Post-Match Report

Match report: Arsenal 4-1 Molde

Nicolas Pepe

Molde FK -

Emirates Stadium
Europa League
Europa League
  Arsenal
      
                  K. Haugen (45 + 1 og)
                   S. Sinyan (62 og)
                   Pepe (69)
                   Willock (88)
            
   crest
Arsenal
K. Haugen (45 + 1 og)
S. Sinyan (62 og)
Pepe (69)
Willock (88)
4 1
  Molde FK
      
              M. Ellingsen (22)
          
   crest
Molde FK
M. Ellingsen (22)

REPORT

By Chris Harris
 

WHAT HAPPENED

 
Two own goals and fine finishes from Nicolas Pepe and Joe Willock saw us come from behind to maintain our impeccable record in the Europa League.
 
Martin Ellingsen gave Molde a shock lead in north London but two of his team-mates scored at the other end - both forced into mistakes by the outstanding Willock.
 
Pepe's crisp first-time finish from Bukayo Saka's cut-back put us completely in charge, and Willock scored late on to leave us within touching distance of the knockout stages.
 
Fireworks crackled in the sky over Emirates Stadium as the UK marked Bonfire Night, but down on the pitch we lacked our usual spark in first half.
 
Pepe did set up an early chance for Eddie Nketiah, his shot diverted wide by the feintest of touches from goalkeeper Andreas Linde.
 
Aside from that we were pretty flat and we paid the price when Molde snatched the lead.
 
Bernd Leno's clearance to Nketiah was headed away and, with our defence out of position, Ellingsen advanced to curl a left-footer past Leno from range.
 
We needed something to ignite us in the final third and, on the stroke of half-time, Willock obliged with a determined run into the box to meet Nketiah's square pass after Granit Xhaka led a breakaway. In trying to keep the ball from Willock, Kristoffer Haugen touched it past his own keeper.
 
We went up a gear in the second half and forced Molde back. Sead Kolasinac looked certain to put us ahead when Linde palmed Willock's cross to his feet, but he got under the ball and shot over.
 
We quickly made amends thanks to another burst into the box from Willock. This time the midfielder linked up with Xhaka and regained his balance after stumbling to fire the ball across goal. Sheriff Sinyan waved a leg at it and we had our second own goal.
 
Molde retained a threat on the break through the pacy Mathis Bolly, but we were well on top by now.
 
Pepe put the result beyond doubt, and Willock finally got the goal he deserved with a deft first touch and unerring finish after Pepe had played him in.
 
 

HOW IT HAPPENED

 Get the full story of Thursday’s game with our play-by-play updates
 
 

WHAT IT MEANS

 

Europa League Group Table

 
 

TEAM NEWS

 
Mikel Arteta spoke ahead of this game about "managing the minutes and exposure that we give to the players with the number of games that we have", so it was no surprise to see him ring the changes for our third Europa League group game.
 
Leno and Willian were the only two starters from the win at Manchester United who kept their places.
 
David Luiz returned from injury and Xhaka wore the captain's armband.
 
 

WHAT'S NEXT

 
Another international break looms, but before that we have one more game - against Aston Villa in the Premier League at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

 

 

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