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  • By Charlie Stong at Emirates Stadium

Easy for Gunners who brush aside Norwegians Bodo/Glimt 3-0


Arsenal 3 (Nketiah 23, Holding 27, Vieira 84)

Bodo/Glimt 0


As the old adage goes, if this were a boxing match, it would have been stopped at half-time.


In fact it’s a shame it wasn’t – as the second half was a shocker.


Matches in the group stages of European competition can often be rather predictable affairs, but when Norwegian relative minnows are up against a Premier League team which narrowly missed out on feasting at the Champions League’s top table this term, there really was only ever going to be one winner.


Arsenal have two wins – six points out of six – after this more than comfortable 3-0 Europa League win over Bodo/Glimt, who currently sit second in Norway’s top division towards, as they are, the end of their season.


Goals from Eddie Nketiah, Rob Holding and Fabio Vieira gave the Gunners victory. It’s just not true that there are no easy games in Europe.


Bodo/Glimt’s travelling fans were resplendent in yellow and magnificent in voice all evening – it’s not every game you hear a bunch of supporters chanting along happily to the tune of Sade’s Cum on Feel the Noize while their team are getting, well, wild, wild, wild with frustration on the pitch. It’s fair to say they enjoyed their night out in the Emirates spotlight.


Arsenal started brightly and created the first opening when Eddie Nketiah curled an effort wide of the right-hand post after four minutes.


Then Fabio Vieira clipped the bar with a shot from inside the box after Nketiah had laid off Kieran Tierney’s cross.


The pressure paid after 22 minutes when Tierney’s fierce shot from the left cannoned back off the far post straight into the path of Nketiah, who reacted quickly to stab home the rebound.


Vieira looked as if he was set to make it 2-0 three minutes later, but he overran his penultimate touch, allowing goalkeeper Nikita Haikin to smother his next.


The Gunners were 2-0 ahead just seconds after that, Vieira’s cross powerfully headed home by the popular Rob Holding.


Despite making eight changes to the side which started Saturday’s 3-1 derby win over Spurs here, Mikel Arteta’s team were far superior to their Norwegian opponents – and they should have been 3-0 ahead after 33 minutes when Grant Xhaka’s shot following a free-kick on the edge of the box was acrobatically saved by the flying Haikin.


It took the visitors all of 37 minutes to even register a shot in anger – Amahl Pellegrino’s effort failing to trouble Matt Turner in the Arsenal goal as it drifted apologetically wide.


But 2-0 it was at the break – not, on this occasion, the stick-or-twist dilemma that score line is often said to be.


Bodo did look much sharper at the start of the second half, and they could have pulled a goal back when Joel Mugisha’s ball across the face of the goal from the right narrowly avoided a final touch.


Captain Ulrik Saltness then found himself in acres of space but fired over – Arsenal, maybe rather understandably, momentarily taking their foot off the pedal.


Arteta’s rather headmasterly response was to bring on three of Arsenal’s star players – Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard. Bodo may have wished they hadn’t upset him. Attack proved the best form of defence as the tide turned back in the favour of the Gunners.


But the second period was a rather dull affair, as they so often are after such a one-sided first.


Nketiah had the chance to add to his tally as the clock ticked down but his rather lazy shot rose high into the Highbury night, before Vieira tapped in to seal the deal.


Teams:

Arsenal: Turner, Tierney (White, 70), Gabriel, Martinelli (Jesus, 58), Nketiah (Nelson, 82), Holding, Tomiyasu, Vieira, Sambi Lokonga, Marquinhos (Saka, 58), Xhaka (Odegaard, 58)

Bodo/Glimt: Haikin, Sampsted (Konradsen, 88), Wembangomo, Pellegrino, Vetlesen (Gronbaek, 73), Espejord (Salvesen,88), Saltnes, Moe, Lode (Hoibraten, 88), Mugisha (Solbakken, 73), Berg

Referee: Harm Osmers


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