Mikel Arteta was thrilled as his Arsenal side began their Europa League campaign with a 2-1 win away to Rapid Vienna, despite having gone a goal down.
Arsenal named a fairly strong starting XI for the trip to Austria despite making six changes from the side that lost to Manchester City on Saturday, yet struggled to get a foothold in what was a relatively uneventful first-half with neither goalkeeper really forced into any major saves.
The Gunners were made to pay for their sluggish performance early in the second period as stopper Bernd Leno gifted the home side the lead, the German passing the ball straight to the feet of striker Taxiarchis Fountas who duly slotted home into the empty net.
The visitors responded with twenty minutes to go as defender David Luiz nodded home from a Nicolas Pepe free-kick, before substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed the comeback just four minutes later, the Gabon international tapping in from a Hector Bellerin cross.
That win made it a solid start to their Europa League campaign for Arsenal, with boss Mikel Arteta especially pleased with his side’s reaction to going a goal down, although he did acknowledge his side made it hard for themselves at times defensively.
”We knew it was going to be a difficult match,” Arteta told his post-match press conference.
”We made it harder in the beginning with a few decisions that we made and obviously the goal we conceded, which if anything is obviously my fault because I demand we do those things.
“I really like the reaction. In the second half we understood much better the spaces we have to attack and we played with more purpose. We generated much more and we conceded a late chance with another misunderstanding at the back.
”In general we scored two good goals, the second was fantastic. We are delighted to start with a victory.”
Arsenal face Leicester City next in the Premier League on Sunday.