The attackers made all the difference as Arsenal secure a convincing 4-1 win over Rapid Wien in the Europa League.
Arsenal maintained their hundred percent winning record in the UEFA Europa League by registering a 4-1 win over Rapid Wien at the Emirates on Thursday.
The Gunners were utterly dominant right from the beginning, showing excellent fluidity and pace with respect to their attacking game. They were also solid at the back, with the full-backs offering additional support to the two central defenders.
Arsenal were rewarded for their efforts as well, with Alexandre Lacazette opening the scoring with an incredible long-range effort. It was followed by Pablo Mari’s header in the 18th minute before Eddie Nketiah provided additional gloss to the scoreline just before half-time, as the hosts headed in the second half with a 3-0 lead.
A goal from Koya Kitagawa early on after the restart did provide a scare or two. But, Arsenal responded well, maintaining the lion’s share of possession and restricting the opposition from exploiting any sort of space in their own half. As such, Kitagawa’s goal only proved to be a consolation, especially after Emile Smith Rowe scored the fourth goal midway through the second half.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Arsenal players following their convincing victory over Rapid Wien on Thursday.
Runar Alex Runarsson 5/10
Runar Alex Runarsson, making his third appearance for Arsenal, did not have much to do for large periods of the game as Rapid Wien provided very little threat going forward. However, the Icelandic international will be disappointed that he could not keep out Kitagawa early on in the second half. It was the first goal he has conceded for his new club.
Cedric Soares: 7.5/10
Cedric Soares was a constant source of offensive support on the right flank for Arsenal in this game. In fact, it was one of his best performances for Arsenal, as the Portuguese international looked neat and tidy with his forward passes. He was decent defensively as well, although he could have done a little better in dealing with Kitagawa.
Shkodran Mustafi: 6.5/10
Shkodran Mustafi was helpless in stopping Rapid Wien from rampaging forward during the goal. That was, however, a minor blip in an otherwise decent defensive display.
Pablo Mari: 7.5/10
Pablo Mari marked his return to the pitch with a truly excellent display in central defence. The Spaniard was a vital cog in the Arsenal backline, particularly with his passes and long balls. It made the transition easier for the home while the defender also produced an accurate header to score the second goal of the night.
Arsenal's 2nd goal against Rapid Vienna.
Arsenal 2 vs Rapid Vienna 0. (18mins).
— Bishop (@JULY28CEO) December 3, 2020
Sead Kolasinac: 7/10
Arsenal’s right-sided overload meant Sead Kolasinac played in a more conservative role on the left flank. He did not march forward as much and instead did most of the defensive work. The Bosnian international deserves a lot of credit for making two goal-line blocks early on in the second half, although to his misfortune, the rebound of the second block found Kitagawa.
Mohamed Elneny: 7.5/10
Mohamed Elneny started for the first time since contracting COVID-19 last month. The Egyptian did not disappoint either, keeping things neat and tidy in the middle of the park. He was taken off around the hour mark and it will be interesting to see whether or not he will start against Tottenham this weekend, especially with Thomas Partey out injured.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 8/10
Ainsley Maitland-Niles started in a bizarre central midfield role, but it slowly became evident that the Englishman was operating almost as an attacking midfielder. He did a great job as well, linking up well with his teammates in the final third and notably providing the assist for Smith Rowe’s goal. Deserved a goal himself too.
Nicolas Pepe: 8.5/10
It was one of Nicolas Pepe’s best performances in an Arsenal shirt. The Ivorian showed something he had lacked throughout his time at the Emirates so far and that is patience and determination.
Nicolas Pépé and Reiss Nelson managed to create 11 chances between them Today. This wing partnership 🤩 pic.twitter.com/wlaLRDdpkS
— Rocky (@AFCRocky_) December 3, 2020
Although the winger was selfish on a couple of occasions, he was always on the lookout for any kind of mistake from the Rapid Wien defenders. As such, he played a key role in the build-up for the fourth goal and was overall quite influential in the final third.
Reiss Nelson: 7.5/10
Reiss Nelson was arguably the least impressive attacker in this match, which explains a lot about Arsenal’s performance against Rapid Wien as the Englishman was quite influential. He did a great job of keeping Rapid Wien defenders occupied by making a lot of movements and combining well with teammates, especially in the first half and his combination play with Pepe was lethal.
Alexandre Lacazette: 8.5/10
Alexandre Lacazette’s effort from range was simply a delight to watch. The Frenchman was indeed in top form in this game, showcasing tremendous work-rate. His link-up play was also on the mark, with the striker notably initiating the attack that led to the third goal from Nketiah. It appears Lacazette might just make it into the starting lineup against Tottenham on Sunday.
Great GOAL! Alexandre Lacazette 10' ⚽️
— noobfcb (@noob_fcb) December 3, 2020
Eddie Nketiah: 8.5/10
While Lacazette was a menace for the Rapid Wien defenders, it was Nketiah who truly made life difficult for them with a series of movements across the final third. He was also vital to the first line of press, often pressuring the two centre-backs into releasing the ball early and the youngster was duly rewarded as he scored the third goal.
Dani Ceballos: 7/10
Dani Ceballos replaced Elneny around the hour mark, providing a hint of craft and guile in the middle of the park. The Spaniard did indeed look quite dynamic, delivering a couple of useful forward passes. It was enough to keep the opposition occupied during the final phase of the game.
Willian replaced the ineffective Nelson around the hour mark, but failed to make an impact on the proceedings. The Brazilian once again failed to provide any penetration, perhaps due to his inability to take on defenders.
Emile Smith Rowe: 6.5/10
Made his second appearance of the season by replacing Lacazette midway through the first half. He scored an easy tap in minutes after coming on.
Calum Chambers: 6/10
Made his return from a long spell on the sidelines by replacing Mustafi during the final phase of the game. Kept things tidy at the back, alongside Mari, another player who marked his return to the pitch on Thursday.
Folarin Balogun: N/A
A late replacement for Nketiah. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.