Sead Kolasinac, Alexis Sanchez and Hector Bellerin were the heroes for Arsenal as the Gunners came back to beat FC Cologne in the UEFA Europa League group opener.
The match between the Gunners and Koln had been pushed back with one hour after a section of the visiting fans threatened to swarm into home fans section at the Emirates stadium. The Gunners came into this clash in confident mood having breezed easily past Bournmouth last weekend in a convincing performance at the Emirates stadium. In contrast Koln were ready to meet Arsenal having suffered a devastating 3-0 defeat away from home in the hands of Augsburg on the same weekend.
The mildly anticipated for affair between the two sides, which shared a former player in Lucas Podolski, had barely 10 minutes on the clock before Colombian striker, Jhon Cordoba could open the account for the Bundesliga outfit with a long range strike following a mistake by Arsenal short stopper David Ospina. The Colombian skipper was not making things any easier for Arsenal and he proved himself to be more of a threat to a sluggish Arsenal defence which screened former Germany defender Metasacker, a young Rob Holding alongside Nacho Monreal in a 3-4-3 formation.
On the other hand Theo Walcott was rather wasteful on the other side of the pitch as he was caught offside on more than one occasion and his efforts could do less to change the score line.
Following a dismal display from his squad in the opening half of the game, a change was imminent and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had to brainstorm his ideas to get matters fixed before they could get out of hand. This time round he had his mind fixed on removing Rob Holding for a more experienced defender Sead Kolasinac, a former Shalke04 player, to switch to a 4-3-3.
Arsenal onslaught had just begun and super-sub Sead wasted no time in making sure that his presence was felt in the gloomy Emirates atmosphere. He showed a great composure inside the box and fired a first time rocket shot from a close range into the right post past miserable Timo Horn.
The Gunners were hungry for more goals and they could have easily doubled their lead shortly after Kolasinac equalizer had Maitland Niles not squandered his best opportunity so far in the game. Nevertheless, the second was on its way and following Arsenal’s persistent pressure, a rather stray through ball found its way into Alexis Sanchez’s feet. The Chile international did what he knew best, weaving his way beautifully inside Koln’s defence before finding some little space and firing a rocket volley that left Timo Horn rooted to the ground. He could only stare at the ball fly through and into the net.
The South American could have done better to add a double more to his tally but luck wasn’t on his side as a fine save from the Koln’s short stopper and disastrous waste from a close range were enough to deny him the hattrick.
Hector Bellerin was also another thorn for the Bundesliga side as his tricky runs always caused mayhem in the opponents half and even the coach Stoger P was none the wiser. In the long run the Spain international had the last laugh when he took advantage of a poor clearance from Timo Horn to fire home the rebound from a close range.
Match Report written by Okendo Felix