Result: Arsenal 3-0 Bodø/Glimt
Competition: Europa League
Date: 6 October 2022
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Arsenal: Turner, Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Lokonga, Xhaka, Marquinhos, Vieira, Martinelli, Nketiah
Subs: Hein, White, Cedric, Saliba, Partey, Cirjan, Smith, Saka, Nelson, Ødegaard, Jesus
Arsenal made sure their first European game of the season at home was a happy one for the Emirates faithful as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Norwegian opposition Bodø/Glimt.
Mikel Arteta’s much changed side was full of hunger and totally dominated the first half, in-which most of the damage was done. Eddie Nketiah and Rob Holding provided the finishes as Fabio Vieira pulled the strings in midfield.
Vieira was rewarded for his excellent display late on, after a sensational run by Gabriel Jesus, to secure the win.
The Gunners finished the night top of their group, having taken maximum points from both their Europa League matches so far this season.
After the postponement of the PSV game, Arsenal finally looked to make it two in two in the Europa League group stages – following their opening win away to Zurich. It was the Marquinhos and Nketiah show that night and both started again, as Mikel Arteta made 8 changes to the side that beat Tottenham on the weekend.
Arsenal started the game very brightly, dominating possession and creating an early chance when Fabio Vieira brought a looping ball down in the box and tried to place the ball in the corner, but his shot was blocked.
Ten minutes in and Vieira was again at the heart of things as he latched onto Nketiah’s blocked effort – hitting the ball on the half-volley and seeing it clip the top of the crossbar on the way over. The Portuguese playmaker had just returned to the pitch having receiving treatment for a knock, but looked in the mood in front of the home crowd.
Then in the 22nd minute, Arsenal broke the deadlock. A lovely, breakaway move saw Gabriel Martinelli drive at the heart of Glimt’s defence before brilliantly releasing Kieran Tierney, who struck a powerful effort off the upright and the rebound was brilliantly dispatched, with some impressive control, by Eddie Nketiah. 1-0 Arsenal.
And just five minutes later, the Gunners doubled their lead through a Rob Holding header. A beautiful, whipped ball from Vieira was brilliantly glanced into the bottom corner by Holding, leaving the Glimt goalkeeper absolutely no chance. 2-0 Arsenal.
The referee opened his own account just past the half hour mark as he booked Wembangomo for a late challenge on the edge of Glimt’s penalty area. Granit Xhaka took the resulting free-kick and made Khaikin make a fine save, tipping the effort behind for a corner.
Xhaka received a yellow card of his own after pulling down his man around the centre-circle as Glimt looked to hit on the break. And Vieira had another chance just before half time, as the ball fell to him on the edge of the box, but lashed the effort just wide.
Fans were still returning to their seats as Arsenal threatened to score straight after the break. A brilliant solo run by Martinelli down the left hand side was followed by a low driven cross that fell to Xhaka, whose powerful effort was well saved.
But it was Glimt who enjoyed the lion’s share of possession early in the second half, finding much more space in midfield and thus were able to mount more meaningful attacks. Mvuka teased the travelling support after his fizzed cross was just out of reach for his teammates attacking the back post.
A few minutes later, Pellegrino had the best chance of the game for the visitors. He did well to work half a yard of space, before unleashing a low driven effort that was well saved by Matt Turner.
Arsenal’s drop in energy clearly didn’t sit well with Arteta, who readied a triple substitution. Marin Ødegaard, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus replaced Xhaka, Marquinhos and Martinelli just before the hour mark. Almost instantly, the Gunners looked more controlled and their press rejuvenated by the fresh legs and added quality.
A heart in mouth moment in the 73rd minute as Saka seemed to take a knock, seemingly wincing as he limped back into position. But Arsenal’s star-boy managed to walk it off, much to the fans’ relief.
Nketiah had a chance to double his tally with 12 minutes to go, as he found himself in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. But Eddie fluffed his lines this time around and fired well over the bar.
Vieira, who looked Man of the Match, finally got his goal in the 85th minute as Arsenal wrapped up the win. It was some absolutely irresistible work from Jesus down the byline that saw him weave past two defenders before finding Vieira, who clipped the ball into the top corner. 3-0 Arsenal.
Arsenal managed to control the final stages of the game with ease. Arteta couldn’t have asked for better preparation for the next game.
On Sunday, Arsenal welcome Liverpool to the Emirates as they look to make another statement and show just how much they’ve matured this season. You’d think a draw would be a decent result given recent years, but as Liverpool continue to waver, Arsenal might fancy their chances of taking all three points.