Arsenal opened their Europa League account with a win over Vorskla with Aubameyang, Ozil and Welbeck among scorers.
Arsenal began their Europa League campaign with a fantastic and comfortable win at home to Ukrainian outfit Vorskla. A 4-2 scoreline, but Vorskla did put in a disciplined, concentrated performance in the first half, which ended with Arsenal in the lead, courtesy of a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang strike.
The second half was a different story, as Arsenal quickly gained control with two goals early on after the restart, as Danny Welbeck added to his tally and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a second. Mesut Ozil then came off the bench to add a fourth for Arsenal, but late in the game, Vorskla exploited the Gunners defence to score twice.
In the end, Arsenal began their Europa League campaign with a win after Unai Emery fielded a strong side. But like last weekend, when everyone just thought Arsenal might keep a clean sheet, after all, Vorskla scored. Let’s see how the Arsenal players rated during their 4-2 win over Vorskla.
Bernd Leno – 7
A rather quiet first game for Bernd Leno in an Arsenal shirt. The keeper barely had anything to stop for the whole evening. But during his time, he did take the opportunity to display his play with the ball at his feet. His distribution was precise and quick, especially to the full backs.
In the end, like Cech, he did not manage to keep a clean sheet, although the two goals Vorskla scored were not of his doing.
Stephan Lichtsteiner – 7
Another new Arsenal signing making his first start, but a rather impressive one here. Lichtsteiner was a significant presence in attack and defence both, balancing both sides of the game expertly. There were moments during the game where one could see his defensive instincts come into play and showed how brilliant his positioning was to avoid dangerous situations.
Got an assist for the fourth goal, but it was his lack of control on the ball that led to Vorskla’s first goal.
Rob Holding – 6
An elegant game from the Englishman. His range and accuracy with passing and possession cannot go unnoticed, but he was barely tested on the night. He could be a useful asset for the team against teams that do not have the pace to exploit defences. Made over 100 passes with 94% accuracy, as he was more like the defensive Granit Xhaka.
Sokratis – 7.5
Sokratis marshalled the Arsenal defence pretty well. Showed some tenacity with many hard tackles to stop pacey attackers to make their move. It was his neat pass that was key to Ozil scoring off a Lichtstenier cross.
Nacho Monreal – 6
As for Arsenal’s overall defence, they did not have much to do all night, except for those two goals. Monreal controlled his side of the pitch well, not letting any counter-attacking opportunities fall Vorskla’s way. Did some excellent attacking runs into the final third as well.
Lucas Torreira – 7.5
An excellent first start for Torreira, but it was marred by an injury that saw him being substituted before the 60th-minute mark. But for his time on the pitch, Torreira was instrumental in controlling the tempo of the game, with his more direct, fast-paced passing.
Torreira also showed his eye for a killer pass with many over the top attempts, while one such pass almost found Lichtsteiner in the first half.
Mohamed Elneny – 6
Tidy as always, Elneny supported Torreira for much of the game by being the deepest midfielder in the central area. There were moments when it seemed that he was trying too hard sometimes. But overall was decent enough for his first start of the season.
Alex Iwobi – 8.5
Arsenal fans must be wondering where is this side of Iwobi when they need it. Alex Iwobi was Arsenal’s best performer, with brilliant dribbling, direct approach and always tormenting the Vorskla defence. Created Arsenal’s first goal and even came close to scoring one himself, which would have been deserving for his display. Man of the match!
Danny Welbeck – 6
Not his best game or performance per say, but he got a goal to his name. A top header into the net from a high-class delivery from Mkhitaryan. Otherwise, his passing and positioning was questionable to an extent but did support his fellow attackers well at times.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 8
In the build-up to the game, we had suggested that Emery might want to try Mkhitaryan in the No.10 role and he did. Mkhitaryan, after a few quiet games in the Premier League, exploded on to the scene and played a significant part of Arsenal’s attack. Got two assists to his name in the end and could have scored himself only for the Vorskla keeper to palm his curling effort away.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 8
Aubameyang’s finish is unquestionable, yet there were suggestions that the striker was out of form. The two goals against Vorskla should keep critics silent for some time, but these are games that spurn on some strikers, and hopefully, this was the start of Aubameyang’s season for Arsenal.
Mesut Ozil – 7.5
A different approach from Ozil against Vorskla saw him get into right positions and his passing was sharp as well. Ozil scored the fourth goal for his team in the end.
Matteo Guendouzi – 7
The youngster came on and kept things ticking although the match was nearly won at that stage. His passes were sharp as was his direct approach which is something he has not shown much in other games yet.
Emile Smith-Rowe – 7
If Arsenal’s future looks like this, then they do have a bright one ahead. Smith-Rowe was a livewire, trying to get into positions both defensively and attacking wise. His movements with the ball were, and performances like these could give him more opportunities this season with the first team.