Arsenal managed a 3-1 win over FC Koln to start off their Europa League campaign in a match which was marred by off-field controversies because of stadium congestion issues. FC Koln got the first goal of the game in the ninth minute itself after Ospina was caught off the line and was punished by Cordoba’s long range effort.
Arsenal started the second half brightly and were rewarded quite early as Sead Kolasinac’s thumping effort found the back of the net. Sanchez doubled the lead with an excellent long range effort while Bellerin extended the lead with a close range effort. FC Koln failed to withstand the massive offensive pressure put by Arsenal and eventually succumbed to it.
Ospina was guilty of conceding the first goal as he came off the line and didn’t clear the ball well enough as a result of which he couldn’t get back in time to save Jhon Cordoba’s long range effort. Ospina did make some good saves after that.
Maitland-Niles had an excellent first half at the left back spot and was shifted to a defensive midfielder role after Kolasinac was brought on at half time. He exchanged a lot of good one touch passes with the attacking midfielders.
Rob Holding was error prone and made a few mistakes. He also threw in two silly fouls and was subbed off after the first half.
Mertesacker was quite good defensively after an initial period where all the three centre-backs struggled a little.
Monreal made some vital interceptions and tackles in the game. He kept hold of the things at the back despite the other centre-backs struggling a little.
Bellerin made some marauding runs forward and was also good defensively. He also got Arsenal’s third goal in the 80th minute.
Elneny was decent throughout the game, pulling the strings in the midfield and improvising well around the box.
Iwobi had a good game playing through the middle in the pivot along with Elneny. Iwobi did well to retain the ball but failed to deliver anything in terms of end-product.
Sanchez scored a magnificent goal from long range and was often the focal points of almost all attacks, especially in the second half.
Walcott was quite poor. He was caught offside on a number of occasions and missed a lot of chances to score.
Giroud failed to make the most of his chances with some rather tame efforts from headers.
Kolasinac brought life back to Arsenal after scoring an excellent goal after coming on. Arsenal gained offensive momentum after the goal and went on to score two goals thereafter.
After coming on, Wilshere helped in maintaining the offensive rhythm gathered after the equalizer by Kolasinac.
Nelson played too little to warrant a rating.