Arsenal beat Rapid Vienna 4-1 in Thursday’s Europa League clash at the Emirates Stadium.
Needing just a solitary point to secure top spot, Arsenal went into their home clash with the Austrian side off the back of four consecutive wins in the 2020/21 Europa League group stages.
Right from the off Arsenal looked up for the game, playing with pace and purpose and drawing first blood via Alexandre Lacazette‘s stunning, bending long-range drive.
Pablo Mari – making his first start in six months – scored not long after with a lovely glanced header, before Eddie Nketiah grabbed a third just before half-time after reacting quickest to his own rebound.
Rapid Vienna grabbed a goal early after a poor piece of goalkeeping from Alex Runarsson, but Arsenal were never in fear of losing their lead with wave after wave of attack. The fourth goal finally came via the boot of Emile Smith Rowe, who had the simplest job of tapping into an empty net.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable evening, against and admittedly very, very poor Rapid XI.
Arsenal Ratings – Goalkeeper & Defenders
Runar Alex Runarsson (GK) – 5/10 – We’re waiting for Runarsson to have something to do other than pass the ball across the back four, and when he finally does it was a save he didn’t even need to make. Distribution was ok, but when properly called upon he looked shaky.
Cedric Soares (RB) – 7/10 – The best backup right-back in world football! Well, not really, but he’s nonetheless a very solid option to have, despite what some people may lead you to believe. What’s most enjoyable is that he’s always looking for the wingers, even those on the opposite flank.
Shkodran Mustafi (CB) – 7/10 – His performance against Molde flew under the radar somewhat and it was more of the same at the Emirates Stadium. He missed a good chance and then went into hero mode with an audacious volley attempt, but in a defensive sense, did everything right.
Pablo Mari (CB) – 7/10 – Was a touch rusty for his first game back in six months, all of which is completely understandable. Taking just 17 minutes to grab his first Arsenal goal was a lovely moment too, which was the icing on a very comfortable night.
Sead Kolasinac (LB) – 6/10 – Unlucky to concede the fourth goal of the night with two meaty blocks on the line. Shaky in a few moments which aren’t down to anything other than him being an average defender…and I suppose he hasn’t played for a few weeks either.
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