Arsenal finish off perfect European group with win over Dundalk

Arsenal have dominated Dundalk to come away with a 4-2 victory.

victory in Dublin tonight, much like they controlled their other group matches also.

The Gunners have claimed 18 out of a possible 18 points from their group, while Molde have emerged out of the group with them.

Our side started this game in emphatic fashion, and barely allowed the Irish FAI champions out of their own half, and wasted little time in opening the scoring.

Eddie Nketiah was the man to break the deadlock as he became the club’s top goalscorer this term, as he dispossessed the defender’s clearance before running through on goal and lobbing the incoming goalkeeper.

It wasn’t long before we doubled our lead either, when Mo Elneny took on a long range effort, only to find the top right hand corner and leaving the Dundalk shotstopper without a hope.

Just as you were imagining a rout of a scoreline, the Irish hit back through Flores from a fair distance, and you could possibly argue that Runarsson should have done better to stop it.

The scores stayed at 2-1 going into the break, and they came out in the second half with less energy.

We retained possession well, but weren’t getting in behind and causing too many problems early in the half, but we moved to bring on Ceballos and Balogun on the hour mark to change things up, and it did.

The American-English forward is credited with the assist, as he set up Joe Willock to get his third goal of the competition, and he continued to look a threat throughout.

It was only right that he got himself on the scoresheet also, with Nicolas Pepe playing him through perfectly to calmly slot past the goalkeeper and into the side netting.

The goals were not done yet however, as Dundalk pulled back a late consolation to end the game at 4-2, and the Irish can hold their heads high for another gutsy performance against top level opponents.

Will Arteta have to sit up and take not of Balogun, or is the youngster still behind Nketiah in his expectations?

Patrick

59 Comments

  1. durand says:

    Balogun deserves sub minutes in the PL at least, he’s shown more in a short time than Nketiah. Also, his first touch and link up is way ahead of Nketiah, who can press and poach, that’s about it.
    Hopefully Balogun will sign an extension, and Nketiah can go on loan to show if he has the stuff to succeed at Arsenal or not.

    1. Sid says:

      Yeah, Balogun is good for link ups and fashioning chances. Maybe Eddie and Balogun can play in a two up top? With Balogun linking up with a mid or winger and laying up Eddie, who seems to have improved his finishing this term.

  2. gotanidea says:

    Runarsson was caught sleeping and Pepe is still killing our attacks. Apart from those players, the other Gunners did decent job

    1. Innit says:

      They weren’t our best players though

    2. Jón Sigurðsson says:

      Runarsson didnt had much changes in these goals. Pepe was not so bad. Overall sollid perf.

  3. Sid says:

    Nice win. Hopefully not another negative league performance🤞🤞
    All youngsters did a decent job, apart from maybe Cottrell, who maybe was nervous.
    COYG!

    1. Dboy says:

      A good win in Epl would do us good. We have good form in Europa. If we can win three in a row in the Epl that would boost our confidence.

      We need to support our Manager. I think when all the negative players like Ozil, Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolasinac etc., leave, will come good.

  4. jon fox says:

    Balogun was the biggest plus for us tonight. Looks older(inhis play, not age) more powerful and more effective altogether than Nketiah. Of those two players, it is BALOGUN whom I firmly believe will have the bigger career. Hope it is with us.

    Eddie looks lightweight by comparison and is only a decent poacher but offers nothing much more. BALOGUN seems a much better all round player. Just my take though!

    1. Lenohappy says:

      Nketiah is not just a goalscorer, he press very very well, and every coach likes players that can press for the team.

  5. Perry ames says:

    Loads of positives with all the youngsters with bags of potential but we wont see most of them again until February when the Europe league returns. Also it was very boring at times with far too much emphasis on passing back just to keep possession.

  6. Lenohappy says:

    That boy miguel Azzez is quality, he doesn’t play like those English midfielder, he plays more like Iniesta, hes calm and can pass the ball, hope to see more of him.

