Qarabag 0-3 Arsenal

Qarabag 0-3 Arsenal: Emile Smith Rowe scores first senior goal for Gunners alongside Matteo Guendouzi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos as they maintain perfect start to Europa League

  • Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored his first Arsenal goal in just the fourth minute on Thursday evening
  • Emile Smith Rowe nearly put the Gunners 2-0 ahead moments later on his European debut against Qarabag
  • Mahir Madatov thought he levelled for the hosts early on in the second half but it was ruled out for offside 
  • And just moments later, Smith Rowe netted his first competitive senior goal for Arsenal with a fine finish 
  • Matteo Guendouzi wrapped up proceedings with a right-footed finish into the bottom corner on 79 minutes

The actual execution was that of an 18-year-old. Remember the name Emile Smith Rowe.

Judging by his performance here in Baku, that won’t be difficult.

Arsenal secured a comfortable 3-0 victory over Qarabag to maintain their perfect start to the 2018-19 Europa League

Matteo Guendouzi wrapped up proceedings by scoring Arsenal's third in the 79th minute at the Baku National Stadium

Guendouzi high-fives team-mate Alexandre Lacazette after firing home into the bottom corner late on against Qarabag

Emile Smith Rowe pictured netting his first senior goal for Arsenal to give the visitors a commanding 2-0 advantage

Smith Rowe celebrates scoring his first senior Arsenal goal on his full European debut for the Premier League outfit

The 18-year-old midfielder is congratulated by Alex Iwobi, who played the ball on a plate to the highly talented youngster

Qarabag (4-2-3-1): Vagner 5; Medvedev 5, Huseynov 6, Rzezniczak 5, Agoli 5; Garayev 5 (Slavchev 84), Michel 5; Madatov 6 (Delarge 61), Ozobic 7 (Abdullayev 67), Zoubir 6; Emeghara 6.

Subs: Halldorsson, Mammadov, A Huseynov, Diniyev.

Booked: Medvedev

Gurbanov: 6

Arsenal (3-5-2): Leno 7; Lichtsteiner 6.5, Holding 6.5, Sokratis 7, Monreal 6.5 (Torreira 46, 6.5); Elneny 6.5, Guendouzi 7; Iwobi 7 (Lacazette 71, 6), Smith Rowe 7.5 (Ozil 65, 6.5), Kolasinac 6.5; Welbeck 6.

READ  Classy Mesut Ozil rises to challenge as he helps Arsenal see off Leicester in style at the Emirates

Subs: Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Xhaka. Booked: Holding.

Emery: 6.5

Ref – Davide Massa – 6

MOM: Smith Rowe

This is how Emile Smith Rowe (No 55) scored his first senior goal for Arsenal near the beginning of the second half against Qarabag. CLICK HERE to take a look at our brilliant MATCH ZONE...

The fact he’s still a teenager beggars belief. So much is expected of this talented attacking midfielder – it’s not hard to see why.

After Jack Wilshere’s emotional farewell in the summer, the position as the Arsenal academy’s Golden Boy is vacant.

In Smith Rowe, the Gunners may have found the air to Wilshere’s throne.

The fact manger Unai Emery trusts the youngster at such an early stage of his development speaks bundles.

As does the fact Arsenal have now won eight consecutive games. Slowly, Emery’s reign is taking shape.

With six points out of six in the Europa League, his side look a safe bet to qualify for next year’s knockout stages.

You wouldn’t bet against them making it nine in nine against Fulham on Sunday.

Arsenal’s evening got off to a flier; Sokratis bundling home after Nacho Monreal’s flicked header from Mohamed Elneny’s corner sparked chaotic scenes in Qarabag’s defence.

Iwobi impressed again for the North London outfit and will be pushing for a start against Fulham in the Premier League

Bernd Leno desperately tries to claim the ball in the area as Arsenal look to preserve their 1-0 lead early on in the second half

The German goalkeeper gestures to the referee while defender Sead Kolasinac lays on the ground with a head injury

Mahir Madatov reacts after his close-range effort is well saved by Arsenal goalkeeper  Leno late on in the first half

Iwobi is held back by Qarabag captain Maksim Medvedev, who is shown a yellow card for his foul in the first half

The referee, Davide Massa, shows the Qarabag skipper the yellow just moments after Iwobi pushed him to the ground

Having cruised to victory in their first Europa League outing of the season against Vorskla Poltava, the pace of Arsenal’s start here in Azerbaijan pointed to another comfortable evening.

READ  Six Officers Rewarded For Foiling Jailbreak In Enugu

Had Smith Rowe finished a move he started at the back post in the 18th minute then it could easily have ended up a cricket score.

Instead, Arsenal were fired to endure an entirely uncomfortable first half as the hosts drew strength from the vociferous home crowd in search of a leveller.

First, Mahir Madatov was denied by Bernd Leno after bamboozling Sead Kolasinac – who was making his first appearance after a long-term knee injury – before Filip Ozobic saw his fierce effort stopped by the German.

And then, just seconds before the break, Maksim Medvedev – for a moment – had the Olympic Stadium in a frenzy as he rippled the side netting.

It was all very concerning for Emery in his technical area. It wasn’t supposed to be this difficult.

Indeed, the Arsenal manager reverted to his favoured back-four, after starting the game with a three-man defence, for the start of the second half.

Unai Emery barks instructions out to his players as the Gunners made it two consecutive Europa League victories

Sokratis Papastathopoulos gave Arsenal the lead in just the fourth minute after deflecting home Nacho Monreal's header

Monreal - Arsenal captain for the night - celebrates with the goalscorer at the Baku National Stadium on Thursday

The Greek defender, who signed from Borussia Dortmund this summer, is mobbed by his Arsenal team-mates after scoring

Mohamed Elneny jumps on his team-mates after Sokratis gave the visitors the perfect start in Azerbaijan on Thursday

Danny Welbeck meets a corner but heads the ball just wide of the right post with Arsenal looking for a second goal

Elneny jumps up for a header under the pressure of Abdellah Zoubir during the opening stages of the European clash

Yet, Arsenal remained on the ropes; the Spaniard’s heart in his mouth four minutes after the restart when Madatov slid the ball past Leno only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.

READ  NYCN Preaches Self-Reliance To FCT Students

Eventually it took a teenager to ease Arsenal’s nerves, yet the composure of the finish defied Smith-Rowe’s tender age.

Alex Iwobi – another Hale End graduate – set up Smith Rowe who kept calm to coolly pass the ball past Vagner to double Arsenal’s lead.

It’ll be a moment the kid never forgets. If those who have nurtured Smith Rowe’s career to date are right – he’ll be an unforgettable footballer.

The youngster’s evening ended in the 64th minute when he was replaced by Mesut Ozil.

It’s Smith Rowe’s dream to one day wear Ozil’s No 10 shirt at his boyhood club. On this evidence his dream will come true.

Matteo Guendouzi completed the scoring for Arsenal in the 80th minute, with a smart low finish past Vagner.

But this night belonged to Smith Rowe. You get the impression it was the first night of many.

Kolasinac, making his first start of the season, attempts to shrug off Qarabag's Medvedev in the first couple of minutes

Kolasinac gets past the Qarabag defender before putting in a dangerous low cross into the penalty area on Thursday evening

Qarabag supporters let off flares during the Europa League group stage clash as they attempt to ramp up the atmosphere

Leave a Reply