March 22, 2023


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Pepe and Nelson shine as Arsenal ease past Molde

2 min read

Arsenal’s fringe players made their mark as the Gunners maintained their 100 per cent Europa League record this season with a 3-0 win at Molde to seal their qualification for the knockout stages.

A much-changed Arsenal were sluggish in the first half, and should have gone behind after just 16 minutes in Norway, Sheriff Sinyan somehow contriving to miss at the far post.

In the second half, however, Arsenal were a different beast altogether, with Nicolas Pepe brilliantly opening the scoring in the 50th minute, before Reiss Nelson’s first ever goal in Europe put the game to bed just five minutes later.

Two youngsters came off the bench to combine for Arsenal’s third, with Folarin Balogun finding the net for the first time for Arsenal seven minutes from time, less than a minute after coming on.

The third goal put the icing on the cake and ensured the Gunners qualified through from Group B with four wins from four, six points clear of Rapid Wien in third with two games to play.

Only three players survived from the weekend draw at Leeds, and one of those, Pepe, took it upon himself to try and make amends for his senseless sending off at Elland Road, but his finishing let him down on several occasions in the first half.

How Sinyan managed to miss on the slide, from not even two yards out, is a mystery, and that proved costly as Arsenal, having seemingly been told some home truths by Mikel Arteta at the interval, shifted up the gears to blow the hosts away.

Moments after a brilliant effort came out off the crossbar, Pepe found the net with another fine finish, before a great cross from Joe Willock was nudged home by Nelson.

With the hosts beaten, Arteta rotated, and the Spaniard will have been delighted for Balogun, 37 seconds after coming off the bench, as he drilled home to guarantee he will not forget this trip to the edge of the Arctic Circle in a hurry.

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