      1. Lenohappy says:

        Gily seriously bro I won’t mind if we use Azzez in the premier league, it’s not like we have anyone better in that position anyways, and if I’m correct we started using fabregas when he was 17 so I really don’t see any big deal.

        1. Trudeau says:

          He was very impressive in his cameo. Mobile, clever movements to make space for himself and looked very calm for his debut. Dont want to over hype him but looking forward to seeing more of what he can do.

        2. Jax says:

          Funny that you should mention Cesc, because without hyping Azzez up I definitely saw some resemblances. He is so classy. Great name too.

    1. Ismail says:

      Nice match

  7. inkfight! says:

    Lots of academy players getting a run out recently which is always encouraging.

    If the academy can produce a Saka every other year the rest are very competent for early rounds or Cup competitions and maybe as squad players.

    Biggest plus tonight was Balogun. If we can get him to extend, would not be averse to selling Nketiah for £10 million with a buy back and sell on clause.

    1. Lenohappy says:

      inkfight it’s fans like you that bring our players down, Liverpool sold Brewster who has never scored before in the premier league around 20millon and you want us to sell Nketiah for 10million wow. Solanke was sold to Bournemouth for 30million.

      1. inkfight! says:

        We sold Iwobi for very decent money but different market. I would be over the moon if we could get £20 million for Nketiah.

        Nothing personal against Nketiah but think Martinelli and Balogun have something about them, and deserve more chances.

        “Fans like you” a bit uncalled for 🙂

        1. Lenohappy says:

          I’m sorry for saying “fans like you”. We sold chamberlain for 35 million sold iwobi for 40million even when some genius here said we can’t get more than 10million for him. I believe if Liverpool can get 20million for a player who has never scored a premier league goal before then we can also get more for Nketiah who has proven himself both in the league and in europe.

          1. PJ-SA says:

            We are inherently bad at selling players though…..the few you mentioned are our few exceptions

        2. Pirate Dandy says:

          I know right?! Something about Nketiah that might keep his career with the lower tier clubs.

          What do you think of Nelson too? For me he is too unstable with the ball for example in comparison with Martinelli or Willian.

          Just like Ceballos and Pepe, they seem to play on all fours. They make football look really difficult.

          I think to be world class means to be able to release the ball early to keep the threat on or reduce the risk of loosing possession. – I have never seen Ozil touch the ball more than 3 times when there’s 3, 4 teammates ahead of him.

          Saint-Maximin too would be better if he did so.

  8. Gily says:

    They must now do the europa invincible to bring the cup home. I hope this not asking too much.
    Congrats so far though.

  9. Grandad says:

    Balogun and ESR look like the real deal to me.Sorry to spoil the party but to me Mari should have done better on both goals.Slow reaction on the first and never got off the ground for the second where the goalkeeper could also be criticised.Mari has a lovely left foot and passes the ball well, but his lack of reaction and pace may prevent him from cutting it in the EPL.

    1. Lenohappy says:

      I thought I was the only one that saw that about Mari, he’s too slow to react to the first goal and yes the keeper should have done better for the second goal but Mari could have also done better too.

      1. McLovin says:

        I dont think the first goal was his fault. Pepe failed the interception and Mari was left with 2vs1.

        And Runarsson should have saved both of the goals.. I’m sorry but he’s not second choice material..

        1. Lenohappy says:

          McLovin I second that, the only positive I see from the keeper is that hes good with his legs, he knows how to pass the ball I think we should have promoted Macy instead of buying another keeper.

        2. Jón Sigurðsson says:

          Saved both goals! Possible he could have done better in first goal but no chance in the second. He is very good proven international keeper and without a doubt skillfull enough for this role. I dont see better second choices in this league!

    2. PJ-SA says:

      Mari has barely played football in a year, on top of that he’s barely played with his team mates.

      I think he deserves a bit of slack while finding his feet and fitness….

