game, Dundalk worked like hell and they left that pitch with their heads held high as they deserved.

goonerrah

Dundalk “worked like hell”? They looked like they had 2 red cards after the first goal.

Highbury

What nonsense, it’s a team from the Irish league, a team of professional footballers, that worked their asses off to a man. The idea that they only had a foul in them in order to stop Arsenal is ludicrous. From what I remember it was Arsenal giving away most of the fouls, and Arsenal having a tough time (in parts) breaking their defence down. A 3-0 loss (for them) is never positive, but I definitely don’t think that they have anything to be ashamed about, especially considering Dundalk’s first 30 minutes.

Actually it was said that Dundalk did not commit ANY fouls in that match. Not even 1, which shows incredible self-discipline to me. I think we committed 20 fouls.

Actually scratch that. I completely forgot the ref missed the shirt pull on Willock. Pretty much treated Dundalk players like pillow feathers.

Reality check

Tbf, the players did look pretty toothless untill their keeper gifted us the goal. But that is how we play these days, pass around the defense until you see an opening. Like Wenger use to say, if you are use to caviar, sausages won’t do it for you.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Foodwise, I will take sausages over caviar any day.

Crash Fistfight

Caviar’s overrated. Load of salty mush.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Take the hat off, Johnny 4.

Usmanov

Nelson.. best player on the pitch today!

Love his footwork, seems to be regaining that confidence and swagger.

karl

He’d have to share that with Willock

StuArse

If only he had a bit more composure in and around the box.

gooner

Now he needs to do it on a cold rainy night in

Bleeding gums murphy

And maybe better opposition than Dundalk. Let’s have some perspective please. Willock nelson and nketia haves been average against premier teams but can look very good against lesser teams. Saka and martinelli only youngsters to step up so far.

gooner

They are still young and improving. This is a new season and just a few games so give them the benefit of doubt

A Different George

You know, I would rather he (and the rest of our team) had the chance to show what he could do on a nice, mild evening in Munich, or Madrid, or Paris.

afl

if he only could deliver final ball. almost everything good he made was waisted with his final pass. reminds me too much of young Iwobi when there was still hope he’ll eventually master the final pass what would have made him world class…
who knows, maybe Arteta can do better job with young Nelson because the potential is definitely there.

Charles OJ

Don’t forget Willock!

allezkev

Yeah totally agree on young Reiss, lovely close control, keeps hold of the ball under pressure and always seems to have a bit of time on the ball, but Willock ran him close, took his goal beautifully, Martin Keown mentioned on TV that tonight was only Arteta 39th game as a manager, makes you think when people want him out already….

Est Ldn

I disagree, Nelson has been very average and was again tonight; reminds me of Gervinho, but like to spin on the spot more.

Lots of quick movements but no end product. Worst moments was when he failed to play Balogun three consecutive times and instead dribbled past 2 players then played a ball to wing, which then went backwards.

I don’t mind the red thumbs, just want to know what people see in him that is different to Gervinho for example.

Jack

Great win to give us confidence ahead of Sunday. Really think Reiss deserved a goal

Only Arteta could start with a back 5 with only one actual centre back in it

jorunce

How? We’ll make 10 changes for Sunday probably same old etc

Aregt

Well it was more pleasant to watch… It seems like Arteta is learning slowly from his errors. Special mention to Nelson who showed that he deserves to play more

Jean Ralphio

Nelson should be ahead of Willian based on this performance.

VAgooner

Pepe too.

Ray's ice cream Parlour

I do love a win….

Paul Roberts

Sorry but Pepe is rubbish, as is Nketiah. Eddie will improve but…

Paul Roberts

Pepe will not start on Sunday mark my words…

Martin

I wonder what you would say if he had a bad match

Paul Roberts

He had a bad match in my opinion. I have nothing against him personally.

Paul Roberts

He is a counter attacking midfielder and we don’t counter attack very much. Not his fault or Mikel’s

Hank Scorpio

I think you meant we don’t attack much. No need to add the word ‘counter’

AussieGooner

He will, that’s why he came off.

