Mikel Arteta has called upon his Arsenal squad to transfer their Europa League form into the Premier League, their victory over Dundalk on Thursday night making it six wins from six in the group stage for the Gunners.
With the club going through a tough spell domestically, the Europa League has offered some much-needed respite to Mikel Arteta’s side as well as providing opportunities for a number of fringe players to impress.
Despite fielding a much-changed side in Ireland, the Gunners got into their stride quickly, taking a two-goal lead inside 18 minutes courtesy of a delightful chipped effort from Eddie Nketiah, followed by a superb long range strike from the resurgent Mohamed Elneny.
The hosts were still looking to register their first point in the competition this campaign, but found a way back into the match through Jordan Flores, the former Wigan man firing home after a neat interchange with Michael Duffy. With ‘keeper Gary Rogers pulling off a number of fine saves to keep his side in the game, the home side then almost had an equaliser just before half-time, yet Darragh Leahy’s deflected effort flew agonisingly over the crossbar.
Arsenal extended their lead midway through the second half as Joe Willock slotted home through the arms of Rogers, before substitute Folarin Balogun scored his second goal for the club with a cool curled finish into the bottom corner to seal the three points, with Dundalk defender Sean Hoare adding a late consolation with a tidy header.
Eddie Nketiah is Arsenal’s top scorer this season with five goals in all competitions.
He’s played 161 minutes in the Premier League… pic.twitter.com/aU2AlvHgmO
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 10, 2020
The 4-2 win continued Arsenal’s 100 per cent record in the competition this season and boss Arteta was adamant that his side need to swiftly transfer their European performances to the Premier League, with Burnley to come at the weekend.
“We need to do that at the end of the day we need to start winning football matches immediately we cannot sustain the results we had in the last six to eight weeks and that has to be immediately and we know that has to start on Sunday,” Arteta told his post match press conference.
While the Europa League has been a welcome distraction from their dire league form, it’s also given Arteta the chance to hand a number of his squad players valuable game time, with the Spaniard stressing that there will be chances for the so-called fringe players to get some Premier League minutes.
“Yes. Now we have to forget about the Europa League until February and focus on the Premier League strongly, and the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup when it restarts in January. And now we need everybody on board,” Arteta replied.
“Obviously we have a large squad and we have a lot of players back from injury so we will have the opportunity to pick who is better in the moment to still rotate some players, but that gives us more options in the Premier League as well to focus there and to get the results that we need.”