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Arteta praises Arsenal youngsters after ‘important’ Europa League win over Molde

Arsenal boss Mike Arteta was full of praise for his young stars as they claimed a hard-fought 4-1 win over Molde in the Europa League on Thursday night.

The Gunners went into the match off the back of an excellent display at Old Trafford at the weekend, yet were given an early scare as Molde wideman Martin Ellingsen curled in a delightful effort from just outside the box to give the visitors a shock lead.

The Norwegian champions were not overawed by their Premier League opponents and took the game to Arsenal, with the hosts struggling to test ‘keeper Andreas Linde. Arteta appeared frustrated on the sidelines and that frustration only increased as his side had a seemingly valid goal disallowed for offside, with replays showing scorer Eddie Nketiah was clearly in an onside position.

The Gunners finally found an equaliser on the stroke of half-time, with Molde defender Kristoffer Haugen steering the ball into his own net. Arsenal were once again the beneficiaries of an own goal on 62 minutes, with substitute Sheriff Sinyan turning in a Joe Willock cross after good work from the young Englishman.

The hosts had a third soon after through Nicolas Pepe, the Ivory Coast international latching onto to a Bukayo Saka cross to slot home superbly from the edge of the area, before Willock got the reward for his fine all-round performance with a thumping finish just two minutes from time.

That win makes it three wins from three in the competition for Arsenal so far this season and boss Arteta was impressed by what he saw, particularly from his talented group of youngsters.

“It was really important for us to win tonight and go top of the group,” Arteta told BT Sport.

”We had a convincing victory and the boys tried to go for them from the first minute. We went a goal behind but it was about the reaction, we created lot of chances.

“If they did not score the own goals, we had players there for the tap in. We could sustain attacks and we did not want to let them run on the counter because they are a threat.

“I really like the approach that the younger players are having for each game, they want to make the difference, they are playing with a lot of personality.

“Joe Willock could have scored more, he created a goal and a good performance. Keep doing what he is doing consistently and his chance will arrive (in the Premier League).”

Arsenal host Aston Villa on Sunday in the Premier League in what is the final league fixture before the international break.

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