Report: Dundalk 2-4 Arsenal (inc. goals)

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Result: Dundalk 2-4 Arsenal
Competition: Europa League
Date: 10 December 2020
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin

Arsenal: Runarsson, Chambers, Mustafi, Mari, Cedric, Willock, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Nketiah

Subs: Macey, Hein, Saka, Ceballos, Holding, Balogun, Cottrell, Azeez


Goals from Eddie Nketiah, Mo Elneny, Joe Willock and substitute Folarin Balogun helped Arsenal to a 4-2 win over Dundalk as the Gunners finished top of Europa League Group B with a 100 percent record.

Goals by Flores and Hoare twice halved our lead, but the gulf in quality between the two sides was evident throughout.

Pre-game

Mikel Arteta made a clean sweep of changes from the side that lost the North London derby but, perhaps surprisingly, given the opposition and the fact the match was the deadest of dead rubbers, the lineup was pretty strong. Of particular note were the inclusions of Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari – both made their comeback from injury last week – in a back three that also featured Shkodran Mustafi. Emile Smith Rowe came into midfield for his first start of the season to support Pepe and Eddie Nketiah. The bench featured three youngsters without a senior appearance – keeper Karl Hein, Ben Cottrell and Miguel Azeez – as well as exciting young striker Folarin Balogun, who scored against Molde.

First Half

On a muddy pitch torn up by a weekend of rugby, the Gunners made a sharp start against the newly-crowned FAI Cup winners. Inside four minutes, Pepe whipped a deep cross to Maitland-Niles who nearly found Nketiah with a header. Yep, an actual cross met by an Arsenal head. And not long after Pablo Mari stole the ball high up the pitch before feeding Nketiah who had a shot blocked. 

The England under-21 international didn’t have to wait much longer to bag himself a goal. On 12 minutes he blocked an out pass on the edge of the Dundalk box and carefully dinked over the keeper from 12-yards out. (0-1) It was the furthest out he’s ever scored for the Gunners (@Orbinho). 

Neither side had anything to play for and the game continued with a training ground rhythm of attack versus defence. After our well-documented struggles in front of goal, you sensed the players had been given a mandate to shoot on sight. 

Mo Elneny did exactly that on 18 minutes. Picking the ball up 30-yards from goal, he hit a peach of an effort that was still rising as it found the top corner. The stadium may have been empty, but that didn’t stop him celebrating like he’d just buried a last-minute cup final winner. To be fair, it was a lovely strike, reminiscent of a Flamini strike against Newcastle back in 2008. (0-2)

At this point, the Gunners were completely dominant, so it was something of a surprise when the hosts halved our lead. Jordan Flores got behind our defence and flashed a shot past Runarsson. The ball seemed to be pretty near to the Icelander who’ll be wondering whether he should have done better. (1-2)

Cedric and Maitland-Niles both forced saves from keeper Gary Rogers as we looked to restore our two-goal advantage with more long shots things petered out towards the break. 

In what would have been an embarrassing turn of events, the home side did come close to an equaliser with the final attack of the half. A cross from the right flank caused havoc in the Arsenal box and Chambers had to deflect a shot from Leahy over the bar. 

Second half

Not a huge amount happened in the opening 15 minutes of the second period which may have informed Arteta’s decision to send on Dani Ceballos and Folarin Balogun. Our first half goal scorers made way. 

As the dust settled on the changes, Cedric tried his luck with a free-kick that had Rogers scrambling to parry. 

On the touchline, the boss continued to bark instructions eager for his players to up the tempo. They duly obliged, creating a couple of decent flowing moves that forced Dundalk onto the back foot. 

Soon enough, we stretched our lead. Collecting a Cedric header, Balogun produced some fine hold-up play under pressure in the box before laying off for Willock who fired home through the keeper. (1-3)

Having excelled in the role of provider, Balogun burnished his credentials as a top-quality finisher by calmly slotting home his second goal of the Europa League campaign after Pepe played him in. (1-4)

Either side of the goal, fellow youngsters Ben Cottrell and Miguel Azeez made their senior debuts. 

Dundalk, in their final game of the season, kept plugging away and were rewarded for their efforts when Hoare headed home from a free-kick. (2-4) Mustafi let his teammates know he was less than impressed by the marking as the defender found space between Pablo Mari and Azeez. 

Calum Chambers thought he’d marked his first start in a year with a goal at the death. He flicked home at close range only to be flagged offside. He tried to barter with the Croatian officials but they weren’t having it. That meant we settled for 20 goals in six games; a very decent tally. 

The draw for the last-32 takes place on Monday. Stiffer opponents await.

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Artitty

The people demand more Smith-Rowe!

SB Still

Can we play more EL teams instead of PL teams!

Some very good performances by the youngsters. Balogun caught the eye even as a substitute.

Comedian

Well EPL is europa premier league from now on.

Johnny 4 Hats

Or more Dundalk’s.

Just a whole season of Dundalk’s.

Followed by a special club team World Cup where we only play Dundalk.