  10. PJ-SA says:

    Looking forward to hopefully one day seeing Martinelli and Balogun playing together…

    Not sure what it is but you can just tell when someone has the ability to make it, he certainly does.

  11. RSH says:

    many of these youngsters deserve game time over our proven failed “experienced” players. What is motivating Mikel to keep such awful players in his lineups?

    1. Vinnie 2000 says:

      @RSH!! You will be absolutely gobsmacked to see ‘experienced’ Aubameyang, Lacazette, Willian on sunday against Burnley!! They re just too slow n lazy for an Arsenal team trying to find its way to the top!!
      On Sunday, play Auba, Lacazette n Nelson as attacking trio..Remove d two ‘laggards’@60 something minutes once dey underperform.. Bring on Nketiah n Balogun as their subs n also Rowe Smith for Cellabos( if he plays sh*t)
      We need to show support to these youngsters!! Added to Golden Boy Martinelli, we will b fire!!🔥🔥

  12. Sue says:

    Arsenal attackers across all competitions this season:

    Folarin Balogun
    2 goals, 1 assist in 61 mins

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
    3 goals, 1 assist in 1016 mins

    Alexandre Lacazette
    4 goals in 820 minutes

    Eddie Nketiah
    5 goals in 783 minutes

    1. Smartgunner says:

      Enough said Sue

    2. gotanidea says:

      Balogun is a super sub for low intensity games, whereas Aubameyang and Lacazette are starters in EPL. We’d never know Balogun’s full potentials until he starts in EPL or in big European games

      I reckon Nketiah as the hardest worker among our attackers, but I don’t think Balogun and him could offer some special skills. We had similar attackers in Afobe and Akpom, so hopefully we have different type of attackers in the reserves

      1. Sue says:

        Exactly, gai, hopefully he’ll get some minutes in the PL…I reckon Balogun is skillful and will board the showboat…
        You know I never rated Akpom… and wondered what happened to Afobe, he’s over in Turkey now…

      2. Jón Sigurðsson says:

        Balagoun is far from pre.leq. quality. Could developed up to become squad player at best in 2-3 years. Positions, understanding and first touches is far from being ok.

    3. Nick says:

      Er…different level of competition, maybe?

      If you get the team down here to play our local Sunday League team, I am fairly sure that both Aubameyang and Lacazette can score 5 goals each over the ninety minutes. If the team were to play against a team at our local youth league, I am sure they can both score at least 10 goals each over the 90 minutes.

      We won tonight, so let’s save the negativity until Sunday, where I fear another bad result might be coming our way.
      Some fans! Hanging is too good for them!

      1. Sid says:

        I dont rhink Sue is being negative here. Also if you say the level of competition, I would like to point out the level of experience. And yeah, Lacazette has played in the Europa league and hasn’t scored more than one goal, same qoth Aubameyang (though his was more crucial). The important thing Sue is pointing here is compared to last season, how our main attackers have been ineffective, which maybe is a result of the system they play in or simply lack of form.

        1. Sue says:

          Thank you, Sid!! That was exactly what I was pointing out – at least you got it 😉👍👍

        2. Sue says:

          Some fans, hey?! Hanging is too good for them 😂😂😂😉

          1. Nick says:

            If you cannot see that your highlighting the lack of goals by our forwards and compared them to someone who had one single good game against very weak opposition can be seen as negative, then maybe my suggestion of hanging might be a bit over the top, but you certainly ought to take a lesson in English usage and/or logic.

          2. Sue says:

            Oh excuse me!!! Yes I’d say completely ott…

          3. Sue says:

            And tbh why shouldn’t I highlight it?? I expected so much more from our forwards this season and it hasn’t happened… they’re not even on double figures!! Now excuse me, while I go and find a rope 🙄🙄🙄

  13. Ackshay says:

    Giving balogun minutes in europa is the best thing arteta can do to convince him to sign a new deal. What else can you want as an academy player ?

    1. RSH says:

      give him EPL minutes. His competition are all failing tremendously and he’s a highly rated talent. It’s ridiculous we aren’t seeing even more of him.

  14. Bruno says:

    I am so confused as to why we play so badly in the league and play like a different team in Europe . The funny thing is that our squad is not as bad as it seems but we can’t seem to be able to play. Could it be the coach ? Because I don’t think we going to get the sack anytime soon . The weekend is around the corner and I am so sad about it .

  15. Reggie says:

    The kids dont let this club down but Arteta doesn’t trust them. He would rather play in the prem with “experienced” players that are letting him down. I know the standard in the EL is lower, a lot lower but that should not take away from the fact we have some players with huge potential not given their heads in the prem. I still think the way we play is too robotic but it seems to work ok against lower grade teams, it doesn’t against better teams in the prem. Our only chance for CL will come from this competition but we will get found out in the quarter or semi depending on draw against better teams.

  16. Val says:

    It was a good win and was nice to see Azeez and Cotterill, along with Balogun come on in the 2nd half.

    I thought ESR had a really good game with AMN down the left, I would like to see more of that in the EPL but more central.

    I would like to see us play Elneny and AMN in the middle with ESR infront against Burnley but i doubt we will get to see that

  17. RW1 says:

    Never know what to take from these games given the level of opposition but showed limitations of Willock and enketiah for sure … Need to move both on ASAP balogun and martinelli clearly superior youngsters … Ceballos and Pepe continue to frustrate though latter has upped his work rate … Jury out on smith rowe but might be worthwhile loaning him out in January as game time unlikely … I like the look of Mari … Calm not easily pushed around and good passer of ball speed an issue but deserves starts in EPL .. Cedric over bellerin any day just a better all round footballer … Xhaka is redundant el neny better and AMN and the Azeez kid should be on before him ,,

    1. Afc4life says:

      All of the youngster will look good against these kind of oppositions it’s the level that they have been playing at. To suggest we play them in the league is crazy. The odd one maybe but we don’t have the talent plus the standard of the premier league they will be found out. Only Saka can really be looked at as an option for the league. The form willock has shown in the el compared to the pl shows this.

  18. Gworm says:

    Kids did well. Pepe looked really poor against second rate opposition. For me there’s no point in promoting one kid at a time. We need at least three at once because they can actually play as a team. Our first team seem to have no understanding.

  19. Afc4life says:

    Easy win against an easy opposition. The problem with Arteta and arsenal in the league this season is he has set us up not to lose which worked at the end of last season but the team is trying to defend so much they don’t have the goal scoring threat. My worry is that we are now setting up in a more attacking manor but still lack the killer instinct in front of goal. We need to put the two of them together which is his biggest challenge. I like the players that have been brought in so far (partey, tierney, Gabriel) and I do believe given time and replacing certain players with the same transfer market approach he will succeed. The big question is can he get the results now to make it to the next active transfer market???

  20. Afc4life says:

    The fact we are so hopefully and dependant on so many of our youngsters shows what state we are in every club try’s to bleed through the academy and I for one am all for it. But the amount of academy player in the first team isn’t about quality but lack of in the first team

  21. Adi says:

    I just hope Arteta sort the problems with the first team players as soon as possible. I’m sure something is going on behind the scenes that we all dont know about which is affecting the performance.

    People are quick to forget we have quality players this season.

  22. gunnerforlife says:

    Great performance although it was lower league opposition. I was very impressed with Balogun, ESR, Elneny, AMN, Nketiah and also Chambers. They have high potential and can play in the PL and also Elneny should be a sure starter. Play Elneny and AMN in the midfield with ESR just ahead of them. Play Auba Laca Saka as the front 3. If they dont score, bring on Nketiah and Balogun in the second half.

  23. Þorkell Einarsson says:

    MA is way to conservative in regard to the
    young talent we have and will never have the
    ballls to use them . Theyll probably leave asap.
    to greener pastures or be sold . this club is
    a headless chicken

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