Arsenal 3-0 Bodo/Glimt: Gunners maintain fine form with a comfortable win over Norwegians in the Europa League… with Eddie Nketiah, Rob Holding and Fabio Vieira all on target
- Arsenal beat Bodo/Glimt 3-0 in the Europa League at the Emirates on Thursday
- Eddie Nketiah opened the scoring before Rob Holding doubled their lead
- Mikel Arteta’s side go top of Group A after two wins from two games
- Fabio Vieira again impressed for the Gunners, contributing a goal and an assist
You imagine this chapter might be airbrushed from Bodo/Glimt folklore before too long. Their rise to the top of Norwegian football – and the upper echelons of European competition – has included some astonishing and memorable nights. Alas, this one had no fairytale ending.
Instead, it proved a comfortable evening for Arsenal, one that bodes well at the start of a punishing month for Mikel Arteta’s side. Sunday-Thursday-Sunday is their schedule between now and the World Cup and navigating that will require players on the fringes of Arteta’s squad to prove their worth.
Plenty did last night, including Eddie Nketiah whose first-half goal put Arsenal in command. And Fabio Vieira, who is still acclimatising to life in north London but who created Arsenal’s second for Rob Holding before scoring their third following a brilliant run by Gabriel Jesus.
Arsenal beat Bodo/Glimt 3-0 in the Europa League on Thursday to go top of Group A
Eddie Nketiah opened the scoring for the Gunners after Kieran Tierney’s effort hit the post
That was enough to take Arsenal above Glimt to the top of Group A. Six points from six. They lead the Premier League too. It really has been a fabulous start to the season and last night, the invention and intensity with which this much-changed team played augurs well. Eight changes in personnel but no huge disruption to their dominance.
Far, far stiffer tests lie in wait, of course. Starting on Sunday, when Liverpool visit here. And next week when in the return leg, beneath the mountains of north Norway, Glimt can call on even more of their raucous supporters.
Last night, the visitors did improve after the break. But rarely were Arsenal pressed out of third gear. Perhaps that should come as little surprise. After all, you could fit the entire population of Bodo in here and still have space for 10,000 empty seats. As it was, around 1 in 15 of the fishing town’s inhabitants ventured from above the Arctic Circle to the Emirates. They were in early, too: an hour before kick-off, the away end was already a bouncing wall of yellow.
Rob Holding doubled Arsenal’s lead after a fine ball from Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira
Brazilian summer signing Marquinhos was given another start during Thursday’s game
Glimt’s players, on the other hand, found it rather trickier to navigate the streets of north London: their bus broke down, some players were hauled on to minivans. Others had to walk.
Greeting the Norwegian champions was a vastly different Arsenal to the one that dispatched Tottenham here on the weekend.
That meant welcome starts for the likes of Nketiah and Kieran Tierney who combined – of sorts – to give Arsenal the lead. It came midway through the first half, after Gabriel Martinelli drove into the Glimt half and fed Tierney. The left back’s rasping effort cannoned off the post, into the path of Nketiah, who rearranged his feet quite brilliantly to steer in a 12th goal in his past 15 starts.
Arsenal should have had a second shortly after. Vieira had already squandered one glorious opportunity before his next effort was smothered by Glimt goalkeeper Nikita Haikin. But no matter. Moments later, the Portuguese midfielder crossed for Holding to head home.
Arsenal go top of Group A in the Europa League after the win over the Norwegian outfit
Since promotion to Norway’s top flight in 2017, Kjetil Knutsen’s fearless football has brought back-to-back titles and a 6-1 drubbing of Jose Mourinho’s Roma last season. Last night, however, Arsenal could have hit half a dozen in the first-half alone, had Granit Xhaka’s free kick not been tipped over. Had Nketiah not been foiled, too. Or had Vieira not wasted another chance.
It never seemed likely that they would rue those misses but credit Glimt – Knutsen’s team emerged with much more vigour and threat. It didn’t amount to much – Matt Turner in the Arsenal was forced into one sharp save and Holding had to scramble a ball off the line in injury time. In between those rare openings, the best chances of the second half fell to Arsenal. First Nketiah blazed over before substitute Jesus brilliantly weaved his way along the byline to find Vieira, who secured a first home European victory in four matches, ending Arsenal’s worst run since 2003. On this evidence they won’t be waiting long for another.
Follow Sportsmail’s live blog with Will Pickworth to relive tonight’s Europa League group stage clash between Arsenal and Bodo/Glimt.