Arsenal beat Azerbaijan outfit Qarabag 3-0 on Thursday night as they made it two wins from two in the Europa League.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos opened the scoring after four minutes on a night where three Arsenal players scored their first goals for the club.
Nacho Monreal met Mohamed Elneny’s corner as his header bounced off the Greek defender to give Arsenal the perfect start.
The Gunners controlled proceedings in the second half as 18-year-old Emile Smith-Rowe doubled his sides lead before Matteo Guendouzi struck a third to cap off a successful away night in Europe.
Smith-Rowe bags first senior goal
It was another night to savour for Smith-Rowe as he impressed on the big stage once again for the Gunners.
Playing in a front three alongside Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi, Smith-Rowe started brightly and almost got on the scoresheet early in the first half as he dribbled his way past two Qarabag midfielders but arrived a fraction too late to convert Sead Kolasinac’s cross as his shot hit the side netting.
Arsenal’s two academy products in the side combined to double the lead as Alex Iwobi drove forward menacingly before feeding Smith-Rowe who squeezed the ball through Vagner’s legs in the Qarabag goal to find the bottom left corner.
Guendouzi scores his first Arsenal goal
Matteo Guendouzi has been the name on many Arsenal fans lips this season as the 19-year-old central midfielder has made a delightful start to his career in north London.
Despite not having his most convincing game in an Arsenal shirt, the young Frenchman marked his night with a very well taken goal.
Substitutes Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette lead the Arsenal counter attack as Lacazette laid the ball off for Guendouzi who took a touch to set the ball away from his marker before finding the bottom corner with a low strike.
Emery changes system at half-time
Unai Emery experimented with his Arsenal side tonight, making eleven changes from Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday.
A return to the side for Kolasinac saw Emery revert to a 3-4-3 system with Kolasinac and Stephan Lichtsteiner deployed in wing-back positions while Bernd Leno replaced the injured Petr Cech in goal.
Despite being 1-0 up at half-time, Emery tinkered with the system which saw the Gunners return to a more familiar a 4-2-3-1 formation as Lucas Torreira replaced Nacho Monreal.
The change in system seemed to give Arsenal more control in the midfield as Torreira provided the license for Elneny to play slightly further forward while Guendouzi patrolled the midfield alongside the Uruguayan.
Winning streak continues
Leno wasn’t tested too often but did make an impressive save in the first half to turn away a fierce shot from Ozobic which the German keeper saw late as it came through a crowd of bodies.
Qarabag struggled to cause Arsenal too many problems but thought they had got themselves level early in the second half but Mahir Madatov’s celebrations were cut short as he was denied by the offside flag.
The side from Azerbaijan failed to capitalize on some good possession as they were then caught by a clinical Arsenal attack as Smith-Rowe and Guendouzi rounded off the scoring. Welbeck came close to adding a fourth as he linked up with Lacazette but the England international fired well over the bar.
Arsenal sit top of Group E in the Europa League having won their opening two games.
The 3-0 victory means that Arsenal have now won their last eight in all competitions. The Gunners travel to Craven Cottage on Sunday to face a struggling Fulham side as Emery’s side look to continue their winning habits before the international break.