Arsenal 3-0 Bodo/Glimt: Gunners maintain fine form with a comfortable win over Norwegians in the Europa League… with Eddie Nketiah, Rob Holding and Fabio Vieira all on target
- Arsenal beat Bodo/Glimt 3-0 in the Europa League at the Emirates on Thursday
- Eddie Nketiah opened the scoring before Rob Holding doubled their lead
- Mikel Arteta’s side go top of Group A after two wins from two games
- Fabio Vieira again impressed for the Gunners, contributing a goal and an assist
You imagine this chapter might be airbrushed from Bodo/Glimt folklore before too long. Their rise to the top of Norwegian football – and the upper echelons of European competition – has included some astonishing and memorable nights. Alas, this one had no fairytale ending.
Instead, it proved a comfortable evening for Arsenal, one that bodes well at the start of a punishing month for Mikel Arteta’s side. Sunday-Thursday-Sunday is their schedule between now and the World Cup and navigating that will require players on the fringes of Arteta’s squad to prove their worth.
Plenty did last night, including Eddie Nketiah whose first-half goal put Arsenal in command. And Fabio Vieira, who is still acclimatizing to life in north London but who created Arsenal’s second for Rob Holding before scoring their third following a brilliant run by Gabriel Jesus.
Arsenal beat Bodo/Glimt 3-0 in the Europa League on Thursday to go top of Group A
Eddie Nketiah opened the scoring for the Gunners after Kieran Tierney’s effort hit the post
That was enough to take Arsenal above Glimt to the top of Group A. Six points from six. They lead the Premier League too. It really has been a fabulous start to the season and last night, the invention and intensity with which this much-changed team played at times must augur well. Eight changes in personnel but no huge disruption.
Far, far stiffer tests lie in wait, of course. Starting on Sunday, when Liverpool visit here. And next week when in the return leg, beneath the mountains of north Norway, Glimt can call on even more of their raucous supporters. Last night, they rarely pressed Arsenal out of second gear.
‘I’m really happy with the result, scoring three goals and keeping a clean sheet,’ Arteta said. ‘But I’m very conscious that there are things we can do much better.’
You could fit the entire population of Bodo in here and still have space for 10,000 empty seats. As it was, around 1 in 15 of the fishing town’s inhabitants ventured from above the Arctic Circle to the Emirates. They were in early, too: an hour before kick-off, the away end was already a bouncing wall of yellow.
Rob Holding doubled Arsenal’s lead after a fine ball from Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira
Brazilian summer signing Marquinhos was given another start during Thursday’s game
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Turner 6; Tomiyasu 6.5, Holding 7, Gabriel 6.5, Tierney 7 (White 70, 6); Lokonga 7, Xhaka 7 (Odegaard 59, 6.5); Marquinhos 6.5 (Saka 59, 6), Vieira 7.5, Martinelli 6.5 (Jesus 58, 7.5); Nketiah 8 (Nelson 82, 6).
Subs: Ramsdale, Hein, Cedric, Saliba, Partey, Smith, Cirjan
Manager: Mikel Arteta
Bodo/Glimt (4-3-3): Haikin; Sampsted (Konradsen 89), Moe, Lode (Høibråten 89), Wembangomo; Vetlesen (Grønbækat), Berg, Saltnes; Mvuka (Solbakkenat 73), Espejord (Salvesen 88), Pellegrino
subs: Lund, Larsen, Amundsen, Hagen, Sørli, Zugelj
Bookings: Sampsted, Wembangomo
Manager: Kjetil Knutsen
Glimt’s players, on the other hand, found it rather trickier to navigate the streets of north London: their bus broke down, some players were hauled on to minivans. Others had to walk.
Greeting the Norwegian champions was a vastly different Arsenal to the one that dispatched Tottenham here on the weekend.
That meant welcome starts for the likes of Nketiah and Kieran Tierney who combined – of sorts – to give Arsenal the lead. It came midway through the first half, after Gabriel Martinelli drove into the Glimt half and fed Tierney. The left back’s rasping effort cannoned off the post, into the path of Nketiah, who rearranged his feet quite brilliantly to steer in a 12th goal in his past 15 starts.
‘We all love his attitude and the qualities he has,’ Arteta said. ‘It is (hard to leave him out) and the good thing is today he could have scored a couple more.’
Nketiah wasn’t alone. Vieira should have added their second shortly after but was denied by Glimt goalkeeper Nikita Haikin. No matter. Moments later, the Portuguese midfielder crossed for Holding to head home.
Since promotion to Norway’s top flight in 2017, Kjetil Knutsen’s fearless football has brought back-to-back titles and a 6-1 drubbing of Jose Mourinho’s Roma last season. Last night, however, Arsenal could have hit half a dozen in the first-half alone.
It never seemed likely that they would rue those missed opportunities but credit Glimt, who emerged with much more vigor after the break. Matt Turner was forced into one sharp save and Holding had to scramble a ball off the line late on.
In between, though, the best chances still fell to Arsenal. Nketiah blazed over before substitute Jesus brilliantly weaved his way along the byline to find Vieira, who secured a first home European victory in four matches, ending Arsenal’s worst run since 2003. On this evidence they won’t be waiting long for another.
Fabio Vieira added a third for the Gunners late on after fine work from Gabriel Jesus
Arsenal go top of Group A in the Europa League after the win over the Norwegian outfit
Follow Sportsmail’s live blog with Will Pickworth to relive tonight’s Europa League group stage clash between Arsenal and Bodo/Glimt.