Arsenal booked their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League with a comfortable 3-0 win over Molde this evening.
Molde missed the first big chance when they somehow failed to convert into an empty net at the far post in the first half and Arsenal made them pay after breaking the deadlock shortly after half-time.
We came out strongly after the break and opened the scoring when Joe Willock found Nicolas Pepe with a deep cross and the Ivorian curled into the far corner with a lovely goal to make it 1-0 to Arsenal in the 50th minute.
The shackles were off and we doubled our advantage just a few minutes later. Willock was once again the architect as his cross was met by the on-rushing Reiss Nelson who made no mistake to make it 2-0.
Highly-rated youngster Folarin Balogun then came off the bench to make an instant impact as he made it 3-0. The teenager set himself up with a lovely touch before finding the back of the net to score his first goal in Arsenal’s first team shirt.
We eased to a 3-0 win that moves us on to 12 points in Group and secures safe passage to the knockout rounds as group winners.
Here are my ratings:
Runarsson 6/10 | Looked a little suspect at times. Was lucky not to concede when it was still 0-0 after rushing out his box only to miss the ball. Otherwise, relatively easy nights work.
Cedric 6/10 | A solid and unspectacular outing from Bellerin’s back-up. Didn’t put a foot wrong but never really caught the eye either.
Luiz 6/10 | Did alright in the opening 45 minutes before being taken off at the break with a knock.
Mustafi 7/10 | A very useful showing from the German. Comfortable at the back and kept Molde at bay with relative ease.
Maitland-Niles 7/10 | Linked up well with Nelson at times and was solid defensively. Good engine to get up and down the flank.
Xhaka 6/10 | Neat and tidy in possession to keep the game ticking over. No real eye-catching moments though.
Willock 8/10 | Another excellent display in Europe. Nice deep cross to find Pepe before he scored while he also assisted Nelson with a wonderful ball for Arsenal’s second minutes later.
Nelson 8/10 | Excellent performance. Lively in the first half when he was our most dangerous player and got a deserved goal with a simple finish to make it 2-0. Looked sharp.
Pepe 9/10 | Responded to his sending off in perfect fashion with a superb display. Went close with a superb long range effort that hit the underside of the bar before opening the scoring with a lovely finish. Teed-up Nketiah with a pin-point cross that should have made it 3-0. Put in a real shift. MOTM.
Nketiah 6/10 | Missed a great chance to make it 3-0 when he headed over from close range. Didn’t really take his chance as others did.
Lacazette 5/10 | Fairly quiet night for the stand-in skipper. Denied a much-needed goal by a superb save in the second half. Subbed
Holding 6/10 | Steady performance in the second half after replacing Luiz.
Ceballos 6/10 | No real impact.
Tierney 6/10 | Got a 15-minute run out.
Smith Rowe 6.5/10 | Nice cameo after setting-up Balogun for his goal.
Balogun /10 | Dream cameo from the youngster. Scored his first goal for the club just seconds after coming off the bench.
Watch the goals here: