Dundalk 2-4 Arsenal: Gunners end Europa League group stage with 100 per cent

Arsenal ended their Europa League group stage campaign with a 100 per cent winning record, beating Dundalk 4-2 at the Aviva Stadium.

Mikel Arteta changed his entire XI for the trip to Dublin, naming a raft of youngsters in his squad, and they took an early lead when Eddie Nketiah (12) slotted home. Mohamed Elneny (18) scored a sensational, curling effort shortly after to double Arsenal’s lead in style.

But Dundalk – who had won the FAI Cup in the same stadium on Sunday – were not to end their Europa League campaign without a bit of noise as Jordan Flores (22) pulled a goal back with his own fierce effort.

The second half took longer to get going but young players Joe Willock (67) and Folarin Balogun (80) added two more, before Sean Hoare’s late header (85) added another moment to savour in Dundalk’s final game of the season.

Arsenal were already guaranteed top spot in Group B and have won six consecutive major European matches for the first time since November 2005 and are now nine unbeaten on the road in Europe for the first time.

How Arsenal’s youngsters continued the perfect streak

Mohamed Elneny celebrates his superb goal against Dundalk
Arsenal have won all six of their Europa League group games this season, going through as Group B winners

The game started with a relative goalfest with three inside the opening 22 minutes. Arsenal opened things up after some good hustle from Nketiah. Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ pass through for him looked to be under Andrew Boyle’s control, but his clearance bounced off Nketiah who used his pace to drive onto the ball and into the area before dinking a finish over Gary Rogers.

Elneny then surprised everyone with a sensational strike to double Arsenal’s lead. Emilie Smith-Rowe provided a lay-off after some patient play, allowing Elneny to thunder his effort into the top corner. It was his first Arsenal goal since 2017, when he also scored on Matchday 6 of the Europa League group stage against BATE Borisov.

Player ratings

Dundalk: Rogers (6), Hoare (6), Boyle (6), Cleary (6), Gannon (6), Shields (7), Flores (6), Leahy (7), McEleney (6), Duffy (5), McMillan (5).

Subs used: Gartland (5), Kelly (6), Mountney (6), Wynne (5), Colovic (5).

Arsenal: Runarsson (6), Chambers (6), Mari (6), Mustafi (6), Cedric (7), Smith-Rowe (7), Maitland-Niles (7), Elneny (7), Willock (7), Nketiah (7), Pepe (6).

Subs used: Balogun (8), Ceballos (6), Cottrell (6), Azeez (n/a).

Man of the match: Folarin Balogun.

But Dundalk soon hit back as Flores netted in a second successive European fixture. He played a quick give-and-go with Michael Duffy before sending a powerful, diagonal effort into the far…

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