I like that Arteta might be willing to take the ball and chain off Pepe and let him have some freedom around the opposition area, nothing wrong with having one player a little bit loose – he could well cause some confusion and create space by being more of a nuisance in the final third. It is certainly worth trying more to help with the issues we have in attack.

Zenithreptile

Fuck yeah that goal he scored was shit. Sell him NOW

A Different George

Well, Pepe is inconsistent, but I have never seen a rubbish player score a goal like that. Quick trap in a crowd, roll it a little way to open the angle, smash it immediately with almost no backswing, using your weaker foot, into the top corner.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Didn’t you enjoy his goal?

SB Still

That was comfortable in the end, the 1st half was ponderous.

However, those who needed got a run out and those that needed to be rested were.

Now, lets an away win and ensure none top 6 status for ManU 🙂

Give youth a chance

It was obvious even before kick off that the first goal would be crucial. Once that went in the quality of our play improved immeasurably

Qwaliteee

Well done lads.

Can’t believe we kept a clean sheet too. 👍

DialSquareGoon

Basically the Leicester game, except Dundalk are two pegs down the quality ladder.

Paul Roberts

5 pegs

lessthanthesumoftheirparts

8 pegs

chepetin

It’s like a Mensa examination. Next in the sequence is: 11 pegs

miike

i’d think 13 because fibonacci is a cool sequence

1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 44 …

mayoarsenal

13, 21, 34

Non flying Dutchmen

65, 109, 174

Dundalk are 174 pegs down the ladder

Non flying Dutchmen

Wait… Mayo arsenal is indeed correct so scrap the above

TOGooner

Willock MOTM easily

Jeremy DG

Big from Willock and Nelson. Great goal from Pepe. End of the first half the handbrake came well and truly off and we played some lovely football which would cause any team problems. Some better decision making with the last ball/shot the score would have been double figures. Dundalk defended heroically. Nice game to watch, especially with the Balagun surprise in the second half.

Naked Cygan

A win is always good, but not a good performance given how much we had the ball. Kept going wide, so many pointless short corners, very predictable attacking. Let’s hope we find some magic and win on Sunday.

Give youth a chance

I watched the match today with bad subtitles on. Granit Xhaka is now officially Chronic Jack

the🚗2N

Yeah, I also had that weird stream. Cedric Soares was Central China. Maitland-Niles was Meet in the Isles. Balogun was Callaghan.

At the final whistle the commentator said “Arteta takes three goals and points” which was subtitled “take three girls and point”.

Heh

the🚗2N

-point
+pints

Give youth a chance

Special mention to all the variations on Nketiah too. I’m sure the subtitles mentioned a pterodactyl at one stage

the🚗2N

Yes, tactics was pterodactyl. There was also Joe will look.

the🚗2N

The AI was cockney

That’s the only explanation of course😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

pound4pound

I’m increasingly accepting that Pepe will probably always be someone who frustrates for 30 minutes at a time, and then pulls out a play of sheer brilliance. And honestly, I think it’s a good balance to Arteta’s highly planned (maybe over-controlling) style.

Santori

Really they are several levels down. Hardly mustered any threat so much so Mustafi did not even get a chance to make a customary slip up and we could afford to take him off then even Xhaka for a rest. We played with zero Cbacks. At one point it was just Kolasinac (perish the thought) Good goals from the younger players and Pepe’s right foot this time but in truth we should have been coming away with more goals. Don’t feel the hunger in the squad sufficiently. Seems almost complacent that we have the job done knock the ball around… Read more »

Hank Scorpio

I thought the subs reduced the momentum. A bit needless aside from maybe giving Balogun a run, especially bringing on senior players with the game won.

Sheldon

I would like to see Pepe be turned into a striker. His shooting is his greatest attribute. Reckon he’d be great if he didnt have to think much, and just shoot onsite from somewhere in the box.

Paul Roberts

I’ve never seen a winger so reluctant to take a player on. He had a lot of bad shots before the one moment of brilliance against a Hackney Marshes team.