Then the obligatory preseason friendlies against Dundalk and then the Arsenal Dundalk Charity Shield.

And then a new season. Playing Dundalk.

Artitty

Dun dun dun

Karol Chren

Arsenal Dundalk league champion 2021/2022

Johnny 4 Hats

We’d probably end up selling them our best player who scores every goal in their eventual triumph over us.

Yup. Still not over that.

Up4GrabsNow!

YES! More ESR and some Mo’ Elneny and less Swiss Treacle.

And the Chelsea Pensioner needs more time convalescing in Dubai, like the next 2.5 years…

Johnny 4 Hats

Isn’t “Swiss Treacle” what Federer shouts at climax?

Qwaliteee

🤣😆🤣😆🤣

Qwaliteee

He probably also yells ‘Toblerone’ if he’s not eaten enough roughage and struggling in the downstairs loo….

Artetas Assistant

Wild 😈🤝

Jack

Mostly good performances from the squad players. Sadly can’t see any of them starting a premier league game. In fact there’s more likelihood of Willian starting ahead of them in every position (including goalkeeper)

Johnny 4 Hats

Willian knows where Arteta buried Ozil.

Futsboller

Sizzle … nice!

Gooneron

Willian is to Arteta what Guendouzi was to Emery.

THE Handbrake

To be fair to Emery, Guendouzi was a lot more effective than Willian has ever been for us.

Chippy Brady

Willian is about as effective as an ash tray on a motorbike. Guen is slightly more effective, think handbrake on a canoe.

The Arsenal

Ash tray on a motorbike is now Willians new name.

Laca New Signing

What Eboue was to Wenger?

Nobody important

Nice easy entertaining game. I like the Europa League more than the premier League now

Johnny 4 Hats

I must admit, I really have a soft spot for Dundalk now. I watched a documentary about their appearance in the Europa League last night and it was really fascinating.

It turns out that three of the players in the team are just trying to raise funds for passage to the new world and the chance of a new beginning. Another was trying to put their kid through horse whispering school.

Genuinely touching. And boy could those fellas dance. Would recommend to all.

Jules

can we get a name mr 4 hats!

Johnny 4 Hats

I believe it was called :

Dere’s more to Ireland – Dundalk

Lucas

Your wish may be granted when we eventually drop to the championship

Frank

Thank god for the Europa league. Actually worked an earlier shift today so I could be home to watch the match. Mad for a dead rubber in the EL but its about the only time I enjoy watching us these days. Love what ESR brings, hes just silky and has the ability to add pace to our game which we so desperately need. Balogun, absolute gem, so solid holding those defenders off with ease at 19 and then a goal to boot. Saw someone say hes like prime Bony and I agree but feel he has more of an all… Read more »

HenryKamp

C’mon Wilfred Bony!

Adriano

Score some goal for Arsenal

Usmanov

Seems to me like the Miguel Azeez hype is real. Boy looks like the real deal.

Another game where Pepe has shown intent and a little more fire. Like that he has really bought into Arteta’s philosophy of working off the ball.

Ramblin' Randolpf

I love him already.
That move where he turned instead of playing the ball back and sent the dundalkee chasing shadows was the best I’ve seen in an arsenal game in a long time.
Not to mention the blast-from-the-past Edgar Davidsesque haircut.

Once a gunner

Miguel Azeez done better than all our senior midfielders especially Joe Wilock that will be running away from the ball. The boy was confident in the ball with good vision and dribbling skills even in thight position. We should give this boy and Smith Rowe a chance in the premier league.

Freezedawg of Sweden

Keep the kids on for PL – COYG!

Qwaliteee

Good call.

I’m not entirely sure how much more of Xhaka, Willian, Ceballos and Co fucking about with the ball my blood pressure can stand.

Jules

Balogun ahead of Nketiah in the pecking order please. Adds so much more to the game.

Jules

Also WOW azeez looks EXCELLENT. Such silky turns and such clean play. Wow he could really be something.

Trackie Breh

AMN may not be the best player in the team- but by god he’s the best at making the other players around him better. He’s always moving, creating space and drawing defenders. Him and ESR were a joy to watch- just wish both could start getting an opportunity in the league playing more centrally.

Bould's Eyeliner

It’s the youth team strength–when players know how to play as a team, movement off of the ball is everything to set up offensively, defensively, and it looks like a transformation of the side. When they don’t know how to play as a team, you see players physically responding to their own passes, decisions, and everything is a bit shite. I agree, I like how AMN, ESR, Willock, and the other academy lads really know how to play together–it’s definitely their strength, and I also like that Arteta’s not stupid enough to throw them at the premier league brutes just… Read more »

Dom47

I want him to throw them at the premier league brutes… When will we finally start using our young players?

We never use them, then they leave and soon enough they are good enough, look at gnabry, the jeff, bennacer… We should have usem them instead of giving chances to has beens and deadwood in our team.

Tomaury Bischfeld

I’m glad some of the youngsters got on, only wish they’d got more time in a meaningless game. What’s to lose? I really hope the inclusion of Willock and Maitland Niles and even Smith-Rowe in this game doesn’t preclude appearance this weekend. I don’t know if I can take another Xhaka, Willian and non-scoring Aubalaca at the weekend. Something has to change.

