Published:11 November 2020
Arsenal came from behind to defeat Molde 4-1 in the Europa League on Thursday night.
The Gunners had dominated much of the early stages, but a magnificent long-range shot from Martin Ellingsen beat Bernd Leno for the opener.
Arsenal rarely checked the visiting goalkeeper amid plenty of possession for the remainder of the half before a counter-attack just before half-time ended in Kristoffer Haugen scoring an own goal on the field.
Until Bukayo Saka picked out Nicolas Pepe to stroke home the third and kill the game and Joe Willock added a late fourth, Sheriff Sinyan turned in a Joe Willock cross after the break for a second own goal of the night from the Norwegian defence.
Arsenal may have completed this match with three goals. Still, their own creative game was sorely lacking in long spells, hindering their advancement with an uninspiring tempo and predictable movements in the final third.
The home side had managed only one shot by half-time on target, and only three by the 75th minute-with only one of those being a goal, of course, with the other two strikes contributing to Molde's defence.
Willian offered very little, and since signing, he has been mostly subdued. Pepe scored, but only after running through countless blind alleys and crosses.
On a week-to-week basis, very few seem to be giving Mikel Arteta a real headache to break into the team, and the amount of opposition they face realistically demands a masterclass to press a point.
Arsenal knows they are already all but in the knock-outs, three games into the Europa League group stage.
Nine points leave them three clear at the top and six clear at the second; in the games ahead, there is a possibility of more rotation as one more victory is likely to secure top position.
That will satisfy the boss, as well as keep-alive Arsenal's hopes for next season's Champions League football, which, considering the apparent strides they have made, will be challenging to achieve through their league placement this year.
This is a long race to reach the promised land, sluggish, second-class, but all the Gunners should do it one move at a time. So far, so good.