Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners against Norwegian outfit Molde on Thursday evening, qualifying for the last 32 of the Europa League in the process.
The north London side were lively from the outset, with Reiss Nelson and Nicolas Pepe looking threatening, though Mikel Arteta’s men spurned a number of chances in the first half and lacked the killer instinct.
The Gunners’ intensity improved after the break and they made the breakthrough with Pepe’s fine effort. Nelson was rewarded not long after as he got his name on the scoresheet after being set up nicely by Joe Willock, who claimed his second assist of the game.
Substitute Folarin Balogun turned and finished only minutes after coming on, helping to seal a deserved 3-0 win for Arsenal.
Here are your player ratings for Arteta’s side.
Runar Runarsson (GK) – 6/10 – Showed his inexperience at times throughout the match and rushed out of his goal. Also passed the ball to under pressure teammates on the edge of his own box.
Cedric Soares (RB) – 7/10 – Got forward well and tried his best to feed Pepe wherever possible. Wasn’t really tested defensively and will be glad to get the minutes under his belt.
Shkodran Mustafi (CB) – 6/10 – Looked comfortable next to Luiz and later Rob Holding. He continuously organised those around him and showed his leadership after both Luiz and Xhaka were substituted.
David Luiz (CB) – 6/10 – There was nothing Luiz could do to stop the ball hitting his arm from a Molde corner and appeals were rightly waved away. Took a blow to the head and was substituted at half time.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (LB) – 6/10 – Played out of his usual position for most of the game before moving into midfield late into the second half. He was unlucky not to score early on as his cross-turned-shot was tipped over the bar. Got forward wherever possible and linked up well with the lively Reiss Nelson.
Joe Willock (CM) – 8/10 – His cute left-footed cross was on a plate for Pepe and helped give his side a deserved lead. Willock once again teed up a teammate with an inch perfect pass right into Nelson’s feet on the edge of the six-yard box.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – 7/10 – Showed aggression in midfield and put himself about winning the ball back for his team. Made an important block in the first half and tried to get his side on the front foot wherever possible.
Nicolas Pepe (RW) – 9/10 – Consistently tried to cut inside onto his stronger left and caused Molde a defensive headache throughout. Struck the bar in the second half before finding the net a few minutes later with a cool slotted effort into the top corner.
Reiss Nelson (LW) – 8/10 – Was lively in the opening stages and struck a chance straight at the goalkeeper after a neat one-two with Lacazette. Looked a threat with both his crossing and movement and got the goal he deserved in the second half.
Alexandre Lacazette (SS) – 6/10 – Operated in the number ten role behind Nketiah and was involved in a number of Arsenal’s chances in the first half. Was denied a great goal by the Molde goalkeeper after the break and was substituted after failing to make an impact in the second half.
Eddie Nketiah (ST) – 6/10 – Lacked chemistry with Lacazette at times and was unlucky to have a goal ruled out for offside just after Pepe’s goal. Spurned a great headed chance after a promising counter attack and struggled to test the goalkeeper.
Rob Holding (CB) – 6/10 – Was put under pressure by his goalkeeper after receiving a pass while being pursued on the edge of his own box and was lucky not to give a goal away.
Dani Ceballos (CM) – 6/10 – Didn’t make a huge impact on the game since coming on.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – 7/10 – Played a part in Arsenal’s third goal after getting down the left flank and teeing up a team-mate. He was another who tried to get Arsenal on the front foot wherever possible
Emile Smith-Rowe (CM) – 7/10 – Set up Balogun for Arsenal’s third after being played in by Tierney. He got forward wherever possible and helped pile on the pressure late on.
Folarin Balogun (ST) – 7/10 – Scored minutes after coming on and turned his defender easily and finished impressively. That goal will be a huge confidence boost for the youngster.