Still love Wenger

So disrespectful of a full time professional team,Dundalk may now be the best team in the world,but for 90 mins they really worked.
Try to enjoy the win, and remember we have class, well we used too.

lessthanthesumoftheirparts

I’ve said this before, he would flourish upfront as a right centre forward. He is wasted out on the touchline

AussieGooner

Agreed. I am desperate to see us in a 4-4-2, I think with the players we have it makes so much sense.

Leno

Bellerin – Luiz – Gabriel – Tierney

AMN – Cellabos – Partey – Saka

Pepe – Abua

lessthanthesumoftheirparts

Yep, while RM is up for debate. With Willian and Nelson staking good claims. This transitions into an attacking 424 in no time and a 433 if saka moves up. Really hope we take the game to manure this sunday. I had enough of this dour back 3 a long long time ago.

Cygan’sbaldspot

Let’s be honest, the reason people pick on Cedric is because he has a punchable face

Savage

We’re better fans than that

Joseph Kawooya

How many casual forward passes did Ceballos make? I think he needs to trust his mates more.

Charles OJ

Good point. Last game he barely passed to Partey

Fatgooner

A decent result but not a great performance.

We struggled in most of that first half and then finally got the two goals at the end. After that early third I expected us to go on and get 5 or 6. But we didn’t. No more goals in 44 minutes?

The final ball wasn’t good enough again and we made it easy for a very defensive Dundalk team.

Willock MOTM and nice to see Pepe score-with his right!

We need to be sharper up front against United.

Grymelock

Well that was enjoyable, apart from the point where the TV fucked up halfway through the first half. And to think BT want to charge £15 a game? Cheeky useless bastards.

Yes yes, *only* Dundalk, but Eddie is good in the box, so let’s put a player in there? Get the ball to them and let them do the work. Which seems very possible with Nelson and Willock on the pitch. Pépé? Not so sure.

And after all, it’s not like Leicester did much different 🤷🏻

Naija gooner

Good win…can’t wait for silky football when attacking not this drab predictable passing and stopping when attacking. Also willock is a special footballer mans got everything to be a great midfielder

Mike Stride

According to the stats Dundalk didn’t make one foul in the match! Well when you have a ref who decides pulling someone’s shirt isn’t a foul then that isn’t too difficult!!

UpNorth

In my home country the best team for quite a few years ago beat a lower side with double digit numbers in a early cup fixture. The coach, a absolutely brilliant man,was furious after the match because the players used their skills and not the style of play to win.And that summarize what was wrong with the match tonight, we let the young guns play ( right), but allowed them to rely on their skills to get the goals and not the style of play needed to break down a compact defense. We need to use this matches not only… Read more »

Is this by any chance South Africa?

Biggles

We won, we got three goals (yes, three) and we didn’t concede. Reasons to be cheerful then. OK, Dundalk only very, very rarely threatened anything and our makeshift defence had an extremely quiet night. But a win is a win. I would really like to be able to post the same opening sentence after we play one of the big teams in the PL. Wouldn’t it be great to start with, oh let’s see, Utd. on Sunday. Will we? Being realistic, probably not – but there’s always hope.

Charles OJ

Willock, My Man of the Match! I hope Nelson is now given more opportunities to stake a claim in the first team.

Almunia4Pires

We’re wasting our time with the UEL. Just realised Unai Emery is in it with Villareal.

CuntBeArsed

Hopefully this is a confidence booster for the likes of Willock, AMN, Nelson and they get an opportunity vs PL opposition. Just would like to see some passion, effort and desire again

StockholmGooner

It’s sad to see so much reactionary negativity on Arseblog comment section.. This used to be a reasonable place but it’s turned into AFTV…

We’re not quite at AFTV levels yet lol.
More rival fans watch and subscribe to AFTV than Arsenal fans do, that’s why it’s so toxic.

Filsuf

McElneny..

Bahahah I saw what you did there

Goonersince55

I know there was little threat, but was pleased with Runarsson. Was alert to a long-distant shot early on. Confidently claimed two corners. A couple of times he came a long way out of his area and dealt with the situation calmly. Was quick and sensible with his distribution. We shall see….

N J F

Did Pepe score with his RIGHT FOOT ?

Arseman

“The bench featured a host of big guns and a Balogun”

Underrated.