Arsenal start slow before becoming runaway winners

Arsenal looked at risk of an upset in the opening half when Molde were more than holding their own, but there was little the hosts could do to stop them in the second-half.

The Gunners were wasteful in possession for the opening 45, like we have said on one-too-many occasions this season, and were extremely lucky not to be behind early on.

Molde should have opened the scoring in the opening 15 minutes, when midfielder Sinyan was found in the box with an open goal to poke at, but he failed to connect properly.

After the break, the team really came to life. Nicolas Pepe was running the show and looking to catch the goalkeeper off guard, and he so nearly broke the deadlock, only to be denied by the crossbar.

Shortly after he did score however, with a neatly taken left-footed shot into the far corner.

The floodgates looked likely to open from this point, with Eddie Nketiah having a goal ruled out, shortly before Reiss Nelson did add the second.

The manager moved to ring the changes after this, with Folarin Balogun, Emile Smith Rowe, Kieran Tierney and Dani Ceballos all entering the field, and it was the two youngster who combined for the next.

Smith Rowe finds Balogun in the box, who swivels on the spot and fires home, to score his first ever senior goal in only his second senior appearance.

Molde tried to carve out a chance to score a consolation goal late on, but it was too little too late, and Arsenal have plenty of positives to take from the performance.

Will Arteta look to stick with the 4-4-2 formation for the Premier League match at the weekend?

Patrick

Tags Molde Nicolas Pepe

57 Comments

  1. gotanidea says:

    Pepe’s shot was great and he’s got a long suspension period to figure out how to do it consistently in EPL. I’ve also been waiting for Willock’s crosses from the right side, since he has the potential to play as a right half-winger in 4-3-3

    Lacazette obviously can’t play well as a CAM, so better use the natural one like Ceballos or Smith-Rowe if we use 4-2-3-1 again. If we play with long goal kicks and assign the striker/ CAM to get it, better use the ones who are dominant in the air

    It was a good win since we were far from home, but our sloppy passes in the first half would likely be punished by a good EPL team

    1. Bur. says:

      I thought it was slow, pedestrian at times, yes lots of missed passes and not a great performance against a Norwegian team. Am i idolising the Invincibles to much and that eara, did they have bad games? Maybe im expecting to much from a mediocre squad. There is to many passes going nowhere.

  2. Sonix says:

    it’s all well and good scoring against the Norwegian farmers. Now let’s try that against the wolves of the epl.

  3. Sue says:

    The 3rd goal – ESR>Balogun was beautiful!!! So pleased for them both..
    Runarsson – 2 starts, 2 clean sheets! Liked what I’ve seen from him!
    Pepe wanted it tonight… and got it, great goal!
    Great second half…. into the knock out stages… πŸ‘

    1. Phenom says:

      Should we stick to the 442 Sue? My MOTM is Pepe.

      I think it will increase the telepathy between Laca and Auba. Partey knows this formation well. Taste of good things to come as Auba just said we are lacking goals. He has promised Arsenal will shock the world soon.

      1. Sue says:

        I prefer 4 at the back, Phenom…
        Best we prepare ourselves to be shocked then πŸ˜‰πŸ˜
        Yes, he had a great game, shame that shot hit the bar, was worthy of a goal!

    2. Sonix says:

      Love the spirit Sue.. Not too many fancy this win.

      1. Sue says:

        πŸ™‚ Only ever want to see a decent performance and a win, not fussed who it’s against! And we had both tonight, so happy days (or nights πŸ˜‚), Sonix πŸ‘

    3. Jon says:

      Runarsson is guality keeper – and Pepe has turn the lights on

      1. Sue says:

        Just the job, Jon. Plenty of positives tonight πŸ‘

  4. Dan kit says:

    Great to see Pepe do well after the weekend but he needs to do this against premiership opponents if given a chance again .
    He seems the only player we have that will take a shot from outside the box ,anyway he did decent tonight and hopefully the fans will now chill for a while regarding his performances until he plays again .
    Shout out towillock and nelson who along with Pepe looked decent tonight .
    Shame Luiz got injured with the head knock and hopefully it’s not to serious because we have missed him recently .
    All in all a good second half performance.
    The new goalkeeper looked like he would line up in my sons under 15 team ,only looked about 4foot 6 unless I’ve drunk to much

    1. Sue says:

      Knowing you, you probably have, Dan, hic πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚πŸ» Apparently he’s the same height as Pickford!!

      1. Dan kit says:

        Really he look bloody tiny

        1. Dan kit says:

          Just checked he’s just over 6foot

          1. John says:

            Great quality this lad

          2. Sue says:

            A steal at 1.8m!

          3. Jon says:

            The best with hes feet in PL

          4. Sue says:

            Woah! 😱 He does look small for a GK, always said that about JP though!

  5. Stan Adams says:

    Nelson is like Gnabry was at this age,he is going to be a great player Afc need to play this kid over Willian,Laca who are doing nothing.

    1. Trudeau says:

      Both Nelson and Willock need a run of PL games to see if they are ready at this level. Now is the time to do it without a packed Emirates baying for their blood with every mistake. Also really need to figure out a way to get AMN more prime time.

  6. Sid says:

    Good game. Didn’t watch it as intently, still caught all the good moments of the second half. Balogun has good positioning sense and seems a different player than Nketiah(though the diffendrrs were tired). Great confidence boosting performance from Pepe and Willock after the debacle of the weekend. Let’s slay the wolves at home next.
    COYG!

    1. Sid says:

      Defenders*!! The hell was I thinking πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  7. Bruno says:

    It wasn’t the best performance but was much better than the last performance. I am really happy with folarin’s goal , it was a nice performance from both Pepe and reiss . We can still work on our link up place but there’s definitely improvement.

  8. Abul says:

    My MOTM is PEPE. Nketia denied him an assist tonight.

    Willock was mostly abscent. Nelson did well but his third betrayed him. Laca was mostly abscent.
    Come January Xhaka may be a bench warmer

  9. Khadii says:

    Nelson needs a run of games.. I like the fact that he drives forward with the ball and likes to take his man on..
    He should replace Auba on the wings..
    Nelson Auba Saka
    Ceballos
    Elneny Partey
    Tierney Gabriel Luiz/Holding Niles/Bellerin
    Leno

    Time to ditch the three at the back formation please.

  10. Grandad says:

    Nelson was impressive, again, and deserves to start against Wolves whereas Laca and Willian do not.Willock with two assists, made a good contribution tonight after a disappointing performance against Leeds but he deserves another opportunity to prove himself on Sunday.

    1. jon fox says:

      Grandad Laca has done little to convince anyone and certainly not me , that he deserves a starting place at all. He is simply not effective and really has not been, except in short lived spells, all his time here. A poor value buy for the money TBH. I do not see him still being here next season and hope he is not.

      I am still not sold on Nketiah that much, as apart from being sharp to take a chance, he contributes little in general and he lacks physicality big time NELSON looks to be nearing a regular position , IMO and ESR, who is probably the best of our fringe players, is close as well.

      When Martinelli is fit again, I’d have him and Balogan both ahead of LACA AND PROBABLY AHEAD OF NKETIAH TOO! BOTH OF THOSE YOUNGSTERS SHOW MORE MOBILITY, which is always key!

  11. Defund The Media says:

    Arteta out

    1. SueP says:

      You are a hoot!

      1. Defund The Media says:

        Just my “opinion” bud 😁

          1. Defund The Media says:

            Cheers newbie!

          2. Dan kit says:

            You need abit of conviction behind that Rory else the they won’t believe you πŸ˜‚

          3. Dan kit says:

            Or should I say me πŸ‘
            Don’t wind them up too much ,else the native Just Arsenal crew will think your for real .

          4. Defund The Media says:

            πŸ˜‚ not fussed if anyone does believe it mate! Plenty on here get away saying A LOT WORSE, I trust the old guard to know I’m taking the piss anyway 😁 , and the fact I posted it after a 3-0 win πŸ˜‚ , good show from the youngsters today! Hopefully pepe can keep up the scoring πŸ‘Œ

          5. Dan kit says:

            πŸ‘πŸ˜‚

    2. jon fox says:

      DTM, Not the comment we would expect from a real Gooner who also thinks deeply and allows for the poison chalice squad that MA inherited. Nor of a thinker who would not so easily choose to “forget”(as it doesn’t suit his ownpersonal agenda)that MA has already won two trophies, even with this moderate squad. A real supporter would not be already calling for this managers head as you do. Poor show, fella!

      1. Defund The Media says:

        Cheers jon! Just thought I’d start voicing random baseless opinions with no insight as to why as it seems to be the norm now, along with completely polarity of opinions on a match to match basis πŸ‘Œ

        1. Defund The Media says:

          Complete*

  12. Khadii says:

    Laca is useless..
    And let no one tell me its because he played in the CAM position.
    Man couldn’t even control or give the most simple pass…
    And I can’t even count how many times he was in a position to shoot but kept on dummying himself.
    SMH

    1. Neath Gunner says:

      Sad to say this as a big Laca fan.
      His first touch is awful.
      He looks lazy.

  13. Jimmy James says:

    I wanted the youngsters to score and two of them did. Well done to Pepe too.

  14. Malaysian Gunner says:

    In recent comments, i told ya Balogun is truly something. He seems like someone in right time right place. How long we have been craving for this type of strikers. Keep your head down and play for your badge BALOGUNNERS!!!

    1. Sue says:

      πŸ‘πŸ‘ Up next – sign da ting!!!!

  15. Stewart Macintosh says:

    Second half they played well but lets temper ourselves a little – we shouldn’t yet plan the parade – it was Molde.

    Hopefully they can build on this for the weekend. They looked pretty poor going forward in the first half – and more than a little of that comes down to the different combinations.

  16. Lenohappy says:

    Even when Pepe had a good game some still find a way to put his performance down. Lacazette have to go, nelson had a good game and I love the keeper passes, all In all good game.

    1. Gsent says:

      You expected me to be happy that pepe scored against molde. Pepe should be ashamed of himself that a during William is benching him…

      1. Lenohappy says:

        No you should be ashamed of yourself that you can’t even say nice thing about him even when he plays well, if you can criticize him when he had a bad game then you should say nice things about him when he plays well like today and if you can’t do that, I’m sorry but you shouldn’t be an Arsenal fan.

  17. Gsent says:

    Pepe is a dull player who can only perform against a weak league teams he doesn’t have the quality to play the EPL…

    1. Abbas says:

      πŸ€¦πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ

  18. Gsent says:

    Oga pepe has not been good in the arsenal shirt..
    He is not a premier league quality .he can only perform against all these unknown and soft teams take it or leave it…

    1. SueP says:

      That’s 3 posts to slag off Pepe

      1. Defund The Media says:

        Come on now sueP you cant challenge his opinion! πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

        1. SueP says:

          Shame on me DTM πŸ˜₯

          Dare I say it was a MOTM performance or is that voicing an opinion?

          1. Defund The Media says:

            Voicing them is fine sueP, just dont dare challenge it 😁

  19. gunnerforlife says:

    A good performance overall, but the first half was poor, we could have been punished had we played like that in the PL. Nelson is too good to be benched in the PL games and he must start the PL games. Balogun looked calm and assured and his positioning seems to be accurate. Pepe had a great game too and hope he learns from his weekend debacle. I was also impressed by the keeper, his passing is quite good. All in all a good performance and hope this is the launching pad for something great.

    1. Sue says:

      πŸ‘πŸ‘

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