Arsenal beat Dundalk 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
After slipping to a poor home defeat against Leicester in the most recent round of Premier League fixtures, Arsenal took on their Irish opponents for the first time in their history in the second round of their Europa League campaign.
It started off incredibly slowly, with plenty of probing around the box for large spells without producing anything noteworthy. There was just one shot on target before goalkeeper Gary Rogers’ error from a corner presented Nketiah with the chance to fire home. Willock’s calm finish after the ball fell to him put Arsenal two in front just before the break.
Nicolas Pepe scored a quite sublime goal less than a minute after the restart, a goal that sealed the points Arsenal were already on course to secure.
Dominating the ball from thereon in, there were no further goals to come on a comfortable night for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Alex Runarsson (GK) – 6/10 – It’s very hard to judge the Icelandic goalkeeper on his debut for the club given he had so little to do. Was understandably nervous at the start when he pushed a long range drive out for a corner despite it already going wide.
Cedric Soares (RB) – 6/10 – Stretched the play well down the right side and produced a few wayward crosses, but Dundalk’s ten men behind the ball prevented him from being able to influence much in an attacking sense.
Shkodran Mustafi (CB) – 6/10 – As with his central defensive partner, Mustafi was starved of much action at his end of the pitch. Even fancied himself making a few runs down the right to spark some life into the opening periods. Taken off early to rest ahead of Old Trafford since, y’know, there is nobody else.
Granit Xhaka (CB) – 7/10 – If he wasn’t so slow, he could re-imagine himself as a ball playing centre-back. Well, perhaps not, but he had all the time in the world to feed the midfielders with Dundalk content to allow Arsenal all the time they wanted on the ball.
Sead Kolasinac (LB) – 7/10 – Willing to run beyond the last line of defence, it was a lively showing from Kolasinac who overlapped well and essentially played as a left-winger all evening.