The Warm Down: Joy for Arsenal as fans return to the Emirates 
Arsenal FC v Rapid Wien: Group B - UEFA Europa League LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Arsenal players celebrate during the UEFA Europa League Group B stage match between Arsenal FC and Rapid Wien at Emirates Stadium on December 3, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. A limited number of fans are welcomed back to stadiums to watch elite football across England. This was following easing of restrictions on spectators in tiers one and two areas only. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Pablo Mari, Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith-Rowe rejuvenated their team following a string of sub-par performances.

Having only scored once from open play in over eight hours before Gabriel headed in the equaliser last weekend, four goals was exactly what Mikel Arteta and his team needed, especially ahead of a North London Derby on Sunday. 

Arteta selected a much-rotated team on Thursday night, bringing in the youth talents and players returning from injury.

An out of sorts Lacazette opened the scoring with a long-range drive from 30 yards after 10 minutes.

The Frenchman is joint top scorer for the club this season, alongside Nketiah and Pepe, the English striker also netted his fourth of the season in the same game.

On their return to the side after long-term injuries, both Pablo Mari and Smith-Rowe also netted for Arsenal.

Rotation

Fans had been desperate to see the young Englishman for some time, after his loan to Huddersfield last season and his injury which has plighted him first team minutes, but he has certainly impressed on his return to the first team picture.

There was more good news for The Gunners', as Calum Chambers also made his first senior appearance for nearly a year, as a late substitute showing even more signs that Arsenal’s injury crisis may be close to coming to an end.

Lacazette opened the scoring after 10 minutes, catching the goalkeeper off his line and sending a thunderous effort into the net from 30 yards out.

Mari doubled The Gunners’ lead just minutes later, as he headed home from a Reiss Nelson corner, and earned himself his first goal for the club after arriving in January 2020. 

Nketiah got in on the act just before half time, a counter from Arsenal played in Reiss Nelson, who teed up his fellow Englishman. ‘Eddie’ saw his initial shot saved but he headed in the rebound 

The mood amongst fans and players dropped slightly in the second half, as Rapid Wien pulled one back after 46 minutes.

Koya Kitagawa eventually struck gold for the visitors after Alex Runnarson made a save and Sead Kolasinac twice blocked shots off the line.

The ball eventually dropped for Kitagawa who struck a half volley past the Icelandic goalkeeper. 

Smith-Rowe netted the fourth shortly after coming on, Arsenal broke through the defence yet again, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles pulled his pass back for Smith-Rowe who tapped home into an empty net, and his first goal goal in 18 months.

Next up

Attentions now turn to Sunday, and the North London Derby. Arsenal are in poor league form, with one win in their last five games, and are without a win in their last 3 home league games. 

Arsenal travel across North London, to be hosted by league leaders Tottenham. It is imperative for The Gunners’ to carry on their performance over from Thursday if they want to get a result from the match.

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