Three things we noticed from our win in Baku

Sokratis celebrates his goal against Qarabag
Sokratis celebrates his goal against Qarabag

We made it eight wins in a row thanks to a 3-0 success at Qarabag on Thursday.

Sokratis, Emile Smith Rowe and Matteo Guendouzi all scored their first Arsenal goals and Bernd Leno also impressed for us as we maintained our recent unbeaten record in Baku. Read on to find out what we noticed from the game...


This was Unai Emery's 10th game as head coach, but the first he has gone into with a back three. With Sead Kolasinac now back from injury, he came into the side at left wing back, meaning Nacho Monreal was back as a central defender, playing to the left of Sokratis in the centre, and Rob Holding as the right-sided centre back.

The change of system gave the team more width, with Kolasinac especially marauding forward, creating four decent chances in the first half alone. Forty-six per cent of our attacks came down the left in the first half, compared to 26 per cent on the opposite flank.

Monreal was withdrawn at the interval, and the Gunners switched to a back four for the second half.

Unai Emery before our away Europa League match against Qarabag

Unai Emery has now won eight matches in a row



This was teenager Smith Rowe's first European start, and what a way to mark it.

It was only his third appearance in any competition for the first-team, and he became the youngest player to score for us since September 2011, aged just 18 and 43 days.

He lined up on the right up front in a 3-4-3 formation in the first half, and got on the end of several Kolasinac crosses in the opening 45 minutes. After 20 minutes, at full stretch on the slide, he could only shoot into the side netting. He then failed to connect properly with a volley after again being teed up by Kolasinac.

But on 53 minutes his moment arrived, and it was a goal made at our Hale End Academy. Alex Iwobi has also progressed through our youth ranks, and his throughball for Smith Rowe was perfectly weighted for the teenage to slide home.

He was soon to be replaced by Mesut Ozil, and can be thoroughly pleased with his night's work.

Emile Smith Rowe made history on Thursday night

Emile Smith Rowe made history on Thursday night


Nacho Monreal had played every minute of Arsenal's previous eight games - the only player to feature throughout last month - and after an impressive first half here, was withdrawn with maybe one eye on Sunday's game at Fulham.

But if he was feeling fatigued, he didn't show it.

Wearing the captain's armband again, and playing in central defence for the first time since last season, the Spaniard set up the first goal with a powerful header from Elneny's corner, while winning possession three times and making five defensive clearances in the opening 45 minutes.

He took more touches than anyone else during his time on the pitch. Once again this season, the 31 year old is proving to be Mr Reliable in the Arsenal defence.

Nacho Monreal first-half stats v Qarabag

Nacho Monreal impressed against Qarabag

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