Comedian

We got a great set of prospects, was my first sighting of Azeez looked composed, if the first team continues to disappoint , we really should give the young players a go. Bellerin, Saka came through because they were specialist in their position and situation around first team got them integrated in the senior squad. Arteta might need to be less protective and let young players a try out if things dont improve.

Qwaliteee

Nice to see some goals for a change but that new ‘keeper of ours has an awful lot to work to do on his game – those two goals conceded were poor efforts, especially the second.

Good result this evening and a win is a win, but it will mean sweet fuck all if we don’t get three points on Sunday.

The Premiership is all important at the moment. We have got to beat Burnley.

Hank3103

I know its a very small sample size but how cool did azeez look..really smart looking footballer.

allezkev

A very enjoyable stress free evening, glad to see Elneny score he’s such a good player to have around, no dramas from him he just gets on with it.

A Voice in the Noise

I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I thought Cedric was really solid throughout tonight. Alert defensively, took on players, dangerous crosses and better set-piece delivery than Luiz and Nelson combined. Bellerin may want to look over his shoulder.

Good win for the lad’s, proud to see the youngsters impressing! Also, Balogun.. What a unit

Laca New Signing

I agree. Cedric should be starting ahead of Bellerin in the Premier League

THE Handbrake

Well it looks like we’re by far the greatest team the world has ever seen again!

Twatsloch

We’re gonna win everything! Nothing can stop us now!

Hank Scorpio

Balogun continues to impress. It would be a shame to lose him. Hopefully we can sort his contract

RockyRog58

Yup it was Dundalk but Azeez looked a class act ESR AMN excellent but Balogun is ready NOW ! You can’t coach that belief & swagger get him in the team and let the youngsters grow On a poor note err our Icelanderish keeper. We need bigger & better

Bossman Bill

*Icelandian

Kostas

At least we have Europa Legue…

I have to admit that despite the hoy I was annoyed by our defending at the Goals. Especially with the header of the second from someone at least a head shorter than Mari…

Fireman Sam

Yes but that hoy was bothersome

Sylvain Won'tord

Yeah if we just could play dundalk all season and this (i assume) south American commentator could call the game (his pronunciation of chambers was just lovely) then 2020 would be saved

K-Gooner

Just play this team in EPL and see what happens. The worst that could happen is loose 3 points, which is happening anyway?

Nice to see us score 4 goals by the way! COYG

Botafoguense

Just love seeing the joy on Mo’s face after scoring that screamer. Straight up heartwarming.

Cultured Determination

This is what we can do when we have no snailxhaka and crapllian. Just put AMN and elneny in midfield for the next game please.

Baichung Bhutia

The youngsters are really taking the opportunities in Europa league. Also after this game, can guess the team at the weekend.

Leno
Bulletin Holding Gabriel Tierney
Ceballos Elneny Xhaka
Willian Laca Auba

Jeremy DG

Can you guess the result and the performance too? I can…

Hank Scorpio

I’m going with one of 1-1, 0-0 or 0-1 with an 80th minute substitution involving Nketiah coming on for Laca. Post match we’ll here the phrases “we dominated” and “we need to score goals”.

Ben EagerBeaver

Unpopular opinion: Azeez >>> Xhaka

Bossman Bill

Not unpopular

Santori

Playing in europa minnows league. TBH we should be rolling any of these teams over.

Good win for second team and youngsters to build some confidence but anyone under delusion that just bc we can do this in europa means same players can replicate in PL need to get their heads examined.

How far our standards have dropped.

Santori

We will face stronger opponents next round and likely won’t get far. Spurs, Leicester through there are teams dropping down from the CL (We don’t care about United of course) and some surprise packages like Ajax or AC Milan. Enjoy the ride but likely many of these second string players will start to see less feature. How we continue to develop them is important, some of the better ones need to rotate and feature in PL to sustain some first team players next round in europa considering level of opposition. In that : AMN looks like a good bet at… Read more »

Storm

Good win. Not surprising that only these kind matches are more palatable. Hope we can play more of these players who actually perform. But reality is that we’ll be now off to another PL weekend with Willian, Xhaka and Holding.

Mizog

Listen I’m not writing him off but our keeper looked shit 🤦

Gervinho

Hahaha a little harsh on Elneny. I didn’t think his celebration was that crazy. Must have felt good to smash the ball into the net like that.

Jimbo1

Balogun looks a prospect and Elneny and Maitland-Niles must be worth a run in the starting line up for Premier League games. Just hope Leno never gets injured as Runnarson looks easy to score against. He seems to lack spring and stretch meaning he is not stopping anything unless it is straight at him. Mat Macey might be a better back up.

Trigg27

I have a new hobby – watching matches with subtitles on. (Nothing to do with my wife complaining about the noise, obviously)

From the commentary, Tableau Memory had a great game for us

Jan

Your goal videos are getting deleted…