MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 3 – 0 Bodo/Glimt

Arsenal (2) 3 FC Bodø/Glimt (0) 0

Europa League, Group Stage Matchday 2 of 6

Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU

Thurrsday, 6th October 2023. Kick-off time: 8.00pm

(4-3-3) Matt Turner; Takehiro Tomiyasu, Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalhães, Kieran Tierney; Fabio Vieira, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Granit Xhaka (c); (Marcus Vinicius Oliveira Alencar) Marquinhos, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli.

Substitutes: Aaron Ramsdale; Ben White, Thomas Partey, Bukayo Saka, Martin Ødegaard, Gabriel Jesus, William Saliba, Cédric Soares, Reiss Nelson, Karl Hein, Catalin Cirjan, Matt Smith.

Scorers: Eddie Nketiah (23 mins), Rob Holding (27 mins), Fabio Vieira (84 mins)

Yellow Cards: Granit Xhaka

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 49%

Referee: Harms Osmers (Germany)

Assistant Referees: Robert Kempter (Germany), Dominik Schaal (Germany)

Fourth Official: Robert Schröder (Germany)

VAR Team at UEFA HQ, Nyon, Switzerland: VAR Robert Schröder (Germany); AVAR Ovidiu Hategan (Romania)

UEFA Referee Observer: Nuno Parreira De Castro (Portugal) 

UEFA Delegate: Vilmos Szabó (Hungary)

Attendance: circa 50,000

For tonight’s match, Mikel Arteta has made eight team changes from the last gameh against Tottenham Hotspur last Ssaturday. After a fabulous win for the boys in the aforementioned North London derby, they should be fired up for this evening’s game here at the Emirates against our Norwegian visitors.

Arsenal started off the proceedings reasonably casually, it has to be said. However, the early stages of the match were spent in the visitors’ half and we appear to not have too may issues in finding our players as our passing looks crisp and accurate. After five minutes, our first real chance came as Eddie Nketiah ran forward, cut in and then curled a lovely shot just wide of the far post from about twenty yards out. Granit Xhaka found Kieran Tierney down the left wing; he crossed and it was deflected out to Fabio Vieira, who controlled the ball nicely on his chest and hit a half-volley which just nicked the top of the crossbar. We are just sinply stroking the ball around with confidence, awaiting for a chance to score, which must surely come soon. After some unlucky misses from Eddie Nketiah and Granit Xhaka, the former hit the back of the net after twenty-three minutes. We counter-attacked at pace and Gabriel Martinelli found Kieran Tierney in space; he immediately hit the far post with an excellent shot from a tight angle, only for the waiting Eddie Nketiah racing quickly to sweep in the rebound. Four minutes later, we grabbed a second goal when a poor Fabio Vieira corner was kindly headed back out to him. He whipped in a nice sweeping cross which Rob Holding headed into the bottom corner superbly. After the second goal, we kept up the pressure, and after thirty five minutes, Gabriel Martinelli lobbed the ball to Granit Xhaka, whose drive is tipped over the bar by the goalkeeper, and as the minutes were ticking away towards the half-time whistle, we are in complete control of this game with not too many issues at all, it has to be said. Three mintues before half-time, Granit Xhaka pointlessly received a yellow card for handling the ball when he slipped over, and on the cusp of half time, Fabio Vieira almost made it three from an excellent Granit Xhaka cutback and it curled just wide of the post. After just a minute of injury time, referee Harms Osmers from Germany blew the whistle to bring matters to a close for the first half.

Just after the restart, two chances appeared for us, merely thirty seconds into the game. Granit Xhaka’s drive was parried by the keeper and Marquinhos headed the rebound wide. Arsenal then allowed Glimt to come back into the match with Hugo Vetlesen’s shot from about twenty yards forced Matt Turner into an easy enough save. The visitors are starting to get things together, and after Matt Turner made a superb save from Amahl Pellegrino, Just before the hour mark, Mikel Arteta made a triple substitution with Gabriel Martinelli, Granit Xhaka and Marquinhos being replaced by Gabriel Jesus, Martin Ødegaard (who received the captain’s armband from Granit Xhaka) and Bukayo Saka. The difference was obvious, as the substitutes breathed new life into the team, who flagging a wee bit, to be fair. Gabriel Jesus is shaking up matters, with his off the ball running and inspirational play. Kieran Tierney was replaced by Ben White with twenty minutes of the game remaining, and just after he stepped onto the pitch, a Glimt attack was allowed to continue (despite a clear offside call) and Ulrik Saltnes eventually shot over the bar before the linesman’s flag goes appeared. Martin Ødegaard slotted the ball to Eddie Nketiah with a perfect pass; he took a couple of steps, casually took a couple of touches, saws the ’keeper off his line and his subsequent shot flew over the bar. With ten minutes of the game remaining, Eddie Nketiah was replaced by Reiss Nelson, and three minutes later, we finally scored our third goal of the night, and what a goal it was, too! Gabriel Jesus received the ball from a throw-in and moved and swerved past two defenders with quick feet before pulling the ball back to Fabio Vieira, who lifted a shot into the roof of the net from six yards. Not wanting to rest on their laurels, the boys came back looking for more goals, and Reiss Nelson suddenly cut in and almost scored his first Arsenal goal since 2020 (which was against another Norwegian side in Mølde) but his shot was blocked, which was a shame. On the ninetieth minute, Glimt looked like he was about to score with Ulrik Saltnes trying his best but Matt Turner saved and the loose ball wass cleared off the line by Rob Holding. The three minutes’ injury was a simply matter of containment and the boy cruised to a comfortable win tonight.

Tonight’s victory means that Arsenal have attained nine wins from ten games from all competitions this season, and we have kept ouir first clean sheet at the Emirates since a 2-0 Premier League victory against Leicester in March. Everyone did well tonight, and from what we can see, nobody picked up any silly injuries before the Liverpool match on Sunday afternoon. Should be a cracker! Lastly, young Eddie Nketiah is the first player to score in four successive European starts for Arsenal since Lukas Podolski in December 2014. Looking good.

Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Liverpool at the Emirates on Sunday, 9th October at 4.30pm (Premier League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon

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