FC Vorskla durch technik
Updated: Oct 12
Arsenal 4-2 FC Vorskla
Ahh the Europa League, Spursday night football, with it's strange away kits, noisy fans, empty seats, google searches and half hearted celebrations, you've got love it.... right?
Pre-match for me meant a trip to Shoreditch. Ahh Snoreditch all long beards, short trousers and difficult to pronounce beers, you've got to love it ...right? The sights and smells! I was met with an impromptu burlesque photo shoot and a bloke wearing a jacket covered in cacti within the first 3 minutes of leaving the station. Was I out of place wearing my M&S blue jumper in the impossibly trendy Owl & Pussycat pub an hour later?
The only thing missing was Jeremy Corybn.... Snorbyn in Snoreditch? (Stop it!).
The team news presented no real surprises as Unai Emery rang the changes, Leno getting his first match between the sticks, Lichstenier, Torriera and Holding all starting;
Leno, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Sokratis, Monreal, Torreira, Elneny, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck, Aubameyang
Arsenal started the game with a backdrop of emptiness and it showed a bit in their play. Some may say 20k possibly 25k, the club no doubt will head towards the 30k mark but it was defiantly red seat day at the Emirates. Possession and slow laboured passing dominated the early stages as Arsenal went from side to side whilst the Ukrainian's put in a disciplined performance of defending without really attempting to probe. Predictably it's when they did decide to show a bit of belief that Arsenal took the lead. Mkhitaryan picking up a loose pass and finding Iwobi out on the left who played a perfect pass to the back post where Aubameyang finshed neatly. 1-0 to the Arsenal, Iwobi playing hard and loving his work....
After that there were fine efforts from Torriera, Mkhitaryan, Sokratis and a lovely attempt by Aubameyang to do an 'Henry' finish but sadly none crossed the line meaning Arsenal headed into the break 1-0 up but wondering how many could they get if the floodgates opened.
It didn't take long, 2 minutes into the second half to be exact when Welbeck made it 2-0. Iwobi dilly dallying out on the left and eventually finding Danny who headed home.
The pressure then built for number three as Vorskla's heads and legs dropped, Aubameyang guilty of missing two chances before exchanging passes with Mkhitaryan, Mikki going for a 'one two' but Auba having none of it, clipping round the keeper. 3-0 Arsenal.
Torriera was replaced by Guendouzi and Smith Rowe got a run out as Lacazette decided to do something less boring instead.
Smith Rowe and Guendouzi were both looking comfortable, the young 18yrd old englishman in particular looks a real prospect, quick feet and dynamic, not phased by this competition at all considering it's a 'step up', Guendouzi was just producing the Side Bob Show we all know and love. On 73 mins it became 4-0 Ozil with a simple tap in and the game was up, clean sheet on way, easy trip to Highbury & Islington station.....
What followed was Arsenal slipping out of fourth gear and into second 15 minutes before reaching the roundabout. Sloppiness crept in and mistakes by Lichstenier and Sokratis gave the scoreline and performance a different feel. 4-2? really? It left a bad taste in the mouth, the type you get at the end of a pint of Guinness, but a win is a win and we will all enjoy another Guinness on the weekend!
Positives: Aubameyang up front, Iwobi energy, Torriera as the pivot, Cameos from Smith Rowe and Guendouzi.
Negatives: A clean sheet please!!
LOL moments: Torriera tackling with his head, I love this guy!
Leno: Nothing he could do about the goals, distributed well, no dwelling like Cech. 7/10
Lichtsteiner: Did ok apart from one costly error, got a good booking. 6/10
Holding: Best defender on the night, looked comfortable at this level. 7/10
Monreal: Comfortable. 6/10
Torreira: Looked good as a pivot and tackles like Keown!. 8/10
Elneny: Did ok at this level. 5/10
Iwobi: Lots of energy and loved his own assist. 7/10
Mkhitaryan: Worked hard and involved in our best moments. 7/10
Welbeck: Ran around a lot and scored. 7/10
Aubameyang: Two good finishes. MOM: 8/10
SUBS: Guendouzi & Smith Rowe: great cameos. 7/10 Ozil: scored 7/10
Up Next Everton at home, will Unai Emery be influenced by the Europa League performance? Only time will tell!
Is it